Friends vs ‘Friends’ [Frankie Says...]
Facebook friends do not friends equal.
Since joining Facebook, I have amassed friends that are not actually my friends in real life. Mostly, these people are acquaintances from my past or were friends of mine at some point in time.
But it’s curious that before Facebook or MySpace or any cyber social networking, you didn’t stay in touch with people that you went out of touch with. And it’s not that I even stay in touch with them now. I usually just get to see what they are ‘liking’ or what song they might be listening to at a given time or what corny photo-op they’ve posted on their timeline.
Yet I don’t want to de-friend them, just because I don’t see them or talk to them. I am curious about their lives. I feel like looking into their lives is a barometer of my own life. Not in any judgmental sort of way, not like I’m trying to measure myself against their lives per se (although ‘barometer’ does have to do with measurement), but more like looking at a magazine. I don’t compare myself to the size 00 models, but I can critique what they’re wearing; I don’t write what Joel Stein is writing, but I can be interested in it and learn from his content.
What I find most odd, and something I experienced recently, is when you visit a place where you have lots of Facebook ‘friends’ from and you don’t take the time to see them. Why didn’t I meet up with them, have a drink or two? I’m curious about how they’re doing, what they’re doing, but it’s that effort of putting yourself out there – actually, physically – and finding friendship where the friendship fizzled long ago.
And it usually didn’t fizzle due to any detrimental reason. Usually it was just because you moved away from each other, took different jobs, went down different life paths. But shouldn’t I try and maintain these relationships? Or is being a Facebook ‘friend’ enough?
For someone like me, a freelance writer working from home, Facebook allows me to be a hermit. It allows me to still feel like I’m not a total recluse by peeking into the world of others via the web, when really I’m home, in pajamas, with a glass of wine in bed.
And I’m left with this guilty feeling, asking myself, ‘Is it fair to be ‘friends’ with someone if I’m not friends with them?’
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featured image credit: Oli Dunkley