Itâ€™s fair to say that over the last week, social media has been a place of tension, passion and explosions of conflict â€“ and not just between long standing adversaries. Since the vote for Brexit, there has been a real divide in the country and this is reflected completely on the likes of Facebook and Twitter.Â
People youÂ used to say â€˜Happy Birthday, letâ€™s catch up soonâ€™ to once a year and occasionally like their pictures of cats have become your ruthless sparring partners and even one or two close friends who actually matter to you have been pissing you off a bit.
No amount of simply hilarious (sarcasm detectors beware) memes bemoaning how everyone on Facebook is a politician will make it go away any time soon â€“ so here are the 20 stages of falling out with friends over the referendum that we have all experienced at least once this week. Or in my case, about 20Â times.
1. You see the offending post and the red mist descends â€“ before you have had time to reflect, you find your fingers a complete blur, hammering away on your keyboard with the ferocity of a hyper woodpecker.Â
2. There is a brief moment of reflection. You hover over the â€˜postâ€™ button and a relieving lucidity overcomes you. You delete it because, you know, youâ€™re a bigger person and donâ€™t need to create more conflict.
3. Youâ€™re still A BIT pissed off by the ignorance youâ€™ve read and you are pretty confident in your ability to pull apart each individual argument. So you count to ten. Then a hundred.Â
4. The post ends up at the top of your news feed again and is now joined by even more infuriating comments underneath. Thatâ€™s it, itâ€™s time to unleash the beast.
5. Before you know it, you have given War And Peace a run for its money with a lengthy and intended to be polite (but probably more passive aggressive) response. You end it with a smiling emoji just to keep the peace. Weâ€™re all pals here, right?Â
6. And now the painful waiting game begins. You are starting to regret opening this can of worms and anxiously watch your screen, awaiting the backlash of your boldness.
7. A notification appears â€“ and you shit yourself. Okay, here goes. Itâ€™s time to face the music.Â
8. False alarm. Sharon from high school has asked you for some Candy Crush lives.
9. As the wait continues, you go back to your reply and read over it again. Itâ€™s obvious you werenâ€™t being insulting there, right? That middle line was clearly a joke, wasnâ€™t it? No way will they take offence at that jibe, they have thicker skin than that. You think. Ah, maybe you should delete it and get on with your lifeâ€¦
10. Okay, thereâ€™s a response. Youâ€™re ready for this. You read in silence, your blood pressure risingâ€¦
11. The gloves are off. There are no emojis this time. You fiercely respond and may even throw in a comment like â€˜have you even done your research?â€™ in the heat of the moment.Â
12. You begin to reassess your friendship â€“ you used to think you and this friend were on the same page but as you begin to realise there is no way they are going to come round to your way of thinking, you wonder where you go from here.
13. You ask yourself the all important question â€“ how important is this person in your life? Is it someone you really care for or is it someone you met on an online forum or the son of your mumâ€™s best mateâ€™s sister who you once chatted weather with at a birthday party?Â
14. If it is the latter, you decide to hit that all important unfriend button. No loss but you have to now ensure that your paths never, ever cross again in real life for at least a year. No-one needs that awkwardness.
15. If you DO want to keep them in your life, you decide itâ€™s time for some damage limitation.Â
16. After ensuring you have made every point you want to (of course!), you pull out your ace â€“ the â€˜agree to disagreeâ€™ reply. It reads along the lines of â€˜look, weâ€™re never going to agree but I value your opinion and I am glad we are able to discuss this calmly as friends.â€™ Checkmate.
17. You will then share a joke about discussing politics on Facebook. Neither of you genuinely find it funny and you are both still inwardly seething.Â
18. You remember a point that you forgot to make â€“ and itâ€™s a killer â€“ but you know the friendship is over if you start it up again. You swallow it and accept the nervous eye twitch over the next few weeks.
19. They share that idealistic Winnie The Pooh meme with you and, while you want to reply with one of the many alternatives out there, you just hit like.Â
20. You like their next non politics related post or photo just to prove that there are no hard feelings. You both know that there are â€“ and will be for some time â€“Â but youâ€™ll both get over it. After all, there are bigger problems to cope with right now no matter which side of the fence you are on.