Friday, February 27, 2009

The New Face(book) of Old Friends

Ever since I signed up for Facebook I've been surprised by the people who have come out of the woodwork to "friend" me. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that being on Facebook has stretched the definition of the word "friend" beyond a rational level of credulity. I'm now "friends" with people I rarely talk to in the dance community, people I rarely spoke to in high school, people I haven't even seen in 20 years, and people that I rarely talk to but wish I would get a chance to talk to more often.

In fact, while I thought that social networking sites were supposed to bring us closer together, my experience has been that Facebook has actually made me feel farther apart from people by constantly reminding me of relationships which aren't on the level that I wish they were.

Take, for instance, my long time friend Julie. I've known her for a dozen years and yet we've never been as close as I would have liked. That's probably my fault, since I've never really known how to act around her. Julie is someone whom I've always considered far too beautiful, far too successful, and far too socially adept to be connected to me. I had a crush on her for years beginning on the day we met, but that was never meant to be. Nowadays, she's married and living on the other side of the continent. We talk on the phone for about an hour twice a year, during which time she bores the living crap out of me with stories of her friends' lives. For my part, I pretend to listen as much as possible since hearing her voice feels better than not.

I'd like to say that being Julie's "friend" on Facebook has made me feel closer to her, but instead, as is the case with several of my real life friends, I feel like the geek in the corner of the room watching the popular kids joking around and having a good time. Sure, the geek is friends with one or two of the popular kids, but he doesn't want to risk doing or saying the wrong thing and upsetting his "friends" around all of the other popular kids, thereby taking a chance of being de-"friended". You know, it's like being in middle school all over again!

And why do people ask to "friend" me if they have ZERO intention of talking to me? Almost all of the people from high school that have "friended" me haven't messaged me ONCE since I accepted their friend request! Let's face it, we've lived in the same city for 20 freaking years without ever seeing each other. So, unless you actually intend to get caught up with me, don't bother asking to "friend" me! We aren't FRIENDS! Honestly, when I get the request it just forces me to spend 10 minutes trying to remember who the hell you are!

Maybe I'm not the type of person they had in mind when they came up with "social networking" sites!

Have fun and keep living life... But don't "friend" me unless you mean it!

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