Saturday, April 09, 2011

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.


The Plastic Mancunian said...

G'Day Kath,

Ah - Facebook. I've all but given up on it.

My own sons won't even be friends with me - mainly because they think I will post embarrassing photos of them (but I have done that on my blog instead :0) )

I look at Facebook - sure - but I don't send out friend requests. I get the odd one and if I know the person I accept. Why? Dunno. I haven't been proactive on it for months.

I wouldn't miss it at all if it vanished up its own cyberbottom.

Mrs PM on the other hand would.

I rate my blog far higher really - and love the feedback I get on that far more than any weird status update I might have considered putting on Facebook.




Lightening said...

I love it and I hate it.

I love that it's quick to "like" a comment - much easier than blog commenting when you want someone to know you've read their blog but don't know what to say.

I hate the whole insecurity thing (I go through it too). Some days it makes me feel like I'm back and school. I had a so called "friend" once make fun of me through comments on her wall post. :( Yes, she is no longer my friend but it still hurts.

I don't get many comments on my blog anymore so I prefer the conversation and feedback I get via facebook.

River said...

I've never bothered with Facebook. I just don't think it will be useful to me. I certainly don't need to be friended by umpteen people I don't really know. I have closer friends through my blog and in real life.
I can see where Facebook would be useful for someone promoting their blog because of a business they have, then linking both to Twitter, as suggested at the BlogCon.

Pandora Behr said...

As a bit of a facebook junkie, I so get what you're saying here. I was defriended by a close friend of many years - who has never returned and email since, though I know he's still on facebook - he just wants no contact with me any more, I don't know why - just don't get it.

Thankfully I've learned it's easier to forgive and forget "facebook friendships." When they don't respond to calls or mail, that's when I get upset.

Lidian said...

I was very keen on FB at first but not so much now. Pretty much like PM - I connect with people more through blogs and HubPages and so on (I know, I am lousy at answering comments these days but I mean to, really!)

I tend to just play games on FB these days - Bejeweled Blitz and solitaire, mostly (nothing with -ville in the title!)

captcha is DONIT

"I am on FB, yes, but probably am not donit right."

...And I am glad we are FB friends even though am so lazy about FB :)


Marie said...

I have a mixed relationship with FB. I like it because I can keep in touch with people back home at the same time as the family and friends I've made here. But I don't like the voyeuristic nature of it and how you never really know who sees what on the damn thing. It's like being back at school, wondering if the prefects will see you if you have a quick fag behind the bike shed.

While I try as much as possible to keep my friends list to those I know (either those I've met or know from somewhere else on the net) I've seen that “friends” is a relative term on FB. It is purely a marketable label that sounds more fun than “connections.” And it's a loaded term in that it comes with assumptions - and perhaps your assumptions of what's involved in being a "FB friend" are different from mine so there's a possible conflict already. Should we all have disclaimers on our accounts?

I have never been defriended and I think that I would be unhappy if I was, since I try apply the utmost of tact in my FB dealings. I am careful to post private messages if the topic is of a sensitive nature so that others are not privy to the subject matter. As all of my FB friends are people that I know or have been friends with personally, I would take it hard if I were defriended. And I can fully see why you'd be upset in the circumstances you describe. How awkward to see them pop up on mutual friends' posts and wonder what you'd done to offend them. I hate not knowing...

That said, I know others that defriend willy nilly and think nothing of it. Some people I know have 1500 "friends" and regularly just click the "x" on people in mass deletings without giving a thought to how the person on the other end might feel about it. It's just so easy to click and forget.

The Elephant's Child said...

I haven't ever played FB, and it sounds as if I might have made the right decision for fragile me. Has anyone else noticed that 15 or 150 people can tell you that you are wonderful but it is the one disparaging comment that you believe?

WV worize - thats me, I have lots of them. Do what you do do well I say.

Andrew said...

Feedback: Blame computers, blame the internet, blame poor typing skills. It's never you they are rejecting. I have two FBs. One for family and a couple of close friends and one for blog friends. I don't bother with anyone else on FB. In fact I generally forget to bother with FB.

Chestnut Mare said...

I'm off to check your FB page right now!

Jilly said...

I hate it really, but I am also on Facebook... I hate that it takes away from reading, spending time with my kids, and actually living my life. And I believe for sure your real friends are the ones you actually talk to and you can (and do) catch up with - most of my real/good friends (bar my bestie!) are not on. Even though I can't help myself and check it etc, I am under no illusions that these people actually 'like' me. I mean most of them barely spoke to me at High School. But there is some allure to it and I justify it to myself because it does keep me up to date with a couple of friends. Actually, I'm off to it now! xx J

Deep Kick Girl said...

I hear you... on all of the above.

franzy said...

I'm in a stats-ish mood so I'll say this:

If you were to take this blog entry on Facebook and all the comments below and colour every positive sentence green and every negative sentence red, how much green do you think there would be?

Facebook seems to be the source of more worry and insecurity than joy and satisfaction. I quit out some three or four years ago and I've literally never looked back. All those interesting people in high school are still interesting, but they're out of my life for a reason. Not a bad reason, but paths simply diverge and I think that Facebook stops what used to be a fairly organic process.

Elisabeth said...

I refuse to let face book consume me, Kath. I'm already overtaken by my blog, and at least there I can try to explain myself better.

But like you I can feel a sick lurch in my stomach whenever a follower decides to abandon me on my blog.

I have so few friends on FB it doesn't affect me, and most of my FB friends apart from my immediate family are blogger friends. I don't think they expect much from me, which is just as well because I rarely comment.

I find FB different from blogland, less deep and meaningful, for me at least, but it's fun to watch the status updates of friends and their friends and as well to check out some of the many fascinating youtubes that people alert one another too. My daughters regularly accuse me of stalking, but it can't be stalking if I've been invited in.

We are such fragile souls, Kath. I reckon it's the writer in you, more so than the friend who wants to be heard. Why else write? Why else blog? Why else visit FB? If not to write, view, listen, read and be read.

JahTeh said...

I've been de-friended so many times over the years in real life that I don't need FaceBook.

The thought that out there someone that I hated at school/work/married days wants to friend me is frightening.

I like my blog and my life as a Shag on a rock.

Helen said...

I try to ignore Facebook as much as possible, I think that it's useful asa a tool to keep in touch with people far away or to organise seeing people in th eReal World, but otherwise it hurts people too often.

Kath Lockett said...

All of your comments have helped.

Trouble is, I'm still insecure enough to want to stay on FB, but hopefully am now also 'big' enough to realise how like school it is.

the notetaker said...

Or, perhaps you've taught her a lot.

And re FB, I'm with JahTeh. My greatest effort on FB has been in avoiding "friends".
(Trust issues & facebook don't mix me thinks)

Vanessa said...

I have never gotten in to FB. I recently read the novel on it's making and although interesting, it confirmed to me what it is intended for; uni cliches. I have an account and occasionally get a laugh out of reading that someone has just visited Pottery Barn (like I care), or is on a hot date with their husband (so hot, you took time out to tell us?)Unlike blogging, it leaves me cold.

Myrtlemoke said...

Dont you dare go missing from facebook, I'd miss you terribly!

FB, ahh destroyer of spare time and joyful playmate.... I try to keep it to check in every few days, though if I'm procrastinating about housework, well.. its a more attractive option than scrubbing the loo.

Not sure if I'd even notice if I was defriended... would that make me a bad one?

I have a fairly new facebook BFBF, met in real life briefly (a rash moment in dark dingy master's games nightclub after a few drinks and some dancing to 80's rockand roll) and all that). Seemed rude not to accept the friend request,but now a nervous recipent of the over-zealous "like". Its kinda nice to see an like on a new or old post but ... but on nearly everything is a bit weird. Mind you figure its better than secret stalking...


Jayne said...

What everyone else said - it's like the schoolyard, only befriend those you really know really well otherwise almost strangers can hurt you with a mouse click.

Kymmie said...

Oh the joys of facebook. But the problem with it is that it doesn't really personify the reality of our real life. Like aquaintances. We have 'friends' or we don't. And that just isn't the way we live our life! I'm so sorry you've been dissed by someone you considered a friend. No matter what her reasons, it isn't nice for anyone to be on the receiving end... xx