This is why Facebook is bad, and it is making the concept of friendship archaic and untrue: because girls, in their bitchy warfare ways, like to pretend they don’t hate you by friending you.
I don’t really care if people don’t want to be my friends. If you have a reason for disliking me, go for it. I’m sure there are plenty of reasons to dislike me, just like there are plenty of reasons to like me. So if you can back it up, go ahead and dislike me. But if I say that you dislike me, don’t try to friend me on Facebook in an effort to appear as if you don’t. I really don’t care all that much. It’s just a statement: “She doesn’t like me.”
Example. I have this guy friend who is friends with a lot of girls. Those girls pretty much dislike both me and another of his girl friends, but especially me. So one of those girls I knew for a fact disliked me, because a) you can pretty much tell when you walk in a room and someone there doesn’t like you, and I’d also heard from friends that she would talk shit about me. She’s really not that great, and I have some friends that I like, so if the whole world doesn’t love me, my life will go on. For now. So I mentioned, kind of jokingly, to this guy friend, “Michelle [not her real name] really doesn’t like me.” I found it funny, mostly because I don’t think she knows me well enough to like or dislike me.
So guy friend, Dan [also not his real name], goes, “No, I’m sure that’s not true.” I told him I didn’t really care, but it was true that she didn’t like me.
Two days later, I have a friend request from Michelle waiting on Facebook.
That is such an easy, easy “friendly” thing to do, but who really cares? I can’t stand the amount of Facebook friends I have. I’m all about networking and staying in touch with old friends, but if we had a class together two semesters ago and I once copyedited your paper, we are not really friends. If we’ve never had a conversation, we’re not really friends. And 400 people are a few too many to forge really intimate relationships with. I don’t want all those friends. I want my Facebook friends to represent the relationships and real connections I have with people. I’m definitely guilty of friending people and then not writing on their walls, but I hate it when I do that. And at least generally, when I do that, they are people I do have a relationship with in real life. Coworkers, usually. I’m disinterested in people who graduated from high school a year after me who I never spoke with ever. Do we really need to claim that we are friends? What does that accomplish?
I’m trying to make my circle of friends smaller and then open it up again by becoming good, good friends with the people I do know. I don’t want five hundred friends-ish. Just give me people I enjoy, and don’t pretend you like me when you don’t. I spent years obsessed with what people thought about me. Now I don’t care.
So after that, I just accepted her friend request, thinking, whatever. Then she’d go out of her way when she saw me to smile really big and tell me she liked my dress or ask how I was. That still is not real friendship. When you want to be friends with someone, you try to hang out with them, or you are otherwise active about it. I’m a big believer in people’s natural instincts. We naturally gravitate towards our friends, and we act differently around them. If you’re not making the effort to see someone or to maintain some kind of relationship with them (because I also get annoyed by people thinking that friendship is the same as hanging out 24/7), you don’t actually want to be friends with them. It’s not a big deal, but don’t pretend that you do when you don’t. You’ll be friends with who you should be friends with, and just be nice to other people, but you can let them fall by the wayside.
Honesty and human nature are what’s important. You know when someone you know, however well, says something like, “I’m so fat,” or “I look ugly.” I say those things all the time, just because I say anything I think to be true at the moment. Sometimes I look ugly. Like when I wake up and my hair and eyebrows are messed up. Whatever. If I say something like that, it’s not because I believe it categorically, all the time, but because it’s true at the moment. And then you know when you reflexively say things like, “No, you’re not,” or “I think that dress looks really pretty on you” to people who say things like that? We all do it. I do it. I tend to do it without thinking, because most of the time, I’m not paying all that much attention.
That’s not to say I don’t mean it. I say things I mean, and I don’t reflexively answer all the time. I almost feel bad, because often when someone compliments me, I forget to compliment them back. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do? “I like your dress.”/”Thanks. I like your shoes?” I usually don’t. I say things that I mean, so if I don’t have something to say that I believe, I won’t say it. Sometimes things come out wrong, but generally I stand by the things I say and do. That gets me into trouble sometimes, but hey, I’m a troublesome person.
So why do we automatically answer back to reassure someone if we don’t really mean it? If you’ve ever said, “I look so fat in this shirt,” you know that it doesn’t mean anything to have someone say “No you don’t.” That’s not what you want to hear. You just want to wallow for a moment, or it’s just true and you don’t really care, but it’s a statement and you’re going to make it.
It’s like we mean the sentiment, because people like to be nice and like for other people to be happy, but we don’t actually mean the statement literally as it pertains to our feelings. I certainly don’t want people to feel bad about themselves, and I will tell people when I think they look really hot or they’re really funny or smart or whatever. Sometimes I’m deadpan or sarcastic so it sounds like I’m insulting them, which I should work on. But if I say that I think you look really skinny and pretty, then it’s because you look really skinny and pretty. I won’t bother to say it otherwise.
People are always talking about reacting and saying things we don’t mean, but it tends to refer to bad things and arguments. I think it happens more when we say “nice” things.