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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

My So-Called Facebook Friends

Just so that you aren’t the last ones to know, when I talk about my friends on Facebook I do that ironic thing with my fingers so as to put the word “friends” in quotations. I don’t mean to insult anyone, and certainly not anyone who lives, let’s say, close enough to come over and kick my ass, but I think we need to separate the Facebook friends from real friends. So what constitutes a “real” friend?

I looked up the word “friend” at an online dictionary to find a concrete definition. Above the actual definition there was an advertisement for a singles site called Gay Latin Friends but that’s not really pertinent here, at least I don’t think it is. Friend is defined as a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.  I suppose this is true in a sort of pencil-neck dipshit kind of way.  This word is too personal to allow it to be explained by an online dictionary that puts friends below gay Latin dating. I’ll take a stab at it myself (I mean defining the word “friend” and not that other thing).

To me a friend is someone who is always there to help you. Speaking hypothetically let’s say I came by your house at 4.30 am and needed help getting rid of a body.  A friend won’t bother me with petty recriminations; he or she will just chuckle something like “not again!” as they make their way out to the shed to fire up the wood chipper.  Real friends have sheds and wood chippers, unlike most of you posers on Facebook. Does anyone have a few extra gallons of bleach?

It’s part of what I expect if “friend” is a role that you truly seek in the drama that is my life. And what does it mean for you to be my friend? I can tell you what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I will drive you to the airport even after you have flown thousands of miles to visit me. What we did the night before that made me too morbidly hung-over to drive you the next day to the damn airport is what really makes us friends, even the shit that neither of us can remember. Besides, think of the valuable lesson I taught you on the importance of taking public transportation. You’re welcome! (The preceding is based on a true story. Sorry, Bob.)

I moved recently and I don’t recall having an army of Facebook friends pitching in. Not one dead houseplant, not one box of half-empty bottles of booze, not a single pile of filthy clothes made it from old point A to new point B courtesy of anyone on Facebook. And don’t give me the lame excuse of “But I live in a different hemisphere.” Plan ahead!

I realize that it isn’t your fault. It was Facebook that decided on all of us calling each other friends. You can’t blame them either because they obviously picked that word solely for the sake of expediency. It’s not like instead of “friend” they could have used a more accurate description like “some complete asshole that I barely know but is now the boss of my old college roommate”  or “Man, if Facebook only had a ‘kill’ button instead of a ‘like’ button I could cure all of my problems.” Just keep that in mind the next time someone sends you a message to please be their “friend.”

4 comments:

  1. Listen, Mr. Positive - through history, men of letters corresponded with each other sight unseen. One has to believe that at some point, any of these pen-pals must have referred to each other as friends.

    I'm not trying to step on your point, which is valid to a certain extent. It's just kind of one-sided.

    Everyone seems to be putting out for you, but you don't seem to be putting out for them.

    That said, I wonder if these so-called "friends" view you through the same lens, since they are helping YOU move and dispose of bodies, you are using THEIR wood chippers, and then you are stranding them when they need a ride to the airport; a weakly disguised ploy to push your agenda of using public transportation.

    While Facebook's presumptuous use of the word "friend" does seem to demean the concept, better to stick with the online definition, Gay Latin friends advertisements aside.

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  2. My Facebook friends are real live friends, family (who are all overseas) real old friends (like the 40 women in my High School graduating class),people I comment with on various blogs...and all of our relationships are different. My niece, nephew, sister in law,it's like a daily phone call. Local friends, more or less the same. The goils from NYC high school, a delight. (What a hoot to pick up from zero from the people who made you laugh and made your life a little better and then discover 35 years later that you're still pretty much still the same cynical hooligans you were before. Yeah, team!") As for blogger friends, well, yeah, I'd say pen pals. And sometimes people I friended who I vaguely knew a couple of years ago, suddenly turn into the coolest, funniest correspondents...

    So chill, sweetie, and give it a whirl. (I keep reading your stuff and wondering why you don't have more commenters. Leave a pie on the windowsill and the kitchen door open,ok?)

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  3. Sheesh, some "friends" get it and others get huffy.

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  4. Remind me to never let you near my wood chipper.

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