A couple of weeks ago I trimmed my Facebook friends list, the main “casualties” being people I didn’t have a constant connection with either online or off. A couple of days ago I received a message from one of the people included in the cut stating they were insulted by my decision. After I explained my reasons said person made no further comment than to wish me the best and move along. This is someone I’d been very good friends with since I was eleven years old, and also someone I hadn’t been in actual contact with for the better part of a year before that point.
On the positive, the advent of sites like Facebook have made it very easy for is to keep up with friends and family who either live more busily or further apart than in the past. There’s pictures and stories and opportunity for dialogue, so you never feel as of you’re missing out. On the negative side, however, I think sites like Facebook can make us socially lazy. Since it’s easier to share life events with just a click, most people no longer feel it necessary to go the extra mile of personal contact — phone calls, text messages, or even Email. With everything laid out for you why take the time to be personal beyond likes and comment or the odd game invitation?
When choosing people to cut from my friends list I went with the obvious “dead weight” choices of people who hadn’t made personal contact within the past six months. This included family members as well. In my opinion, what is the sense of being connected simply for connection’s sake? I’m not an actress and having these people in my “circle” made it seem as if they were just sitting around watching the show that is my life without any real interest in the plot. While it’s true I am connected to certain people in my social networks on an acquaintance level, surface platitudes are not a substitute I’m willing to accept from those I call friends/family. What’s interesting is, other than the one friend, no one else even batted a virtual eyelash at having been removed. Guess my decision was for the best.
As fate would have it, I received another message from my estranged friend a couple hours after the initial query asking what they had done to “piss me off”. The question made me smile, not because they had done anything, but because they showed that our disconnection meant as much to them as it did to me. We chatted and caught up, exchanged current phone numbers, and promised to keep better connected on Facebook and off. It was one of the best birthday presents I could have ever hoped for.