Facebook Friend Requests and Denials

If you’ve ever been on Facebook or are still on it, then I’m sure this situation has already happened to you at some point in time.

You send a “friend request” to someone, maybe to even a person you thought was already your friend in life. Facebook then gives you a status on that person’s page that says “Friend Request Sent”. At some point later you discover the status of that request has returned to “Add Friend”, which can only mean one thing, they’ve turned your request down. You start to question whether it was an erroneous mistake on their part or whether you never sent them one at all, so you send it again. But after it happens a second time, you begin to accept the truth. They don’t want to be your friend.

This is one of the bigger downfalls I’ve found with social media, because often someone who experiences this very thing might never find out the reason why that other person doesn’t want to be connected to them. Lately, I have had this happen to me a number of times on Facebook with people I’ve wanted to get to know, with others I’ve known casually in life, to even some I’ve known for years but haven’t seen in a good, long while. None have ever given me an explanation of why they’ve turned down my request, which has often left me scratching my head, feeling slightly down, and asking myself if I’ve done something wrong. But when this happened to me just recently with a fraternity brother of mine from college, I remembered one of the quotes I had used on my blog recently.

“If God shuts a door, stop banging on it. Trust that whatever is behind it, is not meant for you and move on.”

Could it be possible that a connection to that person, even on social media, might not be the healthiest for my spiritual path? Or is it possible there isn’t any need for me to be connected to them because we have nothing in common? Or maybe it’s something altogether different. Does it really matter?

For those I’ve either known casually or rather well in life that this has ever happened with, I’ve often gone to the place in my head where I wondered if I’ve hurt them in some way and owe them an amends. But I’ve come to accept that I may never know whether this is true or not and the only thing I can do is send them love, forgiveness, peace, and light, and move on.

As for my own “friend request” actions, I must say that I’ve only ever turned down two people since returning to Facebook last year. With each it was with people who were part of my sex and love addiction past, which I felt would be extremely unhealthy to be connected to on any level. But I can safely say this wouldn’t be the reason for any of the denials of my own friend requests because I haven’t ever sent them to those I used to heavily engage in addictions with.

So I’ve come to the conclusion that I really just don’t need to be banging on the door to be someone’s Facebook friend anymore once they turn me down. If they don’t want to be my friend, then I’m going to accept it’s God’s will and there’s probably a good reason for it, one that’s not worth wasting my time or energy trying to figure out. Instead, I decided I’m going to move on and invest it in those who have or continue to accept my friendship. J

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

“How Early In 12-Step Recovery Can I Make An Amends?”

When I first began working on my 12-step recovery program, I remember asking my sponsor how soon I could start making amends to some of the people I had harmed. Her answer came in the form of two questions.

“What step are we working on Andrew?”

“Step 1” I said.

“What step is the amends process?” she asked.

“Step 9” I said.

“Exactly” she told me with a smile.

Over the years since then, I learned it truly is quite common for a newcomer in recovery from an addiction to want to make amends to those they had harmed. That desire often comes from wanting to ease tensions with other family members, friends, and various loved ones given all the damage their addiction caused. Unfortunately, they usually have no idea that making a formal amends is more than just saying, “I’m sorry”. They also frequently have no idea that a formal amends involves them owning their character defects of every time they were selfish, self-seeking, dishonest, or afraid. And lastly, most generally won’t even become aware of those things within themselves until the work they do during Step’s 4 through 7.

You see the steps are in the order they are for a reason. This is what my first sponsor tried to tell me. I have to say I didn’t totally get it back then, but I do now. The truth is I wasn’t even close to being ready to make a formal amends to anyone during my early stages of recovery work. In fact, at that point in time I was completely oblivious of my character defects and constantly repeating the same toxic behaviors over and over again throughout my life. Which is specifically why it would have been meaningless for me to make amends to anyone because I would have just recreated the same problem again sometime later. Until I became more self-aware of my ongoing negative actions through the normal ascendance of the steps, making an amends would have actually been driven more by my selfishness and self-centeredness than anything else.

Sadly, I didn’t listen to that first sponsor as well as I could have back then because I still tried to make a few amends early on. All that resulted in was causing more harm and having to make more future amends to those very same people.

Thus, the only focus a newcomer to 12-Step recovery really should have is to go through steps in the order they’re presented. Begin with Step 1 and work through each of the subsequent ones diligently. Because by the time you finally reach Step 9, you’ll be far more self-aware of your character defects, which in turn will cause you to stand a much better chance of making an effective amends that won’t have to be repeated again at some later date…

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson