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Why Can’t We Be Friends? March 6, 2011

Posted by alwaysjan in Food for Thought.
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How could I have missed Jimmy Kimmel’s call to make Nov. 17 National UnFriend Day on Facebook?  Oh that’s right, I was in the middle of Parent-Teacher Conferences. That’s two weeks when I’m looking to bring people on board, not cull the herd. But last night after a few glasses of red wine, I started deleting some of my “friends.”

So far no gunshots have been fired at my house, but most of those I “unfriended” (is that the correct nettiquette?) don’t even know where I live. That tells you something right there.

Like many people, I signed onto Facebook early on when it was literally the new kid on the block.  The “friending” began. I wrote about the downside of this in Being Facebook Friends with Stephan Pastis – Rats!

Fast forward four years. It occurred to me that I wouldn’t recognize some of my “friends” on the street. That’s not good. I’d even stooped to hiding others, so I didn’t have to read incessant updates about every aspect of their life. (Jimmy Kimmel provides a great example of this.) Hiding may be a kinder way since the “friend” doesn’t know that you’ve exiled them to Never Again Land, but isn’t honesty usually the best policy? Was that a gunshot I just heard?

Then there were those “friends” who were coerced by some well-intentioned technophile into joining Facebook in the first place. Left to their own devices, they couldn’t figure out how to post their picture or a status update. I think most have forgotten their passwords and haven’t revisited Facebook since I hit the Accept button. They’re in the slow lane on the information highway with their turn signal on – but can’t figure out how to exit. I like to think that by “unfriending” them, I’m just helping speed up the process.

Here’s my new and improved criteria for a mutually beneficial “friendship.”

1)  I would recognize you if I saw you on the street
2)  We’ve shared a significant life experience (Think “trauma bonding”)
3)  You’ve commented on one of my status updates or blog.
4)  You can make me laugh.
5)  We share some DNA, so you are potentially an organ donor.

Actually, my son just informed me that he “unfriends” people almost weekly, and it’s no big deal. It’s not like Mark Zuckerberg shows up at their door with the pink slip. Come to think of it, some of those I planned to “unfriend” weren’t even on my  list of “friends.” Could it be that they “unfriended” me first and I didn’t even notice? Sweet!

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1. elissestuart - March 7, 2011

I believe we fall under the category of Trauma bonding.

Elisse,
Amen. You also make me laugh. >wink< Jan

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elissestuart - March 11, 2011

As do you – ; )
regarding the cat with the thumbs up toe….Glad it wasn’t a middle finger! LOL

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2. Ian - March 10, 2011

FYI – SInce Facebook quit listing friends in alphabetical order, no one even knows they’ve been unfriended. It’s not as traumatic as one might think. Hey, this is Facebook! People are virtually farming AND virtually friending!

Ian – I realized when recently when my “friends’ didn’t appear in ABC Order (that’s Third Grade talk), that it was a lot harder to keep track of them. Now I realize this is a blessing in disguise. For the record, I’ve hit HIDE for all game applications as I got tired or that lost brown cow wandering about in Farmville.
Jan

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3. moxey - March 17, 2011

I just might send you a friend request. You don’t know me from Adam. ;-)

It would certainly reveal certain secrets about my life to you.

Moxey,
Since, I don’t know Adam, you could be Adam for all I know. But that would take a lot of moxie! You mean Spawn is not your kid’s real name? One of the Facebook “friends” I kept is the sister of a woman I know. She lives up north, but I can tell she’d be great fun to hang out with. BTW, I have a friend who mentions her family when she blogs as a cover to hide who she is. People ask how she can handle all those kids, but I know that she has one child. I’m actually pretty up front with who I am. It has it’s advantages and disadvantages. I can’t really write freely about what’s going on at school, as I’m enjoying being employed. :)Feel free to “friend” me. My numbers are now looking alarmingly low. :(

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4. Catherine Sherman - March 19, 2011

I’d like to start over on Facebook. Actually, I wish there was another website besides Facebook that was universally used that would provide separate news feeds for the gamers, the news and other websites and the actual real friends. I confess to “liking” so many sites — I added two Japan animal rescue sites on Facebook just today, one thanks to you — that any news from my friends and family is lost. I go tot heir profile pages ot see what’s going on.

There are closed groups on Facebook that only invited people can belong to. That might be an option if you only want to share news with certain people. I belong to a cat socializer group at the animal rescue shelter where I work. (It’s also a human socializer group, ha, ha.)

I haven’t unfriended anyone, but I have hid people’s newsfeeds.

Word of warning, not that you need it: Don’t agree to play a game on Facebook just to help out a “real” friend. (real as in someone you actually have met.) I gained a huge number of “friends” that way. Interestingly, though, reading their status reports is very enlightening. These are people all over the world, including some immigrants from Egypt. (Google translate required in some cases.)

Catherine – I got a “friend” request yesterday from one of the people I “unfriended.” Uh oh. I’d hidden her updates as I knew her only briefly, and she now lives far away. She has many medical/romantic issues that she’s only too happy to share. TMI for me. I’m afraid that eventually we won’t even feel the need to put quotation marks around “friend” to differentiate facebook “friends” from the old garden variety. I was never drawn to the games mainly because of the cartoony graphics. My son admitted that during his break at work, he felt compelled to check and see how one of his crops was coming in. I can only roll my eyes, but as someone with OCD, Farmville is a great outlet for it. I do enjoy reading updates from other parts of the world as it broadens your perspective. Jan

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