Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Do You Friend?

I joined Facebook.

I never wanted to join because it seemed so complicated; you have to make a profile and find friends and upload photos and write pithy statements. What originally sealed the deal for me against joining was a discussion one night during Candide. One of the actresses commented about Facebook, "I mean using 'friend' as a verb, it sounds so, well it sounds like you're getting it up the ass."

She has a way with words.

Yet, I went ahead and joined anyway, deluding myself that it would be a way to advertise my blog. Another Candide actor said he had found a couple of jobs through it and my husband extolled the virtues of it. So, I filled out a profile for myself and then clicked on my husband's box to be his friend. Almost immediately, I received an e-mail stating, "Brian says that you two are married. Click here to confirm."

Really Brian, after 11 years? I spent over $200 of your money to fix my wedding bands this summer and yet I have to confirm electronically that we're married?

I said yes (so as not to further complicate matters) and now there is this little heart on my Facebook page and a note stating that 'Kate is listed as married to Brian.'

Listed as married: It's like those car advertisements that say, "listed at $20,000" when we all know that it's possible to bargain and get the price down.

Then came the 'friending' part. Facebook listed a bunch of people culled from my personal e-mail contacts that I could 'friend'. I have to admit there were many names that I did not recognize. Of the ones I did, I could click on a box and an e-mail would be sent to them asking if they wanted to be my friend. Alright, but if I'm already e-mailing them, aren't they already my friends?

A major dilemma set in when I saw the list of names. There were many people with whom I have a professional relationship and would even grab a beer with after a show, but to whom I wouldn't necessarily send a Christmas card. Do I 'friend' them?

And, what if they say no? It could be a real blow to the old self-esteem. Sure, I'll have a beer with you but I won't go so far as to have an electronic relationship with you.

Then there are the people who find out that I'm on Facebook and want to 'friend' me? What I don't want to 'friend' them? Is there etiquette involved here? Do I have to 'friend' someone because they asked? I'm usually a bit pickier in real life about my social contacts. Of course, in real life I can always make up excuses until the person gets the hint: "I'd love to but with my husband's colonoscopy and the lawsuit pending, we're really swamped."

It doesn't stop once you find your friends. You can 'friend' friends of friends until you're like one big happy Quaker family. People you don't even know proclaiming their friendship with you to the entire web world. The problems crop up when someone no longer wants to be your friend. Then, that person can 'de-friend' you. That should be enough to send your self-esteem into a tailspin: electronically dumped by "friends" you've never met.

Perhaps that actress was right after all.


  1. That's it. I'm de-friending you!

  2. The good news is that Facebook will NOT notify people when you "ignore" their friend request. So, if you don't add them to your list, the only way they will know that you denied them is by the cold, cold silence... =)

    I heart Facebook.