Recently I sent a friend request to a girl who’s known me for years, and I used to date her brother, and since that break-up, it’s occurred to me that she still doesn’t like me, amongst other things I suppose, I think some people in my life have been there at the wrong time and seen all the worst, which I feel I minimally show to people I don’t really have a close relationship with. This girl is one of those people. And when I was 13 or 14 I would have been offended by this rejection, but now I just laugh. Is Facebook really that big a deal? No. I use Facebook to communicate and talk, yes, I also use Facebook so more people have access to my work, and to the work of other friends. But then I started thinking about how we “unfriend” people. It’s so easy to hurt somebody by clicking a button; in my mother’s day, ending a friendship was much more involved with each other, face to face, there had to be some kind of interaction. But now, it just gets a whole more offensive, right? That you can just essentially end a friendship by not seeing somebody’s life posted up on your computer screen, at the click of a button.
If you’re still reading, thanks for coming this far. Let’s journey on.
So I got to thinking more about people, I suppose one of the biggest things if not the biggest thing that takes up our heads is essentially people, who we like, who we don’t like, how we think they perceive us, how we want them to perceive us, and I got kinda lost in this fanfare thinking about how many people probably have some sort of problem with me.
People always start with school in my opinion. When you’re a kid you never really see your parents as people, y’know, like you. We don’t stop to imagine our parents having bust-ups with their best friends or sex lives or whatever. No, when I was a kid, my parents were my parents, they weren’t people, they were my parents. It was a similar concept with teachers, I guess. It’s taken adulthood and maturity to realise everywhere, that even those two loving parents who taught me everything I know are people, and that some of my teachers have committed suicide. There’s people with feelings, there’s people who give a shit, and there’s people who don’t at all. And there’s “That Person”, at school. It’s the one person, or a bunch of people you don’t get on with, it’s the person who won’t share the play-dough with you, or the person who tells on you to get you into trouble, even if you’ve not done anything wrong. And then it progresses, like back to my earlier point, it progresses to the point where you date somebody’s brother and have a pretty acrimonious break-up and at that point, your side of the story doesn’t count, your hurt feelings don’t count, and everything else is moot, the brother naturally takes precedence, and everything else has to be ignored. Its been 2 years since that break-up and I’ve longed moved on to a new set of work, a new boyfriend, and changes everywhere. But the old friend hasn’t moved on, and if I wanted I could probably make amends with that ex, sort it out, but its really clear that we have new things in our lives to occupy ourselves with. It would be pointless, really. Neither of us had that much in common really, and I don’t think it’s a cool move to just walk back in saying “Hey, How’s Life?”.
I can imagine him saying something like this:
“Yeah, it was going great until you popped up and you’re making me have this conversation with you. Duh there’s a reason I broke up with you.“
How do we move on from friends? How do we pick our friends? When does that crucial moment come when we decide we should delete somebody out of our lives? And why should we feel compelled to? What does it really take to dislike somebody at first glance? And why is the online world now controlling how our friendships go rather than we as people?
I’ve disliked girls because of their choices, I mean that makes me a huge idiot, but I would be lying if I said I don’t do that anymore. It’s biological. When you see a girl who’s hotter than you with better stuff, then yeah, you’re compelled to feel shit with the great things you already have, you squash yourself to the point where you think that your life is shitty and hers isn’t and you don’t like that fact so therefore you don’t like this bitch because she’s unfathomably perfect.
I’m saying this with a frown on my face. I don’t want to feel like that, and loving yourself is a near impossible thing to do these days because we’re all taught to want more than we already have. We’re taught it so much that we use it to guide ourselves in how we make friends.
My best friends are myself, my mother and two other girls, but I’ve known one of them longer and I spend way more time with her than the other. I suppose my boyfriend’s my best friend too but it’s a little different because the dynamic is well, different. It’s intimacy isn’t it?
My best friend is somebody I love more than anything in the world, but I was guided by what I’m already used to. I mean, not everybody is guided by what they’re already used to, I mean, my family and her family are both financially similar, and aesthetically we’re on par, I’d say naturally she’s the prettier, but how we make friends normally means somewhere down the line there’s a level of understanding between each other. Myself and my best friend have never been the stereotypical popular girls at school. We were normal, albeit not as popular, bullied or remarked at, and socially our circles weren’t massive. But we had an argument last week, and now we’re not talking to each other. And guess how half the argument was handled? Online.
Whenever I argue with my mother it’s always in the same room. We’re not separated behind a computer screen. Maybe that’s why by the next hour, myself and my mother, (my salvation and indeed the only human being I can trust to tell me that I look shit when other people might say it with subtlety I don’t want or need or even let me go out looking like a mess), have already made up and are hugging on the sofa.
In other chapters though, I haven’t talked to my best friend for what feels like months even though it’s been nearly 2 days. From what I know, this sulking is gonna last longer. I’m not a sulker. Unless its a guy I’m dealing with.
I think by arguing online we’re all just creating more problems for ourselves. By trying to make amends or creating friendships online, we’re creating more and more problems for ourselves, because the Internet doesn’t tell you that it can start and end with a button. So much as clicking “Delete request” led me to writing this, you might be thinking, “Well clearly she gives a shit about this person”. Well of course I give a toss. I mean, a third party in a relationship you had with somebody else still hasn’t moved on and isn’t willing to make the crucial step to showing you’re truly friends by oh my god, accepting your friend request, is a big deal these days. But then I had a mental thought process which translated onto my keyboard, and here we are. I don’t care now. I’m hoping you won’t care after reading this. Well done by the way if you’re still here.
If somebody unfriends you online, it’s like a huge deal now. If you’re pretending that it isn’t and you’re acting the mature 50 year old who doesn’t give a shit, wait until your friend unfriends you and you don’t know why. You confront them. They’re ignoring you online. You ring them, and technology these days has enabled us to see the number calling you, your friend recognises its your number and doesn’t pick up the phone. You pass each other on the street, you say hi, and bam, the conversation happens, and you start resolving it, and before you know the person’s adding you back.
Social networking is sure as hell helping you network, but socialising, nuh-uh. Facebook started because Zuckerberg was hating on a girl.
I mean, BAM!
This business kick started because of another argument. Does that really speak “social network” to you? Facebook enables us to see the best parts of somebody’s life, all of which are uploaded, the great photos and the great body, and it makes us jealous. So by putting that little button, “Unfriend”, there, it gives us a little bit of power. We unfriend somebody to make them feel insecure because we’re insecure.
And by being able to delete requests faster than inviting somebody round to your house for coffee and maybe to make amends, you’re cutting yourself off from people to make yourself feel better.
I hate to say it, but in a world where friendships are being governed by “likes” and “trolls” and pictures and the ability to update our status every time we fart, we’re not socialising, we’re just basking in our own narcissism. And if we’ve got a real life grudge against somebody we don’t really know, deleting that request from them further emphasises our hatred, and leaves them feeling like an idiot.
So if you’re that person stop feeling like an idiot when people delete you or whatever, if their friendship on a social networking site meant that much, then the friendship on the outside probably wasn’t worth anything more than their spite. It’s only one less like on your profile picture. Nobody really cares that you went to a party. I don’t. I also don’t care that you uploaded a picture of all your shopping bags from overpriced shops, or how skinny you are, or how great life is.
Come and tell me to my face. Kick start an actual conversation in the flesh.
So if you’ve read to the end, pat yourself on the back. Cheers. And if you knew all of this already, awesome. I’m sorry for wasting your time.
And yeah, the irony is I wrote this online, but these days if I talked for this long to somebody’s face during a conversation, they’d have left 10 minutes ago. Well, the post’s over, and I need a cup of tea.