Friday, April 2, 2010

Facebook Friends Are a Funny Thing

According to my Facebook account, I have 155 friends. In real life, I don't even think I know 155 people. My circle of honest-to-goodness friends is much smaller than that. The funny thing is, the vast majority of my Facebook friends are people whom I have no idea who they are - I don't even want to guess at percentages, it might be kind of embarrassing. Most of them I share a connection with through the Down syndrome blogging community. Some are people I've met online in pregnancy forums. A number of them are friends and acquaintances from real life. Oh, and one of them is some guy I'm married to ;)

My understanding is that a lot of people use Facebook to reconnect with people from way back when, like high school and college. My husband even has Facebook friends who he knew in grade school! That kind of blows me away. I have exactly one Facebook friend who I've known since childhood. Growing up, my family was too unstable to stay in one place for too long (I attended 12 different schools between kindergarten and high school), so it was next to impossible to forge any lifelong friendships that took root in childhood. I never went to college, and although I did attend junior high and high school with the same general group of kids, there's just not a single person from back then who I have any desire to reconnect with (and it's not like I'm getting friend requests left and right from any of them, either; I was pretty invisible in junior high and HS, as evidenced by the fact that NOBODY even remembered me when I went to my 10-year HS reunion - extremely humiliating and traumatic, to say the least).

Anyway, I sometimes think that the whole collecting-Facebook-friends thing is kind of funny. Under what circumstances do you refuse a friend request? Usually if it's someone who has a child with Ds and has a few friends in common with me, I'll accept the request even if I don't know the person. Just because it's nice to feel like part of a larger community concerning being a parent of a child with Ds. Those are the most common friend requests I get. Otherwise, if it's someone who I just have no idea who they are or what connection we might have, I'll usually ignore those.

And what do you do when you break up with a friend in real life? Do you do the civil thing and just hide them from your Facebook newsfeed so you don't have to keep being faced with their status updates? Or do you just blatantly unfriend them? Or what if someone who you really don't like sends you a friend request? Do you ignore it on principle or accept it to be nice?

This morning I got a friend request from one of my mother's friends! This may not seem odd, except for the fact that my mother and I are estranged and have been for years. And this particular friend of hers contacted me by email about a year and a half ago (it had been years since I had had any contact with the friend), but dropped me as soon as I made it clear that I had no interest in rekindling anything with my mother. So why is she trying to friend me on FB now? Smells fishy to me, although on the other hand it would seem silly for my mother to be sending out spies since I know full well she reads my blogs (Hi, Ma!). Anyway, I ignored the friend request - what's the point? The only commonality we have is my mother, and really, we don't even have that.

Facebook. It's a funny thing, eh?


diane rene said...

FB friend lists have become a topic within my little FB circle. I recently went through and rid myself of a bunch of people I didn't know, or who I would ignore anyway. I also made it a point not to accept any requests unless I was legitimately willing to speak to.

I probably ticked a few of them off when I deleted them, but I'm beginning to wonder how many of them are just requesting my friendship as a popularity thing?

puhleeze! we're adults, right? ;0)

oh, and kudo for getting hubby on there. mine absolutely REFUSES. I may create him a page just for the fun of it :)

heather said...

I just went through my fb and made lists (good friends, family and Ds). You of course made the good friends and Ds list. :) But I have almost 200 people on fb who I've never met but belong to the same Ds club. It's interesting how I feel like I've really connected with some of them, but there are so many that I wonder, who is that?

Facebook IS crazy and apparently causing divorces too (the 4th leading cause of divorce).

My husband's ex-girlfriend sent me a friend request about 2 years ago and she is now one of my really good friends. I just spent some time with her on my quick getaway. My husband's family thinks I'm crazy though.