Monday, March 07, 2011

A Friend Is A Friend. A Facebook Friend Is...?

A recent article in The Huffington Post discussed why you should never explain, defend or justify.  It caught my eye because I find myself doing this a lot in an effort to make sure everyone understands me and doesn't think something which I perceive to be incorrect.  I try to practice what this article preaches and yet find myself doing it more often than I'd like.

Like now, for example.

I'm not sure how long I've been on Facebook but I admit to enjoying it.  It's a fun place to connect with old friends and stay in touch with them from time to time.  I get to spew out some silly thoughts and post pictures of things I see that make me laugh.  I also enjoy playing the simple, sometimes inane games as an escape from the sometimes too serious way life gets.

The big joke is about the word "friends" and the way just about everyone understands the difference between a real friend and a Facebook friend.  I certainly don't believe I have as many real friends as my Facebook number shows.  As harmless as it is to maintain a list of hundreds to thousands of "friends," it gets a little overwhelming to me and I like to filter some people out for one reason or another.  I've never done this maliciously or to make some dramatic point.  I've been accused of acting childish when I unfriend (defriend?) someone (which is kind of a childish accusation, isn't it?) but the reality is that there are many people in my friends list with whom I have little to no contact.  So I look through the list and see who I've talked to and who I haven't and make decisions based on that.  I recently unfriended a bunch of people from work because I decided not to be so open and public with them.  Most of the time, the people don't even notice.

It's human nature to feel rejected by this gesture.  No matter how old you are, you can't help but wonder why you've been kicked out of someone's list.  You can't help but take it a little personally, especially if you have a relationship with the person outside of Facebook.  But unfriending someone doesn't mean you're not friends with the person.  Maybe this action would be more serious if I was in high school, where the slightest of slights can be taken as a serious offense.  However, I'm an adult and 90% of my Facebook friends (don't quote me on the math) are adults as well.  I always assumed that adults reacted differently or, if really curious, would investigate why this action took place.  Then again, if what I said before about human nature is true, I should think harder about who I unfriend.

So I find myself defending, explaining and justifying my actions once again.  If you're a reader of this blog but we're not Facebook friends, please don't take it personally.  I'll still buy you a drink some time and be happy to mooch one from you.