We all know about the Sunday scaries. You know, the dread you get on Sunday (after brunch) that tomorrow is (oh-gawd-make-it-stop-won't-it-go-away-why-can't-it-go-away) Monday. But what about the Facebook Messenger scaries? You know, the anxiety when a non-friend or acquaintance messages you. What could they possibly want? you immediately think.
I’ve been afflicted by the Facebook Messenger scaries several times. Some forgotten soul from my earlier life messages me out of the blue, no forewarning, and I find myself backed into a corner. I now have a notification I have to address – I’m too type A to ignore it – but then, once I open it, they see I’ve read their message (curse you, Zuckerberg) and now I have to respond lest, weeks or months or years later, I run into them, alone, in an elevator that we ride up for ten floors that might possibly get stuck on the ninth, and they look at me, and we all know they want to know why I never answered their Facebook message back in the day.
I see the blinking message and stare at it. “What do you want from me?” I think in a way that can only be compared to a victim on day three of being locked in a killer’s basement and only passed lotion to put on their skin. “WHAT DO YOU WANT?”
Because usually the Facebook messenger’s intentions are not clear.
For example, “Joe” messaged me last month: “Hey man, long time… how is everything post college?”
Joe and I went to the same college – but we never hung out in college. In fact, I don’t even think we overlapped. He’s four years older than me. The last time I meaningfully hung out with Joe was when he dated my friend, whose virginity he took, FRESHMAN YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL. In case you don’t know, I’m 25 now.
What the heck, Joe? What has prompted you to message me a decade later? And on a bright and sunny Thursday afternoon? Are you literally messaging me to say hello and ask how I’m doing? Have you not just clicked onto my Facebook profile? That’s why it’s there. It’s my own personal Wikipedia. I update my status and post photos so has-been-acquaintances like yourself can stay current on my activities.
How have I been? Well, obviously I’ve been trendy. If you clicked on my profile, you’d see I was at a rooftop bar last month, and I was in Amsterdam the month before that. Also, if you click on my “About” tab, you’ll see I’m in grad school and live in Richmond, VA. What can I possibly tell you in this Facebook Messenger exchange that you can’t glean from some good ol’ social media stalking? Joe, I’m waiting for an answer.
I play along, though: “Hey, how are you? I’m great. I’m still in school though haha – in a PhD program (also, found on my ‘About’ tab) and have been living in RVA the last three years. What about you?”
I’ll be honest: I didn’t click on Joe’s “About” tab, and I hadn’t stalked him since maybe tenth grade. Whatever he was about to tell me would be new information.
Joe: “Living in England the last 2 years haha”
I waited. And? I thought. Where is this going? Joe, why did you really message me?
But nothing came. That is literally where the conversation ended. Are you as confused as I am?
Another example was my friend yesterday: we don’t talk often, but at least she’s not a stranger like Joe.
“Hey Cazey, you’ve got 10000 friends, please please share this post about my friend’s cat, shes really sick and she cant get surgery without flying to Cali so they set up a gofundme. It would mean the world to me if you’d share and get more views so somebody can donate if they are able. Thank you!”
You want me to share a cat’s GoFundMe? A cat that lives in Texas? Because my friend doesn’t live in Richmond or Virginia or even the East Coast.
Again, friend, have you not clicked on my Facebook profile? Do I look like someone who shares GoFundMe links? In fact, I am the person who once sub-tweeted a girl who started a GoFundMe for her law school tuition.
Maybe – maybe – if this was your cat, then I might consider sharing. But your friend’s cat? I’m sorry, I don’t want to be called heartless here, but what? Am I a billboard? A sponsored Spotify ad?
I briefly considered sharing the link, but restricting it so only my friend could see the post, but, again, what?
Maybe I am heartless.
And then, this morning a high school peer messaged me:
That’s all I could see. One word. But what was coming next? She did not message me just to say hi – did she? Is she Joe??
Oh God, what’s coming? What monsters lurks in the next message? WHAT DO YOU WANT? What’s coming next?
Well, folks, I need you to feel my dread, and I wrote this blog post before reading her next message, and I still don’t know what she wants, and I need you to be afraid for me. *backs into dark corner and applies lotion to skin*
Millennials should know better. Stop sending unsolicited Facebook messages. Post on my wall or something, or email me, or ask to connect on LinkedIn. Just stop Facebook messaging me if we don’t talk in real life!