That word has taken a whole new meaning in Facebook.
According to the first definition in a Webster’s dictionary, a friend means someone whom one knows and likes.
In the Facebook world, a Friend (with captial F) can encompass a whole range of acquaintances from real friends to former friends to husband’s friends; classmates from high school, college to even elementary schools; co-workers to former co-workers; and to relatives or in my case relative-in-laws.
The category in which I seem to have the most Friends is “high school classmates”. All in all, at my last count, I have 92 Friends. It is not a huge number. Certainly, there are people who have greater numbers, hundreds if not thousands.
Even at my peak, I will never have thousands of Friends, but I can see how easily the numbers can add up. Especially when you start adding the more tenuous relationships like Friends of Friends, siblings of Friends, wives and husbands of Friends… you get the picture.
But now that the initial euphoria has died down and I have had time to look at my list of Friends, I have to wonder if I shouldn’t be more selective. After all, these people have access to my personal information, including pictures of my family and more importantly the status of my being at any given moment. Do I really want the sister of my husband’s friend to know that I just sneezed? Or that I am hungry now? Or any other of the inanities I may feel like sharing? Really, I should reserve those for true friends.
Seriously, if I am to go strictly by the dictionary definition, I actually “know” and “like” her. But what about the rest? Does it count that I knew and liked them over 15 years ago? Can I say that I know and like them now? Regardless of the status of the knowing and liking, again, do I really want them to have access to all the personal information I have on Facebook?
I just don’t know.
In thinking about friends and Friends, I have realized that I still care about friends from the past, even if it has been 15 years since I spoke with them. I am glad to have found them on Facebook. I am glad to see that they are doing well, as far as can been determined off their FB information. I have eagerly looked at their pictures to see how they have changed and to see their likeness reflected in their children. I have rejoiced in knowing that some have fulfilled their childhood dreams of becoming teachers, doctors, lawyers and in once case a pilot.
BUT, I have also realized that you can’t go back in time and a shared history does not a friend make.
So for the time being, I have left those that are already Friends alone, but I am taking my time about adding any new ones.