Sunday, August 22, 2010

Trivial vs. Serious/Friends and Unfriending

I know those are two completely separate topics, but they've both been on my mind quite a bit recently. Before I start, I'm going to warn you that, although I'm not going to name names, you might find yourself mentioned in this post, and you might not like what I have to say. I'm going to try to refrain from turning this into an angry tirade against anyone, friend or not, but parts of the issues I'm going to talk about are things I take very seriously, even though some people think I shouldn't. Still with me? Then, here we go.
First off, on the "Trivial vs. Serious" post. If you're my Facebook friend, then you can see on my profile the things I've posted lately. There's been everything from song lyrics to quotations from Madeleine L'Engle and J.R.R. Tolkien to reviews of books using LivingSocial to a joke status about killing Barney to a status of nothing but palindromes to four links to this site, two of which were to parodies. Now, I have gotten comments on some of those things. I understand not getting comments on my book reviews; some of my friends rarely if ever read, and most of those who do read even just some of the time aren't really into the whole sci-fi/fantasy/superhero genre, which is fine. However, there have been some posts--statuses and other things--that I thought were much more deserving of comments than the things that actually did. For example, look at this status message I posted not too long ago:

: I'm weird, I'm different, I'm strange, I'm unique, I'm a little crazy and I'm sensitive...and I'm PROUD OF IT!

That was posted for no other reason than an attempt to feel good about myself. After all, countless people, even before Facebook, were telling me things like, "Stop being so self-deprecating!," "Stop putting yourself down!," or "You should have more confidence!" I would guess that my posts about my low self-esteem were what caused some people to remove and/or block me on Facebook. Yet, despite all that, when I make a post that says I'm proud of my differences, it doesn't even get a single comment or even a "like."
Can't you understand how that makes me feel? Based on that, it seems like you all think I should continue to lament about how worthless I am, instead of trying to feel good about myself. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but, when a status message of palindromes gets ten comments, yet a declaration of confidence doesn't elicit a single response, it makes me feel horrible.
Now, I'm not saying that everyone on Facebook--me and all my friends included--should never post anything silly and/or trivial on their pages. Still, I don't want to be silly all the time. Seriously, do you want to have a Facebook friend like Larry the Cucumber? I don't mind making a joke from time to time, but, there are serious things that are, in my opinion, just as deserving of recognition, if not more so. If you're stymied as to what I'm talking about in a post, then, by all means, ask me about it; people have done that before, and I was more than happy to explain. I don't expect all my posts, serious or not, to get a boatload of comments, but, I do expect some recognition for something that people have been asking of me since before I'd even heard of Facebook.
Just so you will know: My dislike of a lack of comments on what I post isn't just because I want attention. It's because, any time I post something other than a review, and don't get a response of any kind, it makes me feel like I've done something wrong. That feeling is not unfounded; in fact, it has a story behind it: Back in early 2007, I posted a note on Facebook asking my friends, who were pretty much all college-age, if they wanted to do something during the summer. When it came to possible activities, I didn't say what we could do; I said all the things we couldn't do. I never got a reply, but, I just figured no one looked at it, which, although I didn't like that, I didn't sit there and lament over it. Then, the next year, I did the same exact thing, and at least two friends said they were offended. I was shocked! Why didn't anyone tell me that when I'd posted essentially the same thing a year before? Ever since then, when nobody comments on a status, blog post, or note, I feel like I've done something wrong. Maybe I shouldn't feel that way, but, I do, because that story is exactly what I think of when no one comments on my non-review posts.
On to the second topic: Friends and unfriending. I think most people on Facebook have been unfriended by someone. There are various reasons why: repeated invites to dumb apps, annoying/disturbing/etc. posts, or even someone you just haven't talked to in a while, among others. I can see why people do that, although, the reasons I named haven't been that big of a problem for me, especially the first one.
Now, let me say this as clearly as I can: I am not jealous of anyone's friend total. Frankly, whether you have five hundred or over 1,500 friends, it doesn't bother me. Why does unfriending bother me, then? Because of its implication that a friendship has ended.
You may think that this is something that Facebook started, but it isn't. Even if I'd never joined any sort of social networking site, there are still broken friendships that I'd lament about. I can still remember old childhood friends (Robert M., Ben C., Cody D., Korrey and Kevin D., etc.) that I have heard absolutely nothing from in years. For all I know, they might not even be living in the same hemisphere as me. I don't sit there and dwell on it, but, sometimes, I get reminded of them because of things that I see, hear, or read. All it takes is a brief mention of Jumpman, tether ball, hypnotism, PlayStation or other things relating to one or more of those friends, and it makes me start thinking, "I wonder what happened to him [or them]?"
Here's the thing: Even though losing contact over time with friends isn't fun, being unfriended on Facebook is, in my opinion, much worse. Why, you ask? Well, two people losing contact usually isn't a sign of any personal issues between the two; but, when someone unfriends someone else on Facebook, it often--though, as I realize, not always--means the person being unfriended has done something wrong in the other person's eyes. I've seen that very thing happen to me on Facebook more than once.
I know some of you have said that I shouldn't even care about the people that have unfriended me. However, the reason I care is simply this: What did I do wrong, and how can I keep from doing the same thing again so I won't lose any more friends? There are some types of posts that I don't do anymore, because I know that they offended people, whether they removed me or not. I don't like losing friends; I never have.
Any comments?

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