We Don’t Have to be Friends

Originally published March 3, 2017.

I’m fond of saying “there’s no sca life vs real life, there’s just life.” The friends and relationships I have in the SCA don’t mean less just because I don’t know your address, or because I’ve never seen someone in jeans, or I’ve never met someone’s husband or watched a baseball game with them. And of course the same is true for those friendships I have with non-sca people. I can still be friends with someone who has never been to Pennsic or seen a crown tourney, or knows how to inkle loom.

Facebook and other social media has also blurred these lines significantly. Facebook isn’t really in favor of multiple personal profiles, so a lot of people use one account to interact with people in the SCA and outside of it. And in these difficult times for the country, in the middle of mounting political scandal and division, that’s led many SCA relationships, which used to be very game oriented and not involve people’s political or moral views as openly, to be forced to change.

All of this is a fairly roundabout way of saying something very specific:

I don’t have to like you.

I don’t have to like you just because we’re both in the SCA. I don’t have to be polite, I don’t have to agree to disagree, I don’t have to refrain from suggesting that your views are wrong, and I don’t have to keep the peace or go along to get along just because you and I are in the same order or because one of us is a peer or because one of us is a kingdom officer. And I sure as hell don’t have to do it on Facebook.

Because I am allowed – I am empowered – to decide who I want to associate with. And just because I congratulate you on your achievements or express sympathy for a loss or setback doesn’t mean we’re close. It’s ok to be acquainted.

No one is obligated to like anyone else. Assume positive intent, and start with basic courtesy, but no one is required to do anything more.

The SCA is my community, but not everyone in the SCA is in my tribe or part of my family of choice. And I’m not in everyone else’s tribe.

I adore some of you. I like many of you. I appreciate a great quantity of you. Some I don’t care for, and there are a few I actively avoid. And I know for sure that there are people out there who feel the same about me.

And that’s ok.