Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I Didn't Unfriend YOU, Baby

Tonight, I unfriended a half dozen or so people from Facebook. My degree of not knowing them from "Well" to "Not At All, "Well" being a 10 and "Not At All" being a 1, was a 3 at best. No need to go into the methodology of these determinations.

In any event, Unfriending feels weird. The term is even capitalized, as though it merits special consideration in some way. But still. If you approach someone you vaguely know, someone whose name you may not know and have to ask a mutual acquaintance on the sly, and you tell this person, "I do not want to be your friend anymore," it's enough of a big deal that you may not do it, you'd just say screw it, who cares and so on.

In middle school and high school, a lot of people were capable of just saying to you or another friend, "I hate you." Nevermind what it was the day before. You are now hated.

Worst case is someone you like and you discover he or she doesn't like you as much as you like him or her. Anyone who's lived to the ripe old age of 10 has experienced this feeling.

To wit: Looking someone straight in the eye and saying, "I do not want to be your friend," is a major statement. It's huge. It's game changing.

This feeling carries over into Facebook: Unfriending someone, even if you scarcely know this person or even not at all, feels mean. There is no walking it back.

At the same time, I have Facebook friends I have never met in the flesh, but whom I cherish. These people post remarks or thoughts that--while they don't correlate with mine--nonetheless acknowledge the right for me to exist. I simply could not do without, for example, Fred Stewart, Creedence Sabrina Gerlach, or Mike Rohrig. There are others, but these people post regularly.

My father defined a friend as someone who would bail you out of jail even if he(she) know you were guilty. If Fred or Mike Or Creedence had a bail bondsman call, I'd be morally challenged and probably couldn't say no.

What does this all mean? Fuck if I know. These are the days of miracles and wonders, the way the camera follows us in slo-mo, and so on, to shamelessly steal from Paul Simon. A New-Old World Order, where the metrics of friendship are the same as they were a hundred years ago, but the obligations and responsibilities are not quite clear.

Unfriending folks is chronically stressful. Or is it just me?


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