You know someone. Barely. You met once at a bar and shared a brief conversation of which you couldn’t really hear all the words; you went to camp together 15 years ago and shared the same bunk house with 15 other campers and had some friends in common; you took an entry level Psych class your freshman year in college and had to write a group research paper with five other people about hidden biases and no one really did anything other than this other girl … whatever, you get my point.
You kind of know someone, and they friend you. Do you accept? If you do accept, does that take your friendship to the next level? When you see them out do you initiate a conversation that wouldn’t have happened before the friending? Do you comment on how fun that Spring Break trip looked based on the photos they posted? Is it possible to see them and walk by, as you would have before, without any words exchanged? Do you simply make eye contact and nod while you’re walking by? Suddenly, I’m not so sure how to interact with people I don’t know that well.
I got friended by a woman I see all the time and was sure didn’t know who I am. After I accepted, she still never says hi, nods her head in passing, or even looks at me. What is the point of being Facebook friends? My profile isn’t that exciting. Is this friend collecting? Was she trying to break a big number as far as friends go. Does she know my name, but have no idea what I look like in person? There is a disconnect in that we don’t share hellos, but we allow each other to see pictures we’ve posted, things friends wrote on our walls, our status updates, relatively personal things.
Then there is the random friend who posts ‘we should get together soon!’ on your wall and you have an exchange every few weeks about a meeting which never comes to fruition, but you still go through the whole rigmarole each time. I’m convinced these friends don’t have any intention of getting together, but feel like they should throw it out there for some reason.
I also have friends who I wasn’t that close with in college or high school who I have developed great friendships with thanks to Facebook. One friend in particular I chat with pretty regularly and am thrilled that we got back into touch and are able to keep tabs on what the other is doing. I reconnected with another friend after not seeing each other since we were 12 and we’re now planning a cheese and beer tour of Vermont together. For that I say, thanks Facebook! I’ll be sure to post an album of our travels.
And my personal favorite: the random friend you never knew that well that you never see who gets tanked one night, stalks facebook friends and posts comments on a ton of your pictures. Classic.