Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Losing Face on Facebook. Unfriending is such sweet sorrow.

A few nights ago, I was having dinner with girlfriends, and discussing the recent status changes of a friend, actions that had transpired for all to see on facebook.

Well, not "all". For instance, not me. Because as someone who does not carefully monitor her number of friends, I had unwittingly been unfriended by this person at some point. But not just unfriended.


I am not sure how it came to pass that someone I had not seen more than two or three times in 15 years had decided that my presence - not just in their friend's list, but my very existence on facebook - was so offensive that all signs of me needed to be removed from their facebook experience.

But it got me thinking.

I am pretty weird about facebook. I accept friend requests from friends - people I actually spend time with or communicate with regularly, and also people who I may not spend time with now, but that I have known since my childhood. Sometimes I "friend" a business or public figure. Basically, my firends list is comprised of people I care enough about to not offend by denying their request, and my, well, my friends.

The chick who sat three chairs behind me in homeroom that I never exchanged more than a bleary "Hello" with? Notsomuch.

I also refuse to friend my mother (sorry mom), my aunts and uncles, or kids. My facebook is an over-18 affair, but shall soon be upgraded to "over-21" because somehow I got a few minors in there, and I certainly don't want to give those sweet impressionable youth any bad ideas. I rarely friend parents of my children's friends, because quite frankly, I doubt they would let their kids sleep over after seeing some of the hijinx documented in words and pictures on my page.

As a result of my carefully curated (and yes, after going back and forth, I think it's the right word) friends list, I let it all hang out on facebook. Apparently, too much of it was hanging out for this person's taste.


Listen, I will admit it - I'm hurt. Mostly because I feel like it was unnecessary. I mean, if you want to hide someone's posts, you can just click the little box next to their post and select "hide all posts" - which I do for people who POST IN ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME and also for people who post long rambling status updates about things I don't care about.

Because I am so relaxed about what I post on facebook, I am careful about the friend requests I accept - I know that my lifestyle is not something everyone is comfortable with. But I count among my friends people from all backgrounds - liberal to conservative - and for the most part, they just roll their eyes at my antics, or join in. I hardly ever send friend requests, because honestly: I can't handle the rejection.

And, because of that fear of rejection, I rarely unfriend someone. I lose a few people during every election cycle, mostly because I don't want to offend them by telling them what I really think in the "comments", but also because after I learn of their beliefs, I realize that I will undoubtedly offend them in the very near future with my own posts. It's like that old saying: "if you don't have anything nice to say, unfriend them before you say somthing offensive."

But blocking them? Let's save that for the stalkers, the ex-spouses, and your boss.
It's hard to accept that I offended or annoyed someone so thoroughly that they had to unfriend me. It's impossible to accept that I am such a boorish asshole, I needed to be blocked. Unfriending is to blocking like screening calls is to blocking calls. You block calls from a specific phone number because you don't even want that person to be able to hear your voice on the answering machine.

You can erase someone from facebook, but you can't erase them from the planet. Sooner or later, you're gonna run into them in the A&P, and I can assure you - it will be awkward.

Oh yes, I intend to make it a very uncomfortable experience INDEED.


Elly said...

That *is* weird. You're so right, blocking is totally only for stalkers, the ex-spouses, and your boss. Sounds like this person is overly dramatic + not the kinda person I'd want to be fb friends with anyway. You however, sound like a brilliant person to be fb friends with :)

Anonymous said...

I love blocking! it’s a great way to say " I don’t want to be friends, but I don’t want to throw it in your face either". it just makes you invisible like you don’t even have a facebook. I hate to sounds like an ass but don’t you think writing a whole blog post about it is a little more dramatic than just blocking someone