In a world where everyone is connected to everybody, I am a lonely island.
Somebody asked me today why I don’t like Facebook, and my answer was simple. I thought I’d share my answer here. All together now, everyone…
“Hey JP, why don’t you like Facebook?”
Glad ya’ asked!!
In short, besides my internet paranoia: I am sick of convenient friendship. I believe in having a small circle of close friends, whom you share your thoughts with, and just enjoy being around. I also believe in a having a larger circle of sort-of-friends, who you enjoy being around but to whom you wouldn’t exactly give pages of your journal. And then, I believe in the inevitable huge ring of acquaintances that you high-five every few days, or weeks, or even months or years.
I believe in circles.
I try not to make it hard for someone to be my friend. I’m a generally trusting person, generally forgiving. In fact, I’m honored when people that I like want to be around me!
Um, so…what’s the problem?
The problem is, Facebook makes this inner circle too easy to break into, and too easy to break out of. In real life, “Randos” (A rando being a random person…stranger, temporary coworker, police officer, rocket scientist…anybody I don’t know) don’t care about me enough to ask me what I watched last night, who I visited or what I ate. “Randos” ask me what school I attended, what I do for a living, and what hobbies I have. All very nice questions, but all very superficial.
On Facebook, once you are my friend (whoever you may be!), you instantly not only see where I learned, where I work and what I play, you also see what I watched, who I spent time with and what I had for dinner. Not to mention all the countless other trivial things about me—such as what movie star I most resemble, what flower I would be if reincarnated, or whether I’m a farming mogul—things that, in a small circle of friends, would be either understated, momentary small-talk fodder, or food for inside jokes and running gags.
Would these people care enough to go out of their way to find out more about me? Would they write to me, or visit me? (I don’t say “Call,” because it’s not my communication preference.) Or are they only interested if it’s convenient? Facebook makes it easy to learn every little thing about me, Facebook makes it easy to be my best friend.
But I don’t want friends who are my friends because it’s easy, I want friends who will be friends when I need them to be, friends who will be friends when it’s hard. Friends who hurt when I hurt. Friends who laugh when I laugh. I want friends, not “Friends.”
I don’t want it to be hard to be my friend. But I don’t want it to be too easy!!!
If something happens to the friendship, I don’t want the response to be, “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
Okay, okay, so maybe you got all your loved ones back. Maybe you have friends that would’ve otherwise forgotten about you. Maybe it’s helped your friendships go…
Maybe it has.
But as for me, I’m pretty done with convenient friendships.