Come on up to the house

Does Facebook impact our relationship with others?

So many of us on Facebook are now habituated to daily (hourly) updates and scans on what our social network is doing. We are plugged in: we wake up and check FB, we check FB on our phones throughout the day, we plan our social lives through Facebook.

We have created a need-to-know, without there really being a need.

It’s a convenient way to receive information about people we are not in contact with much, or a way to follow people who’s lives we enjoying spying on observing.

It’s become a part of our lives that many people no longer will live without, but that more and more people are finding distracting, time-consuming and overall less rewarding.

Words can only hurt you if you try to read them. Don’t play their game.

I had a friend delete me from Facebook. I didn’t think people cared enough to even bother doing this anymore. These electronic contacts seem the least personal, almost artificial, that deleting someone is almost irrelevant. When we probably only interact with 5% of our friend list, why do we keep the other 95%? How many people on your friend list wish you happy birthday (when they get the Facebook reminder), but you don’t really hear from them otherwise?

Sometimes we have these contacts, even if we don’t need their personal lives to be directly involved with our own. They are a part of our life, but not a constant connection. They can be connections based on work, through shared activities, or through family. Sometimes it’s just a contact you’d like to keep for the future.

I had a misunderstanding with my friend (non-FB related), and he deleted me. After we had spoken about the issue, he apologized but still did not want to add me back onto his friend list. Later, he sent me a friend-request, but before I had time to answer, he’d cancelled it. He seemed confused. But, obviously, I was not going back on the list.

What does this mean for me? I am no longer privy to his daily comments — what he ate for dinner, what movie he watched — or photos of his truck/garden/shoes/kids. It has not impacted my life so directly. This was not our only means of contact but it was the first way in which he shut down his connection with me, symbolically removing me from being his ‘friend.’ It removed me from being a part of his life he chose to intentionally share.

I think there are some rules about deletion. If there are offensive or inappropriate comments/photos posted about you, that ‘friend’ certainly should go. But a lot of deletions (and misunderstandings) come from what people personally share about themselves, causing Facebook jealousy. Seeing comments, relationship status updates, or photos of others can make a lot of people jump on the Facebook insecurity wagon. Misunderstandings, shame, lowered self-esteem, stress and anxiety are all emotions experienced by FB users, usually scanning another’s profile. We misunderstand and fear the worse. And delete.

Those who gossip with you, will gossip about you.

We may feel invincible (or liberated) posting our innermost thoughts and desires online, forgetting the audience or that it will be seen immediately. Yet it’s a fishbowl of emotions that everyone is privy to. If you have added someone to your Facebook list, have you entered into an unspoken obligation to respect them as you would in person?

Are you on Facebook? Have you ever been deleted from Facebook? Have you ever deleted someone from your friend list?


7 thoughts on “Come on up to the house

  1. I’ve been unfriended a couple of times: once by an ex and once by a nephew. I could really relate to your story. I have not unfriended anyone. You have me wondering if I’m too much of an open book. I do think Facebook creates weirdness. There are some good posts and some incredibly immature and mundane ones. Hmmmm…

    • Hi Frank,
      I agree that Facebook creates weirdness. I’m not signing off (of FB), but I often wonder why not. I have had friends leave Facebook and it hasn’t seemed to affect their lives in any terrible way. I’m trying to check it less and just not get so involved in drama. If I don’t see it, then it doesn’t really matter.

  2. I struggle with FB myself. I have, however, reconnected with some great friends I’d lost contact with through the years. I do struggle with the privacy issues, as well, but that’s probably dumb to say since I put my whole life out there on the blogs! My main problem with it, though, is that it’s such a time suck. I spend way too much time on there, against my better judgment, and it’s like falling down the rabbit hole.

    • I think almost everyone has the same problem/issues. Re-connect with long lost friends and then it becomes a time-suck. I highly screen what I put on FB, but I don’t feel the same way about my blog. Then again, anonymity creates that sense of security. I have more people following me now that I actually know personally, so am more cautious. Love the rabbit hole analogy. No kidding! What time is it???

  3. Pingback: Meet my friends: not in real life | iRuniBreathe

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