Monday, May 26, 2014

Friends on Facebook

My Facebook policy has always been that I only befriend people who I truly consider friends. My Facebook is not open to the public, it is a private thing between me and my close friends.

I remember years ago when I was much more of a party boy, one early morning after dancing all night, one of 'my party' friends came up to me and had a rave about what good friends the two of us really were. You know, I luv you buddy and all that. I thought it was a little amusing as I was sure he wouldn't think quite that way once he'd sobered up from whatever it was that was making him enthuse so. I responded with, "Yes, yes, such good friends. Can you tell me what my surname is?" He couldn't.

That is kind of the standard I have towards Facebook.

A year, or so ago, when Shane went overseas with Tully, Tully sent me a Facebook friend's request. I remember looking at it and my criteria for Facebook friends came into my head. I didn't really know Tully all that well. Sure he lived here for a time before he and Shane went overseas, but he pretty much kept to himself. He didn't really make a great effort to get to know me or Sam. They got married, yes married, in a whirlwind after only knowing each other for six months and moved to London, only having lived together for four weeks at my place. I truly wondered if it would last and whether I'd ever see Tully again. So you may understand why I hesitated.

I didn't realise at the time that friend requests on Facebook don't stay waiting forever, eventually they just disappear. When I had decided that I should be generous and give Tully the benefit of the doubt regarding their relationship, his Facebook request had disappeared. Oops, I thought. Oh well, I thought after that, I'm sure he isn't going to lose any sleep over me.

I have been de-friended on Facebook a number of times, nearly all of which have been by 'friends' who I would have said were people I friended that went against my before mentioned 'Facebook policy' so no big deal, it really saved me from doing it.

However, two people who I would call, have called, friends have de-friended me. One was some time ago after we had a discussion about climbing Ayres Rock and the Aboriginal sensitivity about doing it. David was heading to The Centre and he was unsure about what he should do. He had never been to Ayres Rock and he really wanted to climb the rock, but he also didn't want to upset any one. But he did want to have the experience of climbing it. He asked me for my opinion about what he should do.

I told him that I had been to Uluru when I was a kid with my family and that I had climbed it with my father and brother and sister. So, if I went back I wouldn't want to climb it, as I already had. This was my compromise in respect of Aboriginal sensibilities. However, if I went and I had not climbed it before, I would. Not much help really, I guess.

A friend, lets call her J, told me that my advise was disrespectful to Aborigines and that I shouldn't have advised David in such away. She gave me all the details about why Uluru was sacred and why I was wrong. My last answer to her went something like this, 

J, believe in the supreme ruler, don't believe in the supreme ruler, believe in sacred spirits, don't believe in sacred spirits, that is up to you. What somebody else believes in is up to them and essentially it is none of my business. So, what I believe is up to me and not up to somebody else. Live and let live, whatever makes you happy. And what I believe in is that in the end, Uluru is simply a big rock that was formed in the formation of the Earth, I am sure I could get a scientist to explain it properly, if necessary. I am really happy for anyone to believe what they like about Uluru, but in the end, in my opinion, it is simply a great big rock.

She de-friended me.

I was really surprised. I didn't call her, I decided that she had made her position clear. 

I didn't see J for quite a time, she and Tom and I were friends together, but Tom had died and she moved house and she drifted out of my friendship circle.

Then, a few years later, I saw her at a mutual friend's fortieth birthday. Having not really thought about it a great deal in between, I was quite surprised by my reaction when I saw her. I blew her off when she approached me, thinking fuck you. If somebody had told me that would be my reaction when I saw her, I would have laughed and told them not to be ridiculous, but that, in fact, was what I thought.

Yesterday, the second of the two friends, lets call her L1, posted a clip of Russell Brand raving on manically, about spirituality and cosmic vibrations and the supreme entity in charge and the fact that he believed in God. Yabber, yabber, yabber, yabber, yabber. In my opinion, I could so hear Russell desperately trying to make up for his indulgent, hedonistic past. That is how it appeared to me.

I responded with, Another born again evangelical spiritualist trying to talk his way out of his past transgressions.

She de-friended me.

Again, I was surprised.

I chuckled to myself (maybe, nervously. I am still surprised by my reaction to J) when I thought about it, apparently, from past experiences, I take these things very seriously. As do other people.

Another friend, lets call her L2, went to London and visited Shane and Tully. L2 was the first of all of our group of friends to visit them. So Shane and Tully were keen to hear news from home, as you would expect. She said that it didn't take any time at all for the conversation to get around to me and the fact that I hadn't taken up Tully's friend request on Facebook. Over the time that L2 was with them, she said it was mentioned quite a few times. Why would Christian do that? Why doesn't Christian like Tully? What has Tully done to upset Christian and so it went. L2 said to me on her return, "I had no idea about it, so what could I say."

I was going to let L1's de-friending pass, as I had with J, but, as I, apparently, and others, take such things quite seriously, I decided that it, indeed, needed a comment. Let me say at this point, I am also friends with L1's sister on Facebook, as well as quite a few other mutual friends. So, I wrote the following.

Wow! I’m amazed by (so called) friends who think they are so open minded and yet when someone says – that would be me – something that is essentially another point of view to what they have posted, they de-friend you – again, that would be me – on Facebook. I thought that is what Facebook was all about? A discussion, a conversation with friends. I guess I was wrong.
I wish I’d known, I would have stuck to reposting banal clichés and pictures of puppies, since I can only assume now that is all that friend is capable of dealing with. But, I guess, many people are only on Facebook to have smoke blown up their arses.
Still, I guess, it is better to learn who your friends really are… hey?

Many of my friends sympathised, several told me that they loved me, a couple said they were going to de-friend me for such an outrageous post. But, as yet, none of my mutual friends with L1 have commented.

So, let's see what happens, shall we. It won't, actually, change anything, however, as I also have another rule when it comes to Facebook and that is that you will only ever get one opportunity to de-friend me. Once de-friended always de-friended.


Pandora Behr said...

I'm watching similar stuff going on with friends on facebook. You don't like my opinions, tell me, I'm adult enough to take it. Social media can be a pain.

FletcherBeaver said...

Absolutely! Tell me to get fucked, I'm a big boy. That is what most of my friends would say if they disagree with me.