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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Just a Casual Acquaintance

I'm feelin' kinda funny inside (no, not the "one who can easily hide," either). I've been Defriended. Horrors! Now this isn't by someone that I don't know, or someone that I've had a disagreement with, or someone that I've never met.....nope, it's by someone that I've known for a number of years who simply decided that I am a "casual acquaintance" and that his Facebook page is for "friends and family." It's the funniest thing because I always considered us friends. We've bantered back and forth on FB for a long time. We know many, many mutual friends. We get along well, I think. We are both sort of smart asses. Now, I totally understand that each person in this big wide technology world has to make decisions about who they will email back and forth with, who they will be friends with on Facebook, and all of that. And I know that our needs and wants change over time. It's happened to me as well, I must confess. And I know full well that each of us has to give permission to one another to make our own personal decisions and that we must live with those decisions. Truly, the Defriending part isn't the entire point of my thoughts.....the irony is that it came on the heels of my post the very day before on What Draws Us Together and also reminds me of my writing early last year on What Do You Call Me? My intent here is much a much wider thought than the simple defriending.

My work schedule plays a pretty big part on what I get to do in life and what I don't. I typically get up at 4am and am in bed by 9pm.....in addition to being out of town much of my life. Those work hours don't play well with typical Monday-Friday sort of schedules and it has kept me from being able to participate in many activities throughout the years.

I am not the type of person that will chat you up every single day of my life. I won't call you on a daily basis nor feel obligated to email you, check in on you, or "make sure you're okay"...unless there's a need to. If you need honest help, I'm the first guy to be there to assist -- I will run to the grocery store for you, walk your dog for you, drive you to the doctor, cook a hot meal for you, and even do your laundry and, yes, clean your bathroom for you. I'm all of that, and more! But I'm not the pat-you-on-the-back sort of guy nor do I frequently exhibit the warm and fuzzy feelings that some require. I am the sort of guy that enjoys a beer or coffee with you, digs getting to look at gardens and trees and flowers and the sky, loves learning about new places and things, is more than happy to sit and stare at the earth and all that she offers. I have ended friendships over the other party "needing" for me to check in with them every day -- over others "requiring" me to spend my free time with them. I am the kind of guy who will not typically over analyze our relationship -- I will consider it good and fine and okay unless there's a good solid reason why it isn't. I won't lay awake nights wondering if you like me or that I do, or don't, like you. I'm the kind of guy who can go without seeing someone for six months, or even a year, and pick right back up where we left over -- without guilt, without wishing that we hadn't waited so long, without feeling badly. I love it for what it is, not what it is not.

So, I have been thinking about the long list of 123 friends that I have on Facebook not to mention the others on Twitter or who read my website or that I know in person or that I work with or that I meet via a mutual friend (can I actually use the word "friend"??...maybe its just an acquaintance.....) or that I say hi to in the coffee shop downstairs or or or or. And then I consider the many times while I've got Mason outside in public when I say to him, "Look, Mason, there's another nice lady....she's our friend"....trying to show him that she is not our enemy and that he is supposed to be nice to her. Maybe I should stop lying to him and tell him that "There's a lady we've never met -- don't trust her because we don't know who she is or what she is going to do to us." I counted them this morning......I have actually met 77 of my Facebook friends on at least one occasion. I certainly don't count all 123 as "friends and family"....most of you are, indeed, "casual acquaintances" that I enjoy and don't mind using the word "friend" at all. Some of you I see much more regularly than others. Others of you I have only met once -- and the reality of that is that may very well be the only time we will ever have the good chance to actually meet in person. I honor that time. I don't count it badly that it won't happen again. Others of you, hehehehe, may wish that you'd NEVER met me....... ahh, it's all good times, isn't it.....

I've discovered this whole Facebook and Twitter and texting world to be quite shallow. There is rarely depth amidst the posting and Twitting. It does not take the place of conversation, or phone calls, or one-on-one dinner or chatting. If we're looking for any sort of depth, it won't often be found online. So, I take it for what it is.....good, acceptable, enjoyable ..... the posts, the quick updates, the "here's what I'm having for dinner." It allows me to keep in some sort of contact with a huge number of adorable people that I would never have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. So whether I call you friend, family, casual acquaintance or something else....it is what it is and I appreciate it for that.

I guess what I'm wondering is now that I'm not this friend's friend on Facebook, what am I? Oh, that's right, it's a casual acquaintance. It's an interesting world we live in, folks. Laden with technology, I've been relinquished to a casual acquaintance in spite of knowing the guy for years. I'm going to have to think about that for a bit, I'm afraid.


Anonymous said...

I love this post. So very well said. I'm honoured to have met you once in person and I love our occasional banter and I enjoy you for who you are.

There, that's mushy enough. (g)

LSL said...

This is tough. I've been thinking about getting rid of some folks from FB, but only those that I haven't seen or talked to since HS or college. Certainly no one that I IM with our chat with regularly.

I agree that things have gotten so shallow! It's such a disappointment when my favorite bloggers go to an all-Twitter format.

I consider you and friend and we've never met!

S said...

Are you still mad because I defriended you? Haha.

That's happened to be before (by exes, for example), but I have to get over it because they're not worth it.

Doug said...

We've met once or twice, and I consider you a friend-friend, definitely more than a casual acquaintance, even though we've only met so few times.

I think the virtual world mimics the real world, just with a wider field of view. Shallow people in real life are just as shallow online.

There are many people I've met who I don't consider friends, maybe because I didn't feel a "click," or didn't agree with their opinions, or just didn't like their shoes. Who knows. You, however, have fabulous footwear, so I had no choice but consider you a friend.

eric p. said...

I've shifted into a new social circle locally here lately, and have been wondering which people from my old performing group I consider "friends" and which were "Facebook friends" only. But then there are people like you, people whom I've only met face-to-face a couple of times -- but I find myself interested in what you have to say and in what's happening in your life. So it's not physical proximity that defines friendship.

At the same time, I've been pondering the blog/Facebook/Twitter thing. I started my blog just over 8 years ago, but now that I'm writing more copy for work, I end up not writing on any of these mediums. (I'm not even getting 140 characters out at home these days, much less 140 words.) I usually read most blogs via RSS, but that doesn't engage me to comment the way visiting the real page does. Perhaps it's time to slow down a bit and get back to enjoying reading and pondering, and participating in the longer-form conversation again.

Ur-spo said...

My eyes cross trying to figure out all these new social boundaries and definitions.
It is all rather messy.

I consider many of my blog buddies " friends" even though I have never met them.

I certainly consider you as a friend!

tornwordo said...

Depth is difficult to find these days. I know I've been defriended a few times but I can't figure out who did it, lol. I guess it's just as well eh?

Wayne said...

I have a FB page, but rarely look at it. Don't know why I even got one. Guess because everyone else was. How shallow is that!

Birdie said...

Enjoy Facebook and Twitter even with their limitations. I do have a FB page at my daughter's behest, and I probably post once a week. I'm sure my posts get lost amid the daily posters.

I find FB tells me what you do and blogs tell me what you think. I prefer blogs, but the little stuff of FB fills in the picture a bit more. Both good, as long as they don't steal me away from engaging in the Real World too.

Greg said...

I've only met two of the folks whose blogs I read and vice-versa, though I've tried to meet others. Schedules always seem to conflict. I consider quite a few of the bloggers friends, even though we've never met. We give each other encouragement, lighten the mood, listen to (i.e., read) each others' rants. Isn't that what friends do?

Geoff said...

FB has become such a significant element of our culture hasn't it? I Love this post because I had this happen to me (and then I did it too).....I completely understand your outlook on this Lewis!

Wendy said...

I like that you put words to things many feel and just don't take the time to articulate... and so you share more of yourself with all of us. Thank you. And I am glad I got to spend a couple hours with you one sunny afternoon in OR.!

Anonymous said...

Well said! Ive been following you for a while now...feel like I know you, but haven't met you and probably never will, but still consider you a friend (albeit a lurking friend!). After reading your post, I came across this:


Anonymous said...

Last night was full of odd dreams. One of them was that you and I met a second time and had another wonderful lunch. I completely forgot until I saw (for the 2nd time) the title to this post. :)

Stash said...

That's the big problem I have with Facebook. Well, actually only one of them. The other issues I have with FB (and Twitter) are privacy and security, but those are another set of stories altogether.

When you join a social networking site (in my blog's case, it's Foodbuzz), and people "friend" you, are they doing it because (a) they want to get to know you better on a level apart from being superficial or (b) is it to up their social status, whatever that might be?

Where I come from, "friend" is something you call someone who you value spending quality time with.

I really don't care for the shallowness. Sign of the times I guess.

PS. I'm not on Facebook or Twitter.

Mark in DE said...

This is precisely why I never look to see how many friends I have on Facebook.