I have a lot of really great friends. I actually annoy people because I am known to say stuff like “Me and my best friend are going for a bike ride on the seawall today” “oh which of your 43 best friends do you mean?” they ask sarcastically.
My friendships mean the world to me. When I was little and I asked my mom “Are we rich?” We were living in a trailer in the bush at the time. She answered me “We are rich in friends.” And from then on I wanted to be a bazillionaire.
I use facebook to connect with my awesome friends.
I send them funny links.
they post pictures on my wall and we try to stay in close touch that way.
But lately it is causing more harm than good.
I sent one of my best friends a link to an article I thought he would like. He liked it so much he responded. He wrote out a long and creative and convoluted response that took him close to an hour to craft.
I scanned it.
I didn’t have time for it.
I wrote a one-sentence reply.
He came at me charging.
“How dare you respond so glibly to my heartfelt response? Major unlike Emelia!”
Well, that just got my blood boiling. See, I recently told him some huge personal news. He was not there for me in the way I hoped he would be. So my quick response to his heartfelt response was my way of telling him “if you don’t have time for me then I don’t have time for you”.
None of this was conscious thought mind you. It was all done on adrenaline and impulse. And I didn’t have to think about it. I didn’t for a minute imagine what was going on for him or wonder if I misread the tone. I was affected and I responded in an instant.
I then deleted our public facebook fight thread.
“How dare you delete our public facebook fight thread” he roared.
“How dare you roar at me in public” I roared back.
“You are just like your father and your blog sucks” he bellowed.
“You are an entitled asshole who has NEVER been there for me when I have needed you” I screamed.
It ended in me telling him I needed a break from our friendship. I didn’t want him to contact me and I was done.
None of this was spoken.
It was all done via facebook.
A 10-year incredibly deep friendship halted all because of a link I sent him.
Now this friend has been there for me.
He has helped me move when my boyfriend left me and left all his stuff behind-twice.
He painted my kitchen when no one else would help me and I wanted it done.
He was there the night I found out my mom had cancer.
He was there when I needed a ride from the airport.
He even rewired the light fixture in my living room having no electrical know-how.
He is my family more than my family is my family.
But lately, over the past few years that has been dropping off. He moved, he had a kid, things are busy-whatever- but there does not seem to be time for phone calls anymore.
The only way I seem to be able to communicate with him is on facebook.
He will respond to a funny link.
So, unbeknownst to me (because it was all happening way down deep inside) I hit my facebook friendship limit and I snapped.
“Why can’t you just pick up the Goddamned phone. I want to hear your voice. I want to notice nuance and pause and inflection. I want to laugh with you.”
I wanted him to take that hour he had and get off the confuser machine and call his friend.
The friend who helped him decide that “she was the one.” Who supported him through his wedding day. Who brought him secret smokes when he needed them. Who cried when finding out they were pregnant. Who cried when finding out they had miscarried. Who cried when finding out they were pregnant again. Who visited them across the country twice since they moved. Who has been his family more than his family is his family.
So I quit facebook.
Wait, wait, wait….I mean as a marketing tool and to get my writing out there it is a great service to me.
But I quit it socially.
No more “we’ve really got to get together soon” posts written over the course of a year with no date ever set.
If I really want to get together with a friend I will call them and set a time and place.
If it doesn’t happen and that friend falls to the wayside then maybe that is simply what is happening right now.
Because before facebook, if I wanted to stay in contact with someone I had to work at it. I had to make time.
This showed you that I was committed.
This built up your trust.
Now, I try to keep my 100’s of online friendships going strong with pithy messages and Happy Birthday greetings. It’s fucking rude. And maybe, maybe, maybe proximity does matter. Maybe we are not that good of friends anymore.
Maybe that’s okay.
Because we ebb and flow.
No need to push so hard Emelia.
Instead of trying to maintain shallow interactions online I am going to try to stick with real time friends.
On facebook it says I have over 700 friends. In real life I would say the # is closer to 50. In real, real life the number might even drop to 10.
I mean real, real friends. Friends that will go through this kind of shit storm drama with me and love me anyway. Friends who make the time to hear my voice and notice my pauses and inflections and nuances and laugh.
There are only a few of those kind of friends left. I plan to hold on to them tight.
Fuck you facebook. You are not a good enough for me.
I want to be a bazillionaire.