Tea Time With Jesse

Six of One, Half Dozen the Other

Facebook Follies

Posted by middlerage on February 15, 2010

I don’t remember where I read it, but somewhere in the vast online cloud of journalistic output, a technology columnist described the first time she got a friend request from the unthinkable, and the obtuse…a childhood bully. It was one of those ughhhh moments in Facebook-dom. If you’ve been on Facebook beyond the initial, breathless introductory foray, then you’ve more than likely gotten a friend request from somebody you’d rather just have a relationship that begins and ends with a supermarket nod hello (or an extended family holiday dinner). In fact, I was getting such friend requests  even before I joined Facebook. An invitation pumped up by Facebook’s breathless sales pitch, “Have you joined Facebook yet? Starting an account is easy!…”, or something to that effect.

I wasn’t too worried about ever getting a friend request from a school daze bully. I’m old enough to be far beyond those circles. But many technology journalists are a generation (or more) behind me, and still within reach of those old circles. Never-the-less, the article was an interesting read, and I wish I could remember more about it and even link to it.

But then, boom. Out of the blue. I in fact got the unthinkable friend request – a bully from way back when. This person wasn’t a physical bully, but I don’t remember ANYTHING pleasant about our relationship (high school). There is certainly no reason for me to want to be their Facebook friend and the CRAZY thing about it is… there was nothing attractive about me, at that distant time, to make it worthwhile for them to want me as a friend. Like I said, this request is obtuse (one time me and the beautifulonewhoblessesmewithherpresence got into a tiff after I used the word as a synonym for stubborn. She correctly knew it to be a synonym for stupid. My bad. On lots of accounts. But I digress…).

To be honest, one of the indelible memories of this person is them teaching me a deserved lesson. A painful lesson, but one I needed to know. But there is no rule, no constitutional amendment, no jurisprudence, that says you have to like the person who teaches you a lesson. You might learn to never speed through a parking lot after someone backs into your path, but you don’t have to like them for it, or the ding to your insurance.

The only thing I can fathom is that, through the vagaries of our modern nomadic life, this person and I now live within the same broader, megalopolistic region. But who knows.

I am scratching my head. I am astonished to have this piece of Facebookism rear it’s astonishing head. File this under, what.the.fuck. <he clicks ignore>


4 Responses to “Facebook Follies”

  1. Dahveed said

    Once, I initiated a friendship on Facebook with a gal from my high school with whom I’d had the most inconsequential relationship. She wrote back and asked me why I wanted to friend her. It was a tiny bit off-putting, but I just wrote back that it was entirely up to her and if she didn’t feel comfortable with it, just hit “ignore”, no hard feelings. For some reason, she hit “accept”. But then a few weeks later, she posted a reply on a mutual friend’s wall about getting friendship requests from high school people who she hardly knew, and given her troubled high school history, she worried about why they might want to friend her now. Wow. I felt a weird mixture of irritation for all the needless drama and compassion for what she must be thinking. I took the time and wrote a long, well-considered private message, explaining that a Facebook friendship with me had no ulterior motives other than to extend our networks in hopes of connecting with people we want to find, and that I wouldn’t send her unwanted messages (except that one!), show up on her doorstep, or ask her for a loan. I also explained that I didn’t recall anything unsavory about her from high school, and that my only recollection was that we talked occasionally in class and that she seemed nice enough. To cut to the end, we’re better friends now than we ever were in high school. But every time I send a friend request, I wonder what that person really thinks of me, or what he imagines I think of him.

  2. Jerry said

    I recently friended (now a verb) a woman who acts as a social hub, and now I’m getting some odd friend requests also. Simply going to the same high school does not make someone an instant buddy in my book. Most of these requests I chalk up to ‘friend collecting’ – people elevating their imagined status by getting lots of facebook friends. Those are pretty easy to ignore. Still I have to admit I’m tempted to accept, sometimes, when I think of Facebook as marketing; even strangers might become regulars at my blog given a chance. (It would help if my blog was more interesting or had a hook, but that’s not the issue here.)

    I have something like 100 Facebook friends now, and I wonder sometimes, how is this even possible?

    Then there’s the recent appearance of someone I was buddies with up until the time we got in a fight in 9th grade, and our paths diverged. I was surprised to get a request from him, but thought maybe he was just better at remembering the good times over the bad and maybe I should lighten up a bit.

  3. middlerage said

    @Daveed – an interesting insight from the other side of the coin
    @Jerry – Wow, 100! That happened quick, because you’ve only been on a couple of months, right?

  4. Susan said

    If it’s any consolation, my perception of the usage of “obtuse” was that it was someone who was being STUBBORNLY stupid! 🙂

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