For a while, I’ve known that being Facebook friends means almost nothing. In early college, I went through a period where I added every soul I met on this earth, and years later, I have retained most of those acquaintances because I don’t defriend people. I don’t see the point in it. What am I hiding? You never know when you might need that connection one day.
Of course, people have defriended me. It’s always great when the dude you invited to your birthday in tenth grade now pops up under “People You May Know.” Hey…when did he cut me out of his friends list? Does our history not matter? I’ve known you since second grade.
Then there’s the senior class president of my high school. We knew each other all of high school, were Facebook friends certainly for all four years of that hellhole, and you would assume we would remain *Facebook friends* into the real world, not just because, you know, we were friends, but also because she was senior class president – she has to plan the class reunion! How are you supposed to plan it if you don’t maintain contacts? You think I’m not going to be bitter at the reunion and bring up the fact she ripped me from her social media network a decade ago?
Whatever. I didn’t even like her that much in 2009. She probably sensed I thought she was a suck-up. (Well, you were, Miranda, and you still are.)
Currently, Miranda and I have 13 mutual friends, including four of our teachers from high school. Who did she remain friends with? Isn’t a Facebook newsfeed boring if you aren’t friends with at least 1,500 people? If you delete people, then you don’t get to see all the ratchet drama from the people who sat one table over from you at lunch in middle school or the girl who got engaged last year on a Disney cruise who was in your GenEd freshman year of college or the guy you met once, but lives in Singapore now and you really want to ask him how to have his life. What would I do if I axed those poor, helpless, entertaining souls from my life?!
However, I was recently confronted in the course of 24 hours with three examples of why I should start pruning my Facebook friendships. They all revolved around a wedding. I was a groomsman – err, bridesman to be more accurate – and we had lined up for the rehearsal. The venue was a museum. During the rehearsal, people not involved with the wedding still toured exhibits.
While the groomsmen and I waited to line up at the altar, I spotted a guy coming out of an exhibit down the hall. This guy went to my high school. We didn’t speak in high school, but I knew it was him because a.) we are Facebook friends, b.) he was close friends with some of my best friends from seven years ago (HAS IT BEEN SEVEN YEARS SINCE HIGH SCHOOL?!?!), and c.) he was balding in high school, and he was balding now.
It became apparent he was going to walk past us. I was fully prepared to say hi. Even though we didn’t speak in high school, social norms are different in your twenties. We’re mature. We don’t care what people think. We’re Facebook friends. We know each other. Duh, we’re going to say hi.
Balding Dude side-eyed me and kept walking.
What the f*ck was that? We’re Facebook friends!
The next incident happened moments later. I slipped away to the restroom (obviously to compose myself after being shunned by a former classmate who refused to recognize me – am I that forgettable?), so the bride had her cousin step into my place in the line of groomsmen. (Wedding rehearsals are serious. Too serious.)
Bride: “There, you’re back! Rob took your space.”
Now Rob is her cousin, and I have heard about him for years. He’s a year younger than us, but he went to our same undergrad. I knew he played soccer, he lived in Europe now (or something like that), and anyway, I thought we knew who each other were.
So, I reclaim my place in line and say, “Hey, what’s up?” in a way that obviously reflects I think we know each other.
Rob stares at me (what’s new?) – in a way that is far too similar to Balding High School Stranger Who Just Shunned Me.
Rob does not say anything. He simply moves aside.
I am confused. Then, while the bride and groom practice giving vows (which makes no sense), it hits me: Rob and I aren’t Facebook friends. But…surely…no…does he not know who I am? But…
I am left stumped. Maybe I should add him on Facebook.
Cut to the wedding reception. Vows have been had. We have a new married couple in the world. I have had six orange crushes with Burnett’s vodka. My date and I are in line for the photo booth (maybe this post should be called “Don’t get in line!!!”) when an older woman appears behind us. She looks familiar. Like Dolores Umbridge. I’m just kidding.
But she looks so familiar…
Then it hits me.
I whisper to my date, “That’s City Councilwoman Ethel Bridge.”
Months ago, this city councilwoman – yes, like, of a city – had added me on Facebook. My other friend’s dad is on the School Board, so we had a couple of mutual friends, but I have never met Ethel Bridge nor am I in her district. But a city councilwoman added me? It’s practically the same as Nancy Pelosi adding me. I voted yes on accepting the friendship!
Nothing ever came of it. Until now. When she stood behind me.
We made eye contact. She certainly looked older in person than her pictures in the newspaper. I was going to say something, but she looked…similar to Rob and Balding High School Classmate. As in, who is he?
“I’m your constituent,” I considered offering my hand.
Instead, I turned from Ethel and proceeded into the photo booth without a word. I decided to take a page from Rob and Balding Classmate’s book.
If you liked this, then you may like: