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Outside the Box: Social Media Etiquette

We’re all guilty of this. We love our running group/box/group class so much that we add everyone as a friend on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. Then, we realize that some of those people aren’t all that like us outside our fitness interests. Maybe his entire feed is full of pictures of his cat. Maybe she posts a lot of extreme religious/political/iOS vs. Android views. It’s okay. Our individualism is what makes us unique, crazy viewpoints and rants and all.

During the election season, my friends on Facebook and Instagram were not shy about sharing their viewpoints. Some of these were people in my running group or at the box. I grew very tired of politics, so I used these cool tricks:

Easy-peasy. I only unfriended a few folks this election season, thanks to the unfollow feature. No one was the wiser (except on Snapchat), and I prevented hard feelings. I didn’t have to block anyone. I even got into a discussion with one of my boxmates about our politics; we are on opposite sides of the spectrum. Both of us were mature enough to find common ground, and then we switched our conversation to other topics of mutual interest.

The Point? Unfollow, Don’t Block.

The moral of the story is, not everyone is going to be our best friend. Some people are going to annoy the living daylights out of us on social media. But if you have to see that person on a regular basis, whether it’s at the box, during group runs, or during group classes, blocking them is not an option. Seriously.

There are, of course, exceptions. If you’re constantly seeing Nazi propaganda or other truly disturbing, violent or sexual content on someone’s social media feed, report that person to the authorities, then block.

Otherwise, think very carefully before you get so angry at someone that you block him or her on social media channels. Is it worth the awkwardness once that person finds out? (And he or she will.)  Spoiler alert: it’s not. People are going to offend you. If someone’s social media posts offend you so much that you have to block him or her, life is going to chew you up and spit you out. There are no safe spaces. Grow a thicker skin, unfollow or unfriend, and move on with your life. Give a half-wave to that person when you see him or her, and then engage with the people you want to.

Unless, of course, you like awkward workouts.

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