Thursday, July 22, 2010

Get out of my Face (book)

The Facebook Man. Facebook is celebrating its ...Image via Wikipedia

I have never understood why so many people are ‘addicted’ to Facebook. I read in the newspaper that people spend ‘hours’ on it, check it first thing in the morning (before brushing their teeth), update their status even while standing somewhere in a downpour, play endless games, answer mundane quizzes, and so on. Then there is the set of people who despise the very existence of Facebook, claiming it is a vapid, meaningless medium meant only for adolescents or for immature adults. As for myself, I am somewhere between these two groups. I like the tool for what it is- a quick, visual and personal way to stay in touch with those whom we may have otherwise lost to the vagaries of time and distance. I have plenty of friends whom I haven’t seen for years, yet, by being on each others’ lists, we still feel that we are aware in a very personal way of the other’s life. To me, that is very satisfying, and that’s why Facebook works for me.

However, there are also certain unique situations. Take, for instance, one friend who was also my roommate long ago. We were good friends, and in fact, I joined FB primarily because of her. Yet, as the years go on, I find myself shut out of this person’s life. E-mails, birthday wishes, phone numbers sent- everything goes unanswered. It has taken me so long to understand that we will probably never speak again- for reasons that are still unclear to me. The other day I went to her page, and was immediately struck by the strange and eerie feeling that I was stalking her. I wonder what I should do. Should I remove her from my list? I don’t want to. On the other hand, I also like the idea of removing those names from my page that no longer have any meaning in my life- a sort of de-cluttering, if you will. I still haven’t reached a conclusion on what to do.
Then there is the other friend who mysteriously disappeared from my list. (Like an ass, I asked to add the person again, which request is still in limbo). I was not invited to their wedding. My phone call went unanswered. My birthday, for the first time in the many years of our close friendship, was forgotten. (And yet, I don’t get the message! I must be daft!) I fully understand the changed circumstances of this person’s life and am not being in the least judgmental. Still, there is that thing called integrity- a value that I know this person holds very dear. Sometimes, integrity means saying the things that need to be said, however painful. Silence, in this case, is not golden, and tells me that you do not consider it worth the effort, nor have the courage, to put a dignified end to a relationship that you feel is no longer relevant.

I’m fully aware that in the natural ebb and flow of life and friendships, these are but two twigs that got carried away by the waves. But I also like to think that I know how to value the good relationships in my life - and it saddens me when all I can do is stand on the shore and watch them float far away, out of my sight.
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