Today is the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period in which many people find it helpful to give things up, to help them prepare themselves for Easter. It’s a great discipline and can be a really beneficial practice…
… and it also provides an opportunity for some fun.
If you’re feeling a little devious this Lent, here’s a game I’ve enjoyed in previous years. Whether or not my friends have enjoyed it is a different matter.
Find someone you know who is fasting social media for Lent. They’re easy to find. They’re the people who, around 10pm last night, tweeted or Facebooked ‘Goodbye for 40 days, see you at Easter.’
Then, each of the next 40 days, post a message on their wall, growing in frustration at their lack of responsiveness. Maybe plan your messages in advance, sketch out the narrative arc of your ‘annoyance’ to ensure you don’t peak too early.
I’d suggest that day 1 should be something innocent like “Hi mate, long time no see… we should hang out some time!” followed by a gentle prompt on day 2: “Hi, did you get my message?” Days 3-10 should continue the “Hello? Anyone at home” theme. Maybe include a few gifs or memes to keep it light. But around day 14 you should begin to show signs of annoyance, for example: “Look, if you don’t want to hang out, that’s fine… just be honest about it!”
Day 20 is time to ramp it up just a little – but make sure not to peak too early! Get angry. Mourn the way your relationship has dwindled. Say how you thought they were a better friend than this. But hold off on threats of ending the friendship… they need to be kept in the toolbox until day 30, when you can really kick in with the “Look – I’m giving you one last chance…” Continue to build in intensity over these final 10 days before landing the big one just before Lent ends: “Alright, I’m done. This friendship is over. I’m unfriending you!”
It’s a long stretch before the pay off… but when they log back in at Easter and read through the trail of ranting, I think you’ll find it’ll be worth it. Plus you’ll spot a few of their friends getting the joke over Lent and giving you a thumbs up, as if to cheer you on to the end.
Alternatively, you could also give something up for Lent – like social media. Or practical joking. Or you could write encouraging messages for forty days. But where’s the fun in that?!