Thursday, December 11, 2008

friends (or a facebook commercial)

Yesterday I spent a lot of time on Facebook (it was a really slow day at work) searching for friends: people I knew in school, people from church, maybe even a couple of old boyfriends (like you've never done that!). One person I found (not an old boyfriend. Apparently they aren't on FB.) I clicked on their friends list and was surprised to read they "have no friends."

Now I don't really think this person has no friends. They may not have been on FB long and just haven't added any friends. But, still, it made me sad. It made me feel as though this person had a very lonely life or maybe they're one of those whose work makes them too busy.

My friends list, on the other hand, is growing. In the past 3 or 4 weeks I've been on FB I've added almost 40 friends. Some blogger friends too (*waving hand* Hi blogger friends). Now I know some on FB have over 300 friends. Whatever! Do you think you're fooling anyone? Are they really you're friends? Or did you just accept their friend request because you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings? Sure, I've got friends on my list who I haven't seen in over 20 years, but I would still consider them friends. And I don't accept just any friend request. I've ignored quite a few (sorry) who I had no clue who they were.

Accepting people as my friends is a very serious thing to me. (So serious I've devoted an entire blog post to it.) It's a really big deal to call someone my friend. Not because I'm a snob, but because I'm still kind of cautious who I let into my world -- even my virtual world.

There's quite a responsibility when you call someone your friend. Honestly, my timid insecure selfish self doesn't want that responsibility. My hermit self would rather just keep to herself and not ever go anywhere or talk to anyone. Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to call a friend on the phone just to say hello. Can you imagine me having to keep up with 40 friends? It's exhausting just thinking about it!!

Luckily, FB makes that easy. It's one of the reasons I like it so much. The other reason is it helps me get out of the comfort of my hibernation. I feel as though I'm, in a very small way, part of these people's lives and can maintain a connection with them until I see them again.

The person who has no friends? I sent them a friend request.

I haven't heard back from them yet.


Kristi said...

I love facebook as well. I can't keep up with every old friend, and I don't have the time to devote to a long conversation with each. But I can get a quick update from them online. And there's still that mutual connection of true friendship that existed when we did see each other daily.

Letting people into my world gets easier as I practice it, but some days I still prefer the solitude of my dogs, my laptop, and my home.

The beauty of a true friend is you may lose touch, but you will never lose that ability to connect when you do see each other.

Cocotte said...

I only have 3 FB friends. Sounds sad, huh? I don't go looking for friends; I initially created my page with my maiden name to try to spy on what my kids do on there. Only to discover all their groups are set to "private" so I never learned anything.

The three people found me because we all graduated together. From our class of about 300, the 4 of us are the only people on FB!

Sailor said...

I have a FB account, but forget to look at it routinely. The people on the friends list there though, I count as friends even if I've only met them via internet, I am as close to some of them as just about anyone.

Therese in Heaven said...

Facebook can be fun for some things and for staying in touch with people you wouldn't otherwise, but it also is a way for people you really don't like to find you.

I had a very painful and nasty falling out with my best friend in high school. We never really mended things, although we've run into each other periodically. She sent me a friend request on Facebook and I felt like I should add her, even though we aren't friends. I sort of figured that through Facebook maybe she was trying to reach out in her own way. But since, other than the friend request she hasn't said a word, I think she's just building her friend empire, as I'm about 300on her list.

flutterby said...

I used to jokingly refer to facebook as "face-crack" cause it was rather addictive for a while. Especially if you get playing games with your friends (I remember a stretch of Scrabble and Scramble that was a bit Much.)

I do however, love that all of my "friends" are just a click away, should I need to email or contact them. Messaging through facebook has sortof replaced email for a lot of my friends... I guess it's a bit simpler, I suppose.

FTN said...

What's this mysterious "Facebook" you speak of?

Kristi said...

I had a roommate in college who was an exchange student from denmark. We had so much fun, but had a falling out just before she left for home. Stupid girls! Anyway, it's been since 1994 since I've had contact with her. I found her on myspace, and she's in Denmark, and we've reconnected again. I also found my first ever college roommate, circa 1990, on facebook yesterday. Haven't heard from her in many, many years as well. So to me, facebook is a treasure.

Anonymous said...

I have been having some similar thoughts about FB. In fact, last week I deleted about 30 "friends!" I enjoy FB a lot, but not as a friendship barometer. You are wise.