Eff Bee Eff Me
It's funny all this being 'mature' and supposedly full of more life experience and learnings stuff.
I've had friendships go sour; I've lost my temper and told some hard truths and been given some even harder ones back and realise how easy it is to say, "Don't worry about what anyone else thinks," to people when continually struggling with it myself.
Which brings me to Facebook. Unlike most popular commentators, I don't think it's the evil of our time or forcing modern society to take unwanted steps towards total isolation and alienation.
I've found people that I went to school with, always kinda-liked but didn't know that well and have been genuinely interested in seeing what they've become, what they're up to, how they think. People have found me via comments on a shared friend's update or through a work-related meeting or other means. I always feel pretty flattered to have a 'friend request' and, if I'm really honest, it's as gratifying as receiving a blog comment.
There, I said it: I love getting feedback. Want it. Dream of it. Long for it. I need feedback. Inside this largish shell of flesh and cocoa butter is a chronically insecure person who still feels like the thirteen year old whose mother persuaded her to buy rust-coloured corduroy jeans a size too large and turns up to Term Two Casual Day surrounded by stretch blue denims and confidence.
Sometimes the feedback needs to come from me - yes, I've done enough today. Sure, you've tried hard. No doubt at all you put in a worthy effort for this job. Absolutely, they really do like you. No, you were right. And Facebook provides a bit of feedback too. Oh goody, three people 'like' my update. Awesome, there are seven comments and another friend request - my life is interesting after all - I am a worthy human being. In cyberspace at least.
It came as a bit of shock to send a friend request to a woman in Adelaide that I'd known in the four years that Sapphire and her son were at school together. We'd had coffee together, worked alongside in classroom activities, excursion and fundraisers. S was brand new to the FB scene and many of her friends were also mine. A quick bright and breezy sentence, click 'send' and my greeting was on its way.
Several weeks later, FB has decided that this woman's status updates are fine to share with me, even though she hasn't accepted my request. Like being picked last for softball or realising that no-one has a crush on you at aquatic camp, she's regularly featured as 'S is now friends with X, Y and Z' day after day after day. Sure, I may never see her again and perhaps was mostly guided by adding another number to my list, but am I really not worth the effort to her? A move of the mouse to 'accept'?
A week ago, Love Chunks said, "I don't know if you've noticed this, but we've both been defriended by GS."
Surely not, I said. She's opted out of FB before you know.
"No Kath, she's a regular commenter on her husband's page and he's still friends with me."
Ah. "Oh well, that's her loss," I said with a casualness I didn't feel.
I was sadly insecure enough to see a comment she'd made - again on a friend-in-common's post - and mouse move further on to check on her list of friends. Oh. She still had 288, but clearly two of us had to go. Why?
Who knows? It hurts. We don't have a lot in common, but we did host them for lunch when they were in Melbourne a few months ago and I've always made a point of 'liking' any updates that tickled me. Perhaps I 'liked' too much; personifying the daggy and eager-to-please friend that became an embarrassment? My own updates were about as interesting as day-old bread and taking up too much of her space? Opinions too strident or different perhaps.
Whatever the reason, it reminds me that it is my eleven year old daughter who is more self assured and evolved. Yesterday she talked of the girl who had made her life a misery last year and said, "Actually I feel sorry for her now. She's very unhappy and is so consumed with being popular and fake that she's no longer able to be her real self."
She has a lot to teach me.