In a bit of a grumpy mood because I just found out a so-called 'close' friend (known each other for almost 15 years), who is getting married in June, only plans to invite me to the evening part of his wedding. To say I am a little bit gutted is an understatement -it was my wedding of the year and I was tres excited (even cancelling two other activities) but one can only express this opinion so far in such situations before it gets beyond awkward and I know he has a lot of relatives. Still, he could have forewarned me and it makes you re-evaluate things. Is it horribly mean of me to imagine scenarios of The Mist - me pushing him out of the supermarket and leaving him to the hands of all the monsters out there and mouthing to him through the window whilst he bangs to be let back in: 'Two words: Evening Invite!' Is it mean? Probably so ...but it is okay as it is imaginary and I would never actually do it. Imagination is good in that way...small temporary comforts.
But anyway, in my sour mood, it got me thinking about friendships and social networking. I've been thinking about facebook for a while. I was a big fan. You could go as far as saying I am addicted to the thing... I love being social me and I love having lots of friends and staying in touch... I think it is great for catching up with old friends and making connections and keeping things alive. I have a great curiosity and enjoy seeing how people are doing but I'm starting to question it and look at it in a different light. I'm starting to wonder about the shallowness of it all.
I have about 425 friends on facebook but how many of those are real friends? Friends who would invite you to their wedding (the day part!) say (whilst we're on this topic) - probably not that many if I am honest. So you get to see their special day in photos online instead and you coo and you ahh and send heart-filled congrats... and when you start thinking about it in that respect it does seem a little odd. Surely if you were good friends you would just be there in person to do that?!
In recent years I've been learning that with regards to material possessions - less is more. I'm also starting to think about this a lot with regards to friendships. I think I spread myself too thinly. I want to care for everyone, I want to be inviting, give and create great connections but one only has so much time. Facebook helps with this task - it keeps 'friends' up to date with your life and visa versa when you don't actually have the spare time to fill them in in person. Again, doesn't this seem a bit odd? It facilitates this sense of well-being - but actually how real is it?
Don't get me wrong - I think it has positive benefits too (a lot) but I think it can confuse a person as to how good a friend is - the quality of that friend. My mother always says that you can only really count proper good friends on the fingers of one hand. I'm not sure if I totally agree but then sometimes I do wonder when people let you down. I think my problem is I expect too much sometimes because I always think 'do as you would be done by'. Over the years I have learnt the hard way - sometimes you can like and value a person a lot more than they value you and whilst some friends are like stars you can set your compass to - always consistent and ever present - others are transient and breeze in and out of your life like a hot wind from an exotic country. I struggled a lot with those types in the past - I still do - but you learn over time to recognise these qualities and then know to expect less to avoid disappointment. You still class these people as friends but you know not to waste so much energy on them with regards to important matters.
Anyway...I feel I have become to bogged down in the mire of facebook and I need to get away. I want to do an exercise. I want to deactivate my account for a month or so - my excuse being so I can fully focus on my CELTA - but it is also just to know that I can cope without it and to see who actually gets in touch in other ways when they can no longer locate me there online...
But I'm feeling a little apprehensive. I don't like the idea of walking away from the herd, the club. It feels wrong to my social bones...what if I miss something?! What if I discover that no one notices my absence...what if no one calls? And here, people, I present to you my insecurities that stem back from the playground and my preoccupation with feeling accepted and wanted. But this is the point - facebook might be distorting my sense of reality. It may just be providing me with false comfort....and I feel I need to know the truth...
But what are your thoughts on all of this? If you're here and reading, probably with a blog of your own, I imagine you advocate social networking and know and recognise it benefits, but have you considered the negatives and what do you make of all of this? Will there be a big facebook/social networking backlash at some point? Is it already happening? I'd just be interested to know your thoughts and experiences...xxx