500 Words Per Day

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On Facebook (When the Crush Says "Hi")

I sometimes wonder if Facebook is actually meant to facilitate my online social networking, or if in fact it is a link to my unwanted past. Since I joined over the summer, I've padded my friends list with my share of acquaintances from elementary and high school. A quick exchange of emails or an enthused Wall post, and we were on our separate ways again, never to speak again.

Women from my recent dating past have also resurfaced, Facebook-style. "Dating" may be putting too much of a strong point on it. I went on a one or two non-committal dates with some young ladies and never saw them again, until Facebook. I tried reaching out to one particular girl who I abruptly stopped calling a couple summers ago. I don't think I sustained more than 3 messages in our conversation.

As with my former school colleagues, I sometimes wonder why I even bother keeping the people I've dated on my friends list. Is it all just ego, to add to the ever-increasing tally of random faces on my list of contacts? Strip away all the fat, and you'd be left with the sober truth of me really having 5 close friends, 5 "hang out" buddies and at the most 10 - 15 regular acquaintances. Right now, my list of so-called friends has ballooned into the territory of the mid-to-high 80s. Total bullshit.

But I do draw the line sometimes. There are times when I take a stand and say "no". I'll say no to the incessant invites to add yet another new widget to my already bloated profile page. I"ll say no to the mindless mouse-clicking games, trivia games, personality assessments and any number of time-wasting plug-ins added onto an already crowning achievement in online time-wastery. I'll also say "no" to friend invites from girls how have jilted me in the past.

I suppose this isn't any different from my adding a girl to my Facebook after failing to call her for 18 months. Still, when a girl I went out with twice back in 2000 sends me a friend request, I take notice. She had me stumped, oh for a good 15 seconds until I actually found some photos on her page. I suppose it's no surprise she was able to find me, seeing how we actually did share a couple friends in our tangled web of Facebook. I'm just more surprised that she actually remembered me and bothered to send a request.

Wait, there's no bother at all. Requesting someone to be added to your collection of friends is simplicity itself. It's effortless. That's why people do it. I really don't suppose this girl really cares too much about what's going on with my life. I see ourselves exchanging the usual pleasantries before going our separate ways again. I could always break things up by asking her to return those party photos I'd lent to her after our last date. We could talk about the good old times, like that one week I spent obsessing over her and calling her every couple of nights to ask her out again, but never getting a response.

But no, I don't think that's sanctioned behaviour on Facebook. I'm just another Facebook face to her. I'm just there to be filed into her stack of friends, and likewise I can use her to pad out my own list of 80-something-going-on-90. It's an even exchange. Your empty social credit for mine.