Since 2005, I have committed a few faux pas on Facebook. I don’t think my sins will ever approach the gracelessness of a middle-aged mother on Facebook (that’s a jab at my own), but I am not some beacon of social media poise. I have accidentally poked, unintentionally shared, and once even tagged myself in a stranger’s profile picture. That last blunder may be most embarrassing moment – until last week.
I have known “Phil” for several years. We share the same friendship circle, see each other monthly, and have the rapport of managing elevator talk if we even communicate at all. However, by proximity, history, and mutual friends, I daresay we are more than acquaintances.
A couple of months ago, Facebook suggested I befriend Phil. This shouldn’t be a huge stretch; in fact, it’s almost curious we weren’t already connected. In early college, the millennial trend was to add every last person you met the night before at the house party and then wonder, five years later, who the heck is “Joe” who lives in Michigan and you only have five mutual friends who you similarly do not recall. Oh, that’s right. Spring break 2011. We met at a club in Myrtle Beach, of course we did.
On that front, Facebook friendship means so little anyway. For example, last month I attended a friend’s engagement celebration only to discover the next morning I was Facebook friends with neither fiancé(e). What would Miss Manners say!
So, after eyeing the suggested friend request for eight weeks, I decided to add Phil. I did this under the weirdest circumstances – on the Orlando airport tarmac using JetBlue’s Fly-Fy network. I think I had just enough Coke Zero in me to drive my finger to the “Add Friend” button.
And, surely, Phil and I are friends by the loosest definition of the word? We share the same airspace multiple times a year. I think we’ve even eaten at the same table. Maybe twice since 2016.
Shortly after, I forgot about my extension of friendship and went on with my life—until the following morning when I opened my Facebook app and saw Facebook once again suggesting I befriend Phil.
What? Huh? But hadn’t I…?
Had Phil rejected my friendship request?
Had he? Do people do that in 2018? Why not just let it sit there? Don’t respond to it! Or accept me and block me from seeing your profile just like my ex does on Instagram! That’s much more civil! But to outright reject me… Phil, we’ve shared air!
What do I do?
Well, obviously, I wasn’t going to add him again. Was I?
Unfortunately, for myself and readers, you know this story can’t be that simple. Later that same day, while scrolling through Facebook, Phil returned to the top of my suggested friends. And beneath it were the tiny words: “Request failed.”
Hmm! What did that mean? Had my request not gone through? What a relief! Phil hadn’t rejected me after all!
I decided to not request Phil’s digital friendship at that moment. My PTSD needed to wear off.
Fast forward a few days. I was back in Virginia. I was on decent WiFi. I was in extrovert mode. I browsed my suggested friends. I added a few here, a few there, and then, why not Phil? Click. Request sent. (To be clear, I’m exaggerating: I do not sit down and add potential friends in bulk. Only when drunk.)
Déjà vu struck fast. Hours later, Phil returned to the top of my suggested friends. This time there was no “Request failed.” Would there ever be? Had I been…rejected twice? Is that possible? What. The. Eff!
“OMG,” I texted my friend.
Well, I was definitely not trying again. In middle school, I asked out my crush three times in a fortnight. Thankfully, I have matured past such foibles. I may be a Taurus, but I’m not that stubborn. I clicked “Remove” from my suggested friends. Be gone, Phil!
It’s a friendship never meant to be recognized by the Russians.