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.”