A few months ago I joined the wonderful world of Facebook. For those of you not already familiar with the Facebook, let me warn you it is not necessarily a healthy experience for the individual with self-esteem issues. See, you get on and start collecting friends. You find people you know on there and “add” them as a friend. But that’s just the first step. You “add” and then they must “confirm” or “ignore”. If they confirm you, they go on your friends list. This friends list is posted on your profile page along with a number stating how many friends you have, Facebook friends that is.
I have no idea what happens if they ignore you. I mean obviously they don’t go on your list, but when someone adds you as a friend there’s this special news bulletin that pops up on your profile page that says, “Bythelbs and so & so are now friends.” (It’s kind of nice to have such a formal declaration. Very self-affirming. I wonder if it’s binding in a court of law.) So if someone ignores you, is there also a special bulletin, “So & so has ignored Bythelbs’ friend request?” I have yet to go unconfirmed (because I’m not brave enough to add someone without feeling fairly certain I’ll be confirmed), so I don’t know. And I’ve never had the nerve to ignore someone else’s friend request (I really was only tempted to once) because I couldn’t stomach the thought of having my snub broadcast across the internets. Who am I to deny someone a friend? Who am I.
But back to the numbers thing. It seemed just a few short weeks ago that I had maxed out at 20 friends, 75% of which were family/extended family members. But hey, that’s cool. Twenty friends? That’s a lot of pals, right? I was feeling pretty good until I’d hop over to another friend’s page and they would have 150! What kind of loser did that make me with just the 20? Were people mocking me? Scoffing? Pitying? Pointing their fingers with a sing-song “Ha Ha”?
My husband decided to join too, and it didn’t take long before our friend gathering turned into a little friendly competition. At one point, he surpassed me, which seemed totally wrong considering I had been on Facebook a full two months before him, but whatever! I made a comeback, though, when I discovered that I could browse my friends’ friends lists to poach potential new friends. You should just try to make sure that you actually know the person on your friend’s friends list before adding them. It’s kind of embarrassing when your friend recognizes her friend on your friends list and wonders how you know her friend too. Not that that’s ever happened to me. But a friend of mine was in that situation. I asked why my friend didn’t just delete the friend once my friend realized that the friend was actually a non-friend. My friend said, “Wouldn’t that be rude?” I thought my friend’s concern over hurting the non-friend’s feelings was admirable. But had the non-friend just been trying to spare my friend’s feelings by not ignoring my friend’s friend request or was this non-friend just trying to boost his own friend numbers? (I suppose I really should stop referring to him as the “non-friend” considering there was a formal declaration of friendship published on the internets and everything.)
One friend of mine said a friend of hers, who’s actually her brother but on Facebook we’re all just friends, said that Facebook was just a lame way of reconnecting with people you didn’t care enough about to stay connected with in the first place. I suppose that may be true to a certain extent. But I prefer to put my cynical self aside in this instance and say that it’s actually pretty fun and exciting to find long lost friends who were just inevitable casualties of time and distance. Today I found my best friend from 3rd grade who I hadn’t seen or spoken to in almost two decades, and that was pretty awesome.
What’s your take on Facebook friends?
Speaking of friends, my good bloggy friend Boquinha over at Sushi and Pizza posted this fun memory meme, and I’m going to play along.
Here’s how it goes (and I’m totally plagiarizing Boquinha here because she’s awesome plus I’m just lazy like that):
1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I have had together. It doesn’t matter if you knew me a little or a lot—anything you remember! (I’m thinking this should be interesting since only one of my regular commenters knew me before bythelbs.)
2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. If you leave a memory about me, I’ll assume you’re playing the game and I’ll come to your blog and leave one about you. (If you don’t post a memory meme, I’ll just pick a random post. Just kidding. Or am I?) I think it’s fun to take a trip down memory lane, and it’s always good to have a laugh or smile about the past (six months). Oh, and if you don’t have a blog, never fear, I will post my equally touching memory about you right here next to yours.
And for all of you regulars, if you don’t leave a comment, don’t worry, my feelings won’t be hurt. I’ll just have to assume that there was such a plethora of happy memories, you couldn’t possibly choose just one. And then I’ll cry myself to sleep. From the happiness of feeling so treasured and loved, of course.