Isn’t it funny when you reflect upon friends of your past and there are times when you cringe? Or maybe someone you dated or had a random hook-up? Sometimes it’s funny, other times it’s tragic, but it is definitely part of getting older. I’m in my early thirties, and for the last few years, I have really noticed a disconnect from the person I was and the person I am today. Thanks to evil/genius of Facebook, it seems we never have to completely lose touch with everyone we have ever known. The best friend in 1st grade? The girl scout troop leader’s daughter? College roommate and college roommate’s boyfriend who she isn’t even friends with anymore? The dude you met once at a frat party junior year of college and would never remember his name if it wasn’t for his occasional post on the being vegan or saving the bees? They’re all there.
In the good old days (Again, I’m only in my 30s so this is mostly the 90s I’m talking about) people would be friends, lose interest and never speak again. And you know what? That was fine. It was more than fine, it was natural. Now with social media, we don’t get to just remember people fondly, we have to be reminded of their existence daily. Why do I do it? I know I will just be disappointed by someone. We all do it. It’s sick. It’s like popping people’s zits or reading the intricate details of serial killers on Wikipedia for hours. It’s a waste of time, it’s not healthy, and it’s depressing (which would also be unhealthy since it’s self-infliction).
When I talk to people from the past, which is rarely on the phone or in real life proving how minor our true connection is, I try to remember why I spent time with this person. Were they always like this? Was their political leaning always this extreme? Did they always hate puppies and engage in hipster culture? Mostly, they didn’t. People change, and hey! that’s fine. I have changed substantially in the last decade. One of the more troubling services Facebook offers is a reminder of what you posted on a certain day each year. This is a horrifying glimpse at the kind of person I have been. There are times I laugh at how silly I was being over something minor. There are times when I feel nostalgic, but mostly I just want to scream “Megan! Why are you the worst?!” No wonder, I know these people, I was a terrible in many ways too.
In reality, I don’t really believe I was all that bad. Typically, I am reminded of how I felt in those moments. When I am having a tough time and am convinced my life was so much easier and I was so much more sure of myself when I was in my twenties, I am reminded by Facebook that I was much more lost than I am now. It’s a pleasant feeling.
As for my “Friends”, have I changed or have they? The problem with Facebook is that everyone gives snapshots of who they are, what they’re going through, and what they believe, in such a superficial way that it’s hard to connect with these people on a deeper level. Since I rarely reach out to these friends, some of who I was extremely close to at one time in my life, I never really find out how much they have truly changed. Even sending a quick message seems like too much of an effort. I’m awkward and don’t know if I really want to carry on a long back and forth, so what’s the point? These people are not really my friends anymore. The likelihood of spending face-to-face time with most of them would almost be the same as spending time with Reese Witherspoon, Kevin Smith and Stan Lee (All of who I follow on Facebook). Is that who these people, who I used to go to dinner with, go to parties with, and believe would be my friends forever, have become? Now more integral to my life than celebrities I find endearing?
Along with the friends who I just don’t feel the desire to contact, there are also the few that I downright despise. Even though I have had the reasonable mind to unfriend quite a few people over the years, there are at least a half-dozen that I choose not to “Follow” but are still on my friend’s list. I haven’t committed to dropping them completely because even though I can’t stand anything they post and if I saw them, I may feel the need to punch them in the face, there is something stopping me from hitting that unfriend button. These are usually the people I try to remember all of the positive things about their genuine persona rather than their Facebook persona. There are also a few who I know will contact me if I unfriend them which would lead me to explain just how awful I find them. It’s not that I mind confrontation, it’s that I hate wasting time on something I care so little about.
I can’t even find it in myself to post something. I’ll glance at the feed every day or even check out someone’s profile, but post something about my own life? Nope. I am not much of a sharer because I’m not sure that anyone is all that intrigued with my life. Other than my mother who I speak to on the phone every single night. She doesn’t need my updates, I have her updated more than necessary.
One thing that I have seen people admit about Facebook and other social media is that people too often post pictures of their children. While I suggest and practice keeping your profile on private to keep the cuties unseen by the general public, I disagree with the complainers. I adore seeing people’s children. Whether the person is a close friend, family member or just an acquaintance I haven’t seen in a decade, I want to see those chubby cheeks and those days at the zoo. It’s sweet, harmless, and just a relief from being reminded of the terrible politics of today. Be who you are, and I’ll continue to be who I am, but I probably won’t post anything on Facebook about it.