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.


4 Responses to “The Perils of Facebook Friendship”

  1. debd Says:

    I hear you. I’ve tried sending a PM to people that I don’t necessarily want to “friend” but would love a moment to catch up with. Only one has responded back. Weird. I would love to get an odd email or run into an old friend IRL, don’t know why its so intimidating when someone sends you a PM.

    I’ve been de-friended but it was by someone I didn’t mind de-friending me. I wasn’t really friends with her in high school and our lives are so completely different now too. And, it is pretty jr. highish. I wouldn’t worry about it.

  2. Steve Says:

    I hate being “friended” by people I’ve never met and never heard of.

    On BlogCatalog I keep getting told that so-and-so is now my friend. I’ve never seen them, and I can see (from the Blog Catalog widget) that they’ve never even read any of my blogs. They don’t know me, they don’t want to know me, they aren’t interested in anything I say, so why do they want to be my “friend”?

    If, on the other hand, someone regularly reads my blog and comments on it, and I do the same for them, or if we’ve exchanged e-mails regularly, even if we haven’t met, I’m happy to be their friend on Facebook or other social networks. But the way some people use these things, it is debasing the concept of friendship.

  3. Laura Says:

    I hate the whole friend thing too. I rarely ask anyone to be my friend…but respond to others’ friend requests…

  4. Beckye Estill Says:

    Hey, I’m a friend from the past that is glad to have you on my friend list. 🙂 Glad we’re eternal friends!

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