On social media, I’m not the type to disconnect from someone just because I disagree with or don’t like how they think. Some folks in my feed have some pretty limited mindsets and perspectives. Sometimes their posts and comments are downright ignorant. But unless they’re outright disrespectful to me or other people in a conversation, I don’t automatically “unfriend.”

Why not?

1. Everybody is somewhere in their journey of understanding and growth. Most of us used to be “those people.” And a lot of us won’t “get it” until our next life, wherever that may be.

2. It’s a practice of patience, compassion, and not taking things personally. I’m challenged to be compassionate in remembering #1, and to patiently keep my emotional and spiritual center even when some of the shyt people spout includes one of my social identities in some way. I’m past the stage of being personally offended by every offensive comment. I don’t have the time or energy for that.

3. I want to know who they are. Literally. Disconnecting from people on social media doesn’t mean they disappear from life. And in the likely event that it’s someone I may share physical space with at some point, I want to know what they REALLY think.

4. I want them to know who I am. Literally. I want them to know what I’m about and what I stand for. I want them to see my posts and be challenged in the way they think, even if their minds aren’t changed.

5. I ain’t perfect either (see #1). I’ve said some offensive shyt and I’ve believed some ignorant shyt. I’m still learning and growing and expanding just like anyone else. I also need patience and compassion just like anyone else (see #2). And what I want to receive, I have to be willing to give.

I know for a lot of people, it’s a matter of boundaries and Self care to not be connected to toxic strangers (or known, identifiable acquaintances) on the internet. Makes sense. That’s why I try to spread some light and occasionally drop a little knowledge. Because we don’t ALL have to be jerks ALL the damn time.