I have a confession to make - I feel like a pathetic loser making friendship requests on Facebook. “Golly gee, will you please be my friend? If it’s okay with you,” is what it feels like. I’ve never made friends easily and I guess clicking on “add as friend” just feels too desperate – instead of trying to get to know someone personally, I’m asking outright, will you be my friend? So I have sort of an unwritten personal policy about making friendship requests. If it’s someone I used to know, I won’t send them a request. They know my name. If they want to be my friend, they can find me. Let them be the pathetic, groveling idiot for a change. I’ve played that part to death.
Rule aside, I must admit I find it curious that I get friend requests from people who had no interest in being my friend before. If they didn’t want my friendship eight years ago, why want it now? Have the rules changed and being short and chubby and neurotic is “cool” now? And how do they expect me to respond? I admit, I was rather wretched in high school, but I’m not such a sad sack now that I’ll be friends with anyone who clicks on my name. I haven’t forgotten the nasty things that were said and done and I don’t reckon I ever will.
I expect that many of them are simply curious as to what I’ve been up to all this time. I’ll admit to a bit of that myself. On more than one occasion I’ve looked up people I used to know to see how their lives have turned out, although my motives are less than pure. Usually I just want to see if their lives have turned out horribly as I’d hoped they would because they were such horrible people and I don’t think they deserve success or happiness. They deserve to be miserable, just like I was – just like they made me. They’ve been Dorian Grays too long and it’s time their outward lives reflected what nasty little people they are inside.
But Jill, you might say – in which case I’d tell you not to interrupt while I’m ranting – But Jill, you might say, don’t you think that maybe some of them feel badly about how they treated you and they really would like to be your friend (even though as it’s Facebook, “friendship” is a subjective term on account of I can be “friends” with one of thirty Josh Grobans out there, or with something abstract like a TV show for example)?
Well, you rude little cutter-inner, if that were the case, they could at least send me a message to that effect. Otherwise I’m forced to assume that the only reason they sent me a friend request is because they want to make sure I know they’re getting married (to a man more than a decade older who has the same name as her absentee father; I don’t need Freud to help me with that one) or they’ve graduated college (pity I differentiate and discriminate between education and intelligence, and know for a fact that they cheated in high school and therefore likely did so in college as well) or are doing exciting and wonderful things with their lives (in the words of George Costanza, “well good for the tuna”). Or as is the case with many people, they just want as many friends as they can get as a pathetic measure of their personal popularity. I'm sorry, but I don't think anyone is really good friends with seven hundred people, spoilsport that I am.
Another disturbing Facebook friend trend came to my attention a few weeks ago. I was helping my mother with her Facebook account (she only updates her status when I harass her about it). I had a look at her list of friends and saw that more than half of them are people within the same age range as her four adult children (between 25 and 31, if it matters). This naturally reminded me of one of my biggest problems as an adolescent: People in my peer group invariably liked my mother more than they liked me. In church, they would stop to talk to her and ignore me. They LOVED my mom. If I had a dollar for every time I was told, “I just love your mom,” I could have paid for my second semester of college myself instead of borrowing from my parents (I paid for my first, rather expensive semester with my own savings, thankyouverymuch).
I had the same problem with the younger of my two brothers. He attended my high school graduation, and immediately afterward, the two of us were surrounded by my fellow graduates – all of whom wanted to talk to Chris. I decided then and there that I would never attend a reunion – I’ll send Chris instead. I’m sure my classmates would rather see him than me, anyway. He was a senior when I was a freshman so everyone my age idolized him – he was sort of the Head Jerk in school at that time and I think it would have done him a world of good if someone would have just slapped him hard at about age fifteen (hi, Chris!).
Do I sound bitter? Well, I’m bitter. And you know what else? I’m clicking on “ignore” on most of my friend requests until people actually grow up a little and observe the social niceties. A little note goes a long way.
And incidentally, former classmates, so too will I go a long way. Just as soon as I get a job and move out of my mother’s house and get my BA and become a minor celebrity. Then maybe I’ll have my people respond to your requests. After all, that’s what “friends” are for.