A long time ago we used to be friends,
but I haven’t thought of you lately at all…
-The Dandy Warhols
I’m back on the friend thing.
If social networking had a cheesy 50’s film strip, the narrator would say, “Never again will you have to wonder what happened to that guy from math class. Never again will you lose track of that one really cool girl.” It’s an excellent theory – as we diffuse across countries and hop oceans, friendships can be preserved, connections strengthened despite distance. You can reconnect with people you thought you’d lost.
But on the other hand…do you still like each other? You remember drifting out of friendships during high school as your interests and personality changed. How much more have you changed since then? If you still click, that’s amazing. But maybe that one really cool girl from high school doesn’t like me anymore. Maybe your drinking buddy from college has changed religions and given up on pop culture. It’s hard to rule out until you’ve had a good look at each other’s Facebook profiles, or until you realize you’ve been ‘networked’ for six months and realizing you haven’t a word to say. And then there are the people you meet, the new friends, who you don’t end up seeing again. You move, they transfer schools or break up with your friend, and there they sit on your “Friend” list, someone you met twice and liked. Forever.
When I am thirty, how many Facebook, goodreads, or Jyte “friends” will I have, and how many of them will really want me on their list? But on the other hand, who wants to “defriend” someone on Facebook, thus transforming the world’s most passive communication device into something a bit passive-aggressive?
I propose a tapering mechanism. If someone doesn’t look at my profile, click ‘more’ on my book reviews, or otherwise exchange digital high-fives with me for six months, let me fade off their list. Maybe the system can warn them first, ask them quietly if they really want me to go. Not with a plonk but a whisper, I will fall off their friends list, off their updates and off their radar. And if they ever wonder, “What is up with that weird Felicity girl, anyway?” they can search for me anytime. They can read my blog, shrug, and move on. We aren’t friends anymore, and that’s okay.