‘Say Hello to My Little Friend!’ Facebook Style

I whacked someone on Facebook today.  I simply could no longer stand the inane, self-righteous, hypocritical pabulum spewing from this person like oil from a busted BP well head, so I had to off him.  And this has made me wonder about the nature of “friends” on Facebook, and why the hell we treat such empty euphemisms like obligations.

At least, that was my working assumption before today—before I put hot lead in someone’s virtual ass.  My post-whack analysis is that most Facebook “friends” (and yes, I will keep putting that word in quotes) are usually a medley of people you sort of had something to do with once somewhere.  Whenever that was, you felt no obligation toward them whatsoever. But now that they’ve become “friends” you feel an inexplicable need to tolerate them.

I’m intrigued to understand how this kumbaya insanity took hold so powerfully in a medium only a few years old.  I mean, be honest, if any one of half the people on your “friends” list cut you off in traffic, you’d curse them without even thinking about it.  If you then pulled up close enough to see who was driving, would you say, “Oh jeez! When I thought you were just some asshole cutting me off in traffic, I cursed your name with holy abandon. But now that I see you’re one of my ‘friends,’ I’ll extend to you the blind deference I give to all of my euphemized acquaintances”?

Which is not to say that “friends” doesn’t include friends, or that those friends can’t be people you haven’t physically interacted with in years. I have people on my list that I have not seen in 25+ years, but I still consider friends based on a connection forged back then that I believe worth maintaining.  And it doesn’t even mean friends can’t include people you have never met in person. For me that’s not a prerequisite for being a friend. I’ve helped several friends out in various ways over the years, though we’ve never physically met, and likewise.

On the other hand, I have the kind of person I offed today, who I felt ambivalence toward ‘back then’ and ambivalence toward now, or just before he started vomiting stupidity all over my status updates.  Ambivalence doesn’t equal deference.  And yet, for weeks I let the drivel slide, as if I owed this person a filled bleacher seat in his audience. Why?  I really can’t say for sure. It just seemed the civil thing to do; a gesture of tolerance among “friends.”

Now that I’ve made my first hit, the whole thing seems beyond silly. I’ve excoriated people in the flesh for saying things less ripe with ignorance than what this dimwit said every day. No doubt, there are those on his “friends” list who “like” his mantras of stupidity. I know this for a fact because they “like” them all the time.  Whether or not they’re friends among “friends,” they at least care enough to tolerate what he says and probably won’t whack his ass anytime soon.  Good for the zany lot of them.

Over here, I’m getting my Scarface on. “You wanna play ‘friends’ with me?”

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13 thoughts on “‘Say Hello to My Little Friend!’ Facebook Style

  1. There are a few people in my list who I wouldn’t even recognize if I saw them at my door — but I caved and “friended” them when they asked. That I don’t mind, but don’t BORE the hell out of me! One posts every 30 seconds about her latest pole of lucrative assignments, (OK we’re all losers now), another about her endless book/events and another tells us how many miles he ran. Zzzzzzzzz. Get a life or fake it, wouldja?

    I agree, this is is the sort of self-serving blow-hardism we all flee in person.

  2. I have someones who tell all of us what she is eating or even preparing to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Every day.

    x_x
    O

    • geez… someone who tells. Not someones who tell.

      And never mind the x-eyed face, it didn’t work.

      It’s been a long week!

      (I hardly use fakebook and I weeded out people I don’t want to hear from years ago. If I wouldn’t invite them into my house, they aren’t on my list. No one wants to hear the mental diarrhea of those they would hardly cross the room to speak to in real life.)

      • I meant to say “months ago,” and heck, I just deleted a big batch just yesterday so that would be just hours ago.

        My brain has been put through a meat grinder this week. Computer going off now (yeah, right) – it’s the weekend. Hey, is it too early to switch from caffeine to alcohol? Doesn’t feel too early for me.
        F R I D A Y W O O H O O

  3. Maybe I’m more selective, but I genuinely find my friends’ FB posts either pretty darn funny or a quick glimpse into their respective days, regardless of how mundane. I like hearing what other parents’ kids are up to, what my friends are reading and what they think of it, and catching up with far flung friends I don’t often get to see.

    I don’t use FB as a substitute for getting together because, quite frankly, my schedule is so packed I hardly have a chance to get together with people I know and care about. It doesn’t mean I don’t try to do so; it just happens so infrequently because they’re as busy as I am. (Try scheduling a girls’ night out with a bunch of working moms–by the time we find a mutually agreeable date, it’s three months away.)

    So don’t let the narcissists get you down. Frequent FB list pruning makes for a much more enjoyable experience. 😉

  4. Shew. First thing I did when I read your lede was make sure we’re still fb friends. Kumbaya. So here’s what I think: facebook creates a community just like any other. The pool of members may be, as you say, “a medley of people you sort of had something to do with once somewhere.” But now they’re part of a community you have chosen to belong to–like a workplace, a pub, a coffeehouse that you visit every day. In fact, you visit this one many times a day, don’t you? So it’s virtual. so what? It’s a community and we treat each other with collegiality there. The fact that you can off someone in this virtual community is a privilege we don’t enjoy in meatspace. Well, most of us.

    • Jeff – well said. I agree with you, and for 99% of those on my list I think ‘collegiality’ is exactly the right word to describe the context of our relationship. But, there’s a threshold of tolerance, just as there is in non-virtual life, and the person in question went waaaaay beyond it. For the record, I didn’t enjoy offing him, but it was necessary. I doubt I’ll return to hitman status again (well, on FB anyway).

  5. Yeah my favorite is the spouses that proclaim their love to each other daily for ALL their wonderful friends to witness.. GAG! PUKE!

    Geez, get a life will ya? I think that just might qualify for the hit, I have the contract out now.. just waiting to pounce!

    UH… Full disclosure: I deselected the “Share with my Facebook friends” checkbox… Maybe I have a ways to go before I’m hard core.

  6. Facebook’s most ingenious marketing idea was usurping the word “friend” and building their brand around it. Who can resist when someone asks you to be their “friend”? Whose confidence wouldn’t get a little boost by having hundreds of “friends”? Who has the stomach to say, “I don’t want to be your friend anymore”?

    That language is emotionally charged and directly targeted at our reptilian brain – by design.

    If FB had chosen another moniker to identify its members, I wonder if it would be as successful as it’s become. Would it be as appealing if an invitation to join was something along the lines of … “Can I “face” you?”

    • Yeah that’s funny Joan, I never thought about that. How about – “Will you be my facebook associate?” (Shades of Wal Mart)

      Or try this – “Will you be my facebook peer?” Ha! too funny

      Dennis – Portland OR

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