16 July 2009

There are Facebook friends, and then there are real friends...

"I wish Phil Ivey was on Facebook so I could be his friend"- Actually said at a poker table June 30, 2009 at the Golden Nugget Poker room.

I have a Facebook account. There's a fair amount of shame affiliated with my initial decision to jump into the fray, and the shame magnifies itself each day i don't just un-register myself from that God-forsaken site. One of the funny things I find about the website is that it allows you to create a list of "friends". I looked at my "friend list" and realized that I had over 300 friends. I find an enormous amount of humor in this, purley by the numbers alone, so i decided to look at my "friend list" and see who these people were...most of them are people I wouldn't consider not friends, which to me has a very specific definition, they aren't really even acquaintances, they're just people who were recognized as pieces of my past and thus, listed as "friends" i feel a little badly, since the first day I signed up for FB, there were like four or five people that wanted to friend me, and i turned them down because, well, i didn't know them very well, and didn't really think of them as friends. As part of my list of "facebook friends" are:

1. A girl I purposely left at a frat party in college, as leaving her there meant I didn't have to deal with her (friend requested me and I accepted without even knowing who it was)
2. A kid I got in a fight with in 7th grade because I asked if his sister was "actually" retarded or just "functionally" retarded
3. over 100 people i've never had a full conversation with
4. friends of friends of friends who post funny stuff
5. 43 people I can honestly say I never really liked in any other capacity than the one FB allows me to have...

And I think that's OK, and for people like me, FB seems to serve my needs very well. There are people I can honestly say I could get a fuck less about that I have listed as FB friends, and in the series of months I've been on the site, I've found out all the necessary information about them I needed- I know that one of my peeps from high school, you know, one of those friends you say you'll never lose touch with that I haven't seen and/or heard from since Graduation, is married and has a kid, which is descriptive of most of the people I went to High School with. But these people, most of them anyway, are best held at the lenght FB allows you to keep people at- the occasional comment on some random post that ends up on your home page (for some reason, someone at FB assumed you'd want to see everyone's comments on your home page, and I can't imagine why I'd care about most of the totally assanine things I see on the home page. I will give you a small snapshot of the stupid things posted...i'll take off the names, but if it's one of yours, well, that's too bad, stop posting stupid shit, I clearly post about 50% of the things I post for only my benefit, and if it bothers you, just HIDE me, as I have hidden over 125 people because reading their shit just KILLS ME- it's how I resolve the not just un-friending that annoying girl that talked too much in HS and posts too much on FB now, just reliving a former experience in a different format. But anyway...here is but a snapshot of stupid shit...

1. Why do I have Barry White on my iPod? Oh, that's right...I own a Barry White album. Huh?
2. ...is about to watch "so you think you can dance."
3. What Calvin alter ego are you?
4. What badass animal are you?

This was actually a random snapshot of the stupid stuff, I initially was going to do a hour-by-hour walk through the wall of shame, but I actually may use this as the base for many, many things I write about. These are things from people that I haven't just taken off my basic feed. here's a snapshot of some of the things I just hide so I don't have to read this...this will be a surprise to me as well...once again, i will remove names to protect the not-so-innocent...

1. i don't know where that Debbie Allen has been on SYTYCD (So You Think You Can Dance), but I could watch her every night!
2. winding down with a laptop and TV. Plan to post my thoughts on Tweetdeck soon to Audioboo.fm
3. I love Utah fry sauce.
4. Why do I tweet and heart PDX?

These people are clearly not people I talk to very much, now or at any other point in my life. They are, for the most part, people that either annoyed me or I thought were stupid and/or useless, and for some reason, I have them as "facebook friends." I have a couple of FB friends that I only friended because I wanted to find out how possible common friends are doing...but now that we've talked a little about FB friends...I talk to my classes about friendship, and i usually start the conversation by asking how many friends the kids in class have, and we generally start off with a number like 20, and usually go up from there.

The last class I did this in, there were over 15 kids that claimed to have over 300 friends. I had to ask, because I didn't even think I knew 300 peoples names, less had 300 friends, and they all used FB as their measuring stick. They then asked me how many friends I had, and my answer was between six and nine, all depending on how stringent a definition you were using. My definition of a friend is someone, when standing at the crossroads of need, will choose to do what they can to help the person in need at the time (usually me, sometimes determined on how they treat people I happen to care about). This seems like a relatively simple standard, yet I have a limited amount of friends. I think it has something to do with this statement: "

it's really easy to be a friend if you never have to give up anything. The moment it becomes a me vs. you trade-off, it's really easy for you to rationalize and justify acting in your own self interest. it's that moment when you find out who your friends are not, and consequently, who your friends are, as well." It's one of those things my mother told me when i was like nine or ten years old, and had no idea what she meant, because i was friends with my whole school, which in retrospect was a ludicrous claim. Now that I'm "grown" it all seems to make more sense to me.

There are two refelctive quick statements about friendship, one comes from my boy, Steve (you all should jump over to his blog, 2oldformaxim.wordpress.com), who believes he's met his friends. "I'm not trying to meet new friends. If my boy or my girl has a friend, I'll be open to them, and that's probably the only way I'm picking up new friends." This is pretty much how I roll these days, although not really open to those groups, either.

The other is a condenced story of a friend of mine, who had an out of town guest that, in a nutshell, didn't really appreciate the efforts being made to keep them entertained and happy, and it's something that had happend on more than one occasion. It reminded me of a joke my dad told me...

"What do you call a friend that takes and never gives and is acts entitled rather than appreciataive?"
"Not a friend, an asshole."

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