Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Facebook Friends...One is Silver and the other Gold

Okay, so this whole Facebook friends thing...
I just helped my mom get a Facebook account. I was explaining to her how, if you want to be friends with someone, you have to send a friends request.
"You have to ask them if you can be their friend?"
"Well. Yes... sorta. It's just a formality."
She asks a little worriedly, "But, what if they say no!?"
At seventy-five, you don't want to be dealing with school yard rejection.

When I first got on Facebook, EVerybody was my friend! I had tons. Then I realized that I was friends with 11 year old neighbor boys, people I really didn't recognize and some people that, frankly, I had no desire to be friends with. So I culled my list. I immediately felt very guilty and I really did mistakenly get rid of some keepers.
"What if I hurt someone's feelings?"
After I consulted with my kids, they all agreed.
"Never get rid of your friends mom."
"It's a networking thing."
" You want to have friends that you don't know and really don't want to be friends with".
You want to be friends with EVerybody!
So I wrote an apology of sorts, contritely explaining that I had accidentally deleted some people and invited them to come back, and some did.

So far, I have only experienced the humiliating indignity of Facebook rejection once.

Recently, an old school mate, a school mate with whom I was never friends, requested my friendship. By friend, I mean someone I knew, ate lunch with, had sleepovers with, talked to regularly. She was on the edge of my outer circle of friends. But despite all the above, I received a friends request. It came after I had converted back to the EVeryone can be my friend ideology, so I accepted after looking her up in my dusty yearbook.
"Ah yes, I think maybe we had a P.E. class together once." I read her profile.

Married to Ron Seaver. (all names changed to protect...)

"Ron Seaver! She's married to my old high-school sweetheart!"
Of course, like any old flame, I wanted to see how he's held up over the years. I mean, anybody on Facebook can see that I look like what I am, a fat, 54 year old school teacher. So, I wanted to see if he'd fared any better. But no pictures were posted on her page and, wouldn't you know, his is a "friends request only" page.

Now, here was my dilemna, although I really was not interested in being friends with his wife, I wanted to find out about "Ron". He must know I am Facebook friends with his wife. He's on Facebook, right, so he knows I'm on Facebook. But no request to be my friend. So I let it lie. In the meantime, Facebook was sending me little friend suggestions, "you should be friends with"Ron". You have friends in common! Ron is nice, be his friend!" But I, erring on the side of discretion, ignored them.

Then, throwing caution to the wind, I hit the button. I requested to be his friend.
"What the hell, all he can say is no, right?"
I got no reply.
I figure maybe he doesn't get on that often but after a week, I felt like a fool.
I felt like I had been turned down for the Sadie Hawkins dance.
I was embarrassed and, somehow, ashamed. But I got over it swiftly.

So, questions:
Are you taking a risk, asking if you can be someone's friend on Facebook?
Should you just be friends with EVeryone?
Did she only want to be my friend to tell me she married my old boyfriend?


Clair said...

I’m actually very picky about who I allow to be my friend. My criteria is; we actually at some point had to be friends, are friends right now or you were always nice to me even though we weren’t close. I turn people down all the time. Like old classmates. They weren’t friends with me then so why do they want to be on FB? Also I befriend people and than get rid of them.

I found an old boss on FB. She is the meanest person to walk the face of the planet. But I was still interested in how her life might be like now. So I made a second FB account just so I could befriend her and know what she and her family (whom I lived with) were up too. But she would not have access to my personal life, which is important to me considering how ruthless she was to me when I was under her thumb.

She hasn’t accepted yet.

nichole said...

i second whoever this genius named clair is... in every respect... (please don't tell my anyone on my 'other' facebook account.)

Karlie said...

Ha! The funny thing is. You never know what the motive is for someone to request your friendship on facebook, unless you ask, which I wouldn't recommend. Personally, I request friendships to see what's up with the person, I just want to know. My good friend wants to see how many friends she can actually get it's all about numbers for her. As for your high school friend. Of coarse she wants you to see who she married! I'm glad you asked Ron to be your friend. If he doesn't accept, forget about it for a while and then ask again. That usually works for me. It gives the person time to think about the facebook friendship. I love it all!Thanks for the laugh.

Barry Cann said...

I don't think enough about these things. I think women, by nature, think more about the formalities and implications of friends on facebook.

I have many friends who I don't talk to, don't check up on, and doubt they do the same to me. But it's about networking.

Don't worry about whether or not somebody will accept your friend request. It's all very non-substantial anyway. It's just facebook.

Brandon and Michelle Day said...

OKay, so I am picky about who I befriend. Here is who I do not befriend or ask:
1. Co-workers (unless I hang out with them outside of work)
2. Youth group kids (IE your 11 year old neighbors)
3. People who were on the outer edge of my friend circle in high school.

I also defriend the following:
1. People who use promotions to advertise events that their personal business does.
2. People that I accidently friended and don't even talk to.

It's just weird to have people looking into your life and you don't KNOW them like that.
Yes, it is for networking, but do you want to network with people you wanted to forget about in the first place?

I also don't post too many pictures of family, etc. and my status update is generic. Not all twittery......Hope that helps.
don't feel bad if they didn't accept you or you reject them.

Oh!! And you can put people on "limited friend" status. So they can only see your profile, so I hear, but I haven't done it yet.

If I don't keep in contact with you when I visit Ohio, or call you, you most likely are not my friend.

Charla Alldredge said...

Cathy, I don't let anyone under 21 on my facebook. LOL I just vent too much on FB. I don't wnat my kids or their friends seeing it. :) I usually ask myself if I them in my life. I don't care about numbers. I have deleted some because nothing positie was coming out of it. I love facebook and seeing how friends and family are doing. So I am really choosy about it. I think the younger folks are more easy going about it all. But I think about how open I was about my life when I was younger and how many times i learned hard lessons because of it. My life now is a bit more private.

Breezy said...

Cath~~ I dont know a lot about FB.. but I have do one question for you. Will you be my BFF :)

Hawleywood said...

Hahaha I know what you mean about Facebook rejection! Me, being the completely oblivious mess that I am, mistook the non-answer to mean they didn't get the friend request, so I sent it again (right?). I definitely got a message saying, "I don't want to be your friend." OUCH!!

It's nice to "meet" you--I love your daughter's blog and yours is fast becoming a favorite, too! I'm glad you enjoyed my Catholic snark--I just have no patience for fakery (not sure that's a word...). Thank you for your comment about Kevin the Kitten. We miss him very much!!

Dee said...

Maybe the wife won't let him be friends with you.. She might still be worried about you :)

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