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.
NOT THAT I WOULD KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THAT.
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.
5 hours ago