The Perils of Facebook Friendship

Like several people that read this blog and whose blogs I read, I am on Facebook. Having always felt awkward in some social situation, the Internet would seem like an ideal place to relate to others. I have been relating interpersonally online since before the Internet, back in the days of 1200 baud modems and the BBS culture.

The whole “friend” thing on Facebook continues to be an interesting, and sometimes not altogether comfortable, thing. I’m not exactly a “friend collector” – you know the folks that become Facebook friends with anyone and everyone in order to have a massive friend list. My friend list has some friendships made in various stages of my life, some people that I have met online, especially who have commented on this blog or who I read (or commonly both), and some family members.

But I am constantly faced with the struggle of whether to friend or not. It is never because I don’t want to add a particular person, but rather the fear of rejection. If it is someone I’ve not seen in a long time, I wonder whether they are quite glad to be rid of me and will they face a dilemma if I show up in their friend requests.

Something I don’t know that I’ve faced offline is to be specifically de-friended. I’ve had a lot of people in my life fade away (much to their relief, no doubt), but I’d never been tidied out of somebody’s life. When someone knocks you off their Facebook friends, you don’t get notified. However, this has happened to me twice that I know of. I have so few friends and make new friends so rarely that I get used to seeing the number of friends I have displayed.

In both cases, I thought that maybe they left the whole Facebook thing. Nope, still there. In one case, I introduced a person to Facebook and they have over 100 friends now, but I’m not one of them.

I”ve seen journalist comment that the whole friend thing smacks of junior high – “will he be my friend?” “I’m not gonna be your friend” stuff – but as I never really had very many friends when I was junior high (and the few I had were older), I guess this is all new to me.