I was talking with a friend this weekend about something that happened to her weeks ago, but I didn’t know about it. She responded, “Oh, you didn’t see it on Facebook?”
I’ve been pulling back from the book of faces recently, only because I’m realizing it’s not real life. There are so many ways to get your feelings hurt, and it’s not rooted in any sort of reality. (Back in June, the NY Times discussed this: “An Ugly Toll of Technology: Impatience and Forgetfulness“) We’ve stopped communicating our major life events in person, over the phone — even over email — and we just put it up for our sister’s husband’s third grade next door neighbor to read.
I’ve said to people that I hold back on Facebook, and will on this blog too, because it’s a privilege to be my friend, to know what I’m doing. I don’t say that to be snotty or condescending; I mean that if you want to have a relationship with me, let’s actually communicate. The old fashioned way. I’m a fan of even a text exchange on our cell phones! I want to talk about my day with those I love and care about and who love and care about me because it’s special. Private. Sacred.
Sure, it’s fun to see what that third-grade next door neighbor is up to, to reconnect and become friends again with people you haven’t seen in years, to keep in touch with distant family members, to spy on former boyfriends and frenemies.
But I have friends who were my family, and as we moved away from each other, I only hear from them via “poke” or “wall post.” Another friend made me promise when she joined Facebook that it wouldn’t become the only way we talked to each other. It has.
I’ve learned that a Facebook interaction does not a relationship make.
I know I’m just as guilty about not returning your phone call, sending you a Facebook message or posting a quick note on your wall, but I don’t want to make that our primary connection. I’d really rather chat on the phone (even if it takes us three months to schedule it), exchange a few emails, sit across a table for a meal, go take a walk around the park. Really listen to each other. It’s important.
This post says it more eloquently than I ever could: “Never Let You Go: Friendship in the Facebook Age“