Friday, 5 December 2008

Who Wouldn't Want to Be My Friend?

The horrible downside of Facebook has already happened. What if your offer of friendship is turned down? It seems to have happened to me, once by my daughter and once by a former friend and colleague. Facebook has brought back a very complicated part of my life when my personal and professional lives were one. My divorce wrecked that delicate balance as work friends and colleagues struggled to decide whose side they were on or if they should choose sides. I conveniently solved that dilemma by moving to another country. One by one they all dropped me. I learned some lessons about situational friendships.

And that is what happens in life sometimes. You move on. Then you join Facebook and all the past comes swimming back into focus. And all my paranoid fantasies come to life again. Has this person not responded because he/she doesn't want to rock the boat with my ex-husband? I haven't been in touch with some of these people for a good 15-17 years. I'm curious about them. Aren't they curious about me? But when I see the (scary) cartoon character that represents my ex-husband on their list of friends, I wonder. My relationship with them pretty much ended when I moved, but they continued to work with him for I don't know how long. Did they go to his wedding (for he apparently has remarried and has a child)? How close did they remain to him? And, of course, in the background, the worrying thought: what did he tell them about me? We did not end on good terms; he accused me of spreading a rumor about him that, frankly, I don't remember doing. He wrote me a nasty letter, and that was our last communication. Time has stood still in what I think of him, which is a rat-bastard.

Maybe this isn't an ex-husband problem, but a Facebook phenomenon. You rush to find out about someone you haven't seen in 20 years, then you rest because now you know.

Sometimes people are in our past because that's where they belong. Sometimes people are in our past because we were too busy or lazy to maintain the relationship. Facebook allows us to renew those relationships if we so desire, but there can be a downside to letting people back into your life, particularly if they're the wrong people.


Kaycie said...

My motto: there's probably a reason I haven't seen, heard from or talked to a person I used to know.

And I think Facebook is an invention of the devil incarnate.

Trixie said...

Maybe the person in question, set up facebook but has now stopped using it? I know a lot of people like that.

-Ann said...

Well-said. I side with Kaycie on this one - I'm pretty much in touch with everyone I want to be in touch with. I don't make friends easily, but once I do, they are stuck with me for life. :)

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

kaycie: You may be right.

Trixie: You're a very kind person. It could be that some people have more to do than go on Facebook.

-ann: Well, I'm glad I'm your friend.

Mei Del said...

well i'm looking forward to meet you!

Mei Del said...

oh dear i didn't mean for that to sound as stalkerish as it did

laurie said...

dont' let facebook get under your skin. it's a tool. use it. dont let it use you.

Expat mum said...

Consider yourself lucky that your daughter has unfriended you. Mine did the same and, quite frankly, I am glad that I don't see all the slightly inanae comments they write to each other.
There's a woman in Chicago with the same name as me (unbelievably) who is about 10 years younger. I get so many friend requests for her that I'm thinking of swapping lives!!!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Mei Dei: It was a pleasure meeting you.

laurie: I was just having a paranoid day or two. I'm better now.

Expatmum: How coincidental! You could stalk her and see what her life is really like.

Fred said...

I use Facebook to keep up with my FSU freshman.

To answer your question over at my place, we lived in Gerrards Cross in South Bucks. I worked at Capital One's London headquarters in Hanover Square. I commuted for a year in 1998 until the entire family moved there in 1999 and we came back in 2001. I wrote a little about it here.

We're going to go back someday to spend a summer when the kids are gone - I can hardly wait!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

fred: I just read your post about living in the UK. We have a lot of American ex-pats in my neck of the woods too. In my early days living over here I would befriend some. Then they'd go back home and I was still here. I realized I had to "go native" if I was ever going to be happy and fit in. Now I feel like a native, but I'm actually not quite British and not quite American anymore. I don't fit in anywhere! Oh well, there are worse things in life.

Fred said...

We had the same experience. Thinking we would be living in the U.K. for at least five years, we tried to make some friends where we lived. We attended the local church (an amazing experience), hung out at the local pub, and got involved with the GX government.

But, I think most of the residents viewed us as short-term residents and really didn't engage all that much. As it turns out, they were right because I was transferred back to the U.S. after living there for two years.

Nonetheless, I will view my time there as two of the best years of my life.