I’ve often wondered what kind of “friends” my Facebook friends are. And at the same time, it makes me wonder what happened to the courtesies and considerations we are all supposed to get from real, true friends.
I don’t understand why Facebook Friends insist on adding me as a friend without so much as a “Hello!” a “How are you?” maybe even a bold, “Nice to see you’re on FB! Long time no talk.” People seem bent on having as many friends as possible without developing or nurturing any real relationship. I’ve stopped accepting friends who don’t at least send me a short message with their friend request. And I delete people that I don’t talk to or chat with at least a few times a year. I just don’t feel it necessary to be one of those people that helps you get to 500 friends. The true friends I have are good ones, and we’re already in touch. Why do I need 152 “friends” I never talk to?
And that “People you may know” feature on FB is maddening. It guilts people into adding more people as “friends”.. people they likely have zero interest in conversing with. Let’s see, if I know you and like you, and want to get to know you better, wouldn’t we already be friends? I have to find a way to block this. Help me if you can.
But when it comes to “real” friends, it seems the role of a friend has changed dramatically. To me, a friend is someone who I’m interested in, who I genuinely care about, whose life stages I follow with interest, who I’ll bring soup to if they’re sick, someone I’d have to my house for a home-cooked meal, someone I can hug, and someone who will lean on me if they need to. A friend is also someone I can debate things with, buy fun birthday presents for, be loyal to, and support, and someone who will support me. Also someone I can tell outright when they’re making a mistake or doing something I think is wrong, and they’ll respect me for being honest, not become vindictive because we don’t see eye to eye.
But sadly I’m learning even the best of true friends can let you down and make you feel less important. I have a friend who will take cell phone calls in the middle of dinner, or while we’re having a glass of wine and talking. Why is the person on the phone more important to you?
I have friends who don’t return my phone calls or e-mails for days. And I have friends that are wholly unreliable—we can make dinner plans weeks in advance and I know for a fact “something” will come up on the day in question without fail. “I’m tired. I’m sick. I’m so busy. I don’t want to drive across town.”
I also have friends who don’t RSVP to event invitations I send out. How hard is it to look at a calendar, mark a date and hit “reply” to an e-mail?
Or what’s worse these days, when friends DO RSVP to an event, they don’t show up. I’ve had reservations for 8 where three people have shown up—and I was one of them. I get that things come up, but why can’t people make a phone call to say, “Sorry I can’t get there”?
The crux of why this makes me mad?: Why is it we think that we can treat our friends with less respect than a business associate and that’s somehow ok?