Buffalo, NY—Stacy Langmeyer, a Project Analyst with Catholic Health opened her Facebook account Tuesday morning and found a friend request from Jack Conrad and is unsure if she should accept it.
At first glance Langmeyer couldn’t quite place Conrad. She asked her husband who he was and he reminded her that she met him at the Brick Oven Bistro on a couple of different occasions—”You know, kind of loud, not much of a filter.”
A worried look came to Langmeyer’s face, “That guy sitting at the bar who kept talking to us even though we were five tables away?”
“That was really embarrassing. He kept talking about what a great athlete he was and how all the girls loved him in high school.”
“That’s just Jack. It’s kind of who he is. Don’t be embarrassed.”
“I wasn’t embarrassed for me, I was embarrassed for him.”
Langmeyer’s impulse was just to accept the friend request because she didn’t want to be rude. But she stopped herself. Through years of therapy she learned that it was okay to say no. This wasn’t about what Jack Conrad wanted, but what she wanted.
With this stiffening of her spine she proceeded to check Conrad’s Facebook profile and newsfeed. On the good side, she liked his politics and that he had a listing of food pantries for people in need during the Coronavirus. She also liked that he had cats. On the bad side, he seemed way into drinking and Jackson Browne.
A thought then occurred to Langmeyer—what if people look at my profile and see I’m friends with him and think I’m a loser? What if they think I spend my time questioning how empty bottles of wine fit into a recycling bin or that I can’t decide what my favorite hole is at Caz Golf Course even though it’s been my main course since 1983?
She was just about to delete on the friend request, but stopped herself and thought about all the steps she had taken in therapy to empower herself. Steeling herself again she told herself that she wouldn’t make a choice one way or the other based on what others thought of that choice. And, furthermore, next time she and her husband were in the Bistro and Conrad was being a loudmouth she was going to yell across the tables and tell him to: “Shut the hell up, you’re embarrassing yourself.”
Thrilled with her internal deliberations she was just about to hit the confirm tab on the friend request, but again, Conrad’s boasting at the bar flashed through her head and she just couldn’t complete the process.
Finally, she quietly closed the cover on her laptop still unsure what to do.