A former friend blocked me: what I learned about myself

First, some of you might know who I'm talking about. Please don't post his name or other identifying information here unless he uncloaks here. I don't want this to be about him. Even though he's been writing about me on his blog (which I learned because lots of people read both of us).

Damn, that hurt. This is a guy I know well, I won't go into it more than that. But I looked at why it hurt for the past few days and thought I would share what I learned about myself.

My son, +Patrick Scoble, told me "you both are difficult," while trying to get us both to calm down. So, this is a learning opportunity. 

This guy has his reasons for blocking me, in looking at my behavior, I don't agree with him, but that doesn't really matter in the end analysis. Now that the friendship is over it's a learning opportunity. 

1. A block is a nuclear weapon to use on a real-life friend. Doing that made it impossible to use things like Facebook messages or Google Hangouts to back channel and work through a relationship in strain. I can just hear you saying "well call him." Sorry, once a nuke is thrown I'm not calling, the relationship has been damaged beyond repair at that point. A block is akin to saying "I never want to hear from you again." Sorry, I'm not calling someone who signals that.

2. It hurt because it was akin to saying "I see absolutely no value in you." I believe I have value, therefor it causes our brain to go into a bad loop: "He says I have no value. I believe I have value. But he says I have no value." Which then causes you to question yourself. Which comes out as stress. Higher heart rate. Restless sleep. All the stuff that you remember from high school when someone bullied you or decided not to invite you to the cool kids' parties or something like that. I tried to break the loop in a few ways. None of which are really satisfying. So I decided to blog and be vulnerable. Hey, it's cheaper than therapy!

3. After the initial shock of "he did WHAT?" wore off it just brought on a form of grief. It reminded me of how my divorce felt. It's a toxic mixture of grief, guilt, self questioning. As with all feelings, time makes it somewhat better, but it is toxic.

4. When I was going through the divorce my friend +Buzz Bruggeman told me "take the high road." My son told me to do the same thing this time. Taking the high road is incredibly difficult when you are feeling grief, guilt, pain, etc. This is why I made it not about him, but about me. But I found a way out of this: do something nice for someone else. I've already started down that path. Transmute all the toxic stuff into focusing on helping someone else. Anytime I feel the toxic feelings I go and try to do something nice for someone else. Even liking or +1'ing someone else's post feels better than letting the toxic loop in your head go unchecked.

5. Take some joy in the fact that by blocking him he's hurt himself beyond just the loss of friendship. I do put a lot of value into my social networking, sharing lots of things from other people who are smart (especially true on my Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble) and by building lists (he removed himself from those lists, by blocking, which lost him a lot of followers). He also is an entrepreneur, and might want some PR someday (I played a key role in the launch of many companies, including YO http://venturebeat.com/2014/07/18/how-yo-became-one-of-the-most-viral-apps-of-all-time-step-by-step/ which now has had more than 100 million YO's sent).

At one point the argument became about my self-centeredness. Well, yes, I am a selfish butthead sometimes. Always am working on it, with the help of many of my friends and others. But part of doing social media requires being a bit selfish. Hey, isn't it selfish to tell billionaires how to run their companies? Why yes! But my boss +Rob La Gesse reminds me that he wants me to do only one thing: be helpful to other people. So when I'm off that track it requires me to look at myself and fix my thinking. I'm far from perfect. So a whack upside the head is sometimes needed. But a block isn't a whack, it's a nuclear weapon.

6. I did learn about how deeply Facebook block works, though. I can't see anything this guy does anymore. Even our Messages back and forth now only says "Facebook User" instead of his name. I learned he had blocked me because I wanted to message him and Facebook wouldn't let me see his page anymore. I wonder how it differs from how LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+ works (Twitter, I know, will still let you see that person's public posts). I generally only block spammers, so haven't played with that functionality enough to understand it.

Anyway, I'm on my way to Korea. Travel makes stress worse, because you are tired and you don't have friends to talk with face-to-face and my wife isn't there to give me a hug after a bad day. On the other hand, being alone gives me the whitespace to look at myself.

Onward, welcome to the new, improved, Scoble. :-)
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