Friends?  Really?

I must admit, I am not a big fan of the so-called social media, I think it is a mistake to use the word social as for too often it is anything but social.  Frequently it is filled with hate, rage, and anti-social commentary. What is disturbing to me is the use of the word friend.  I personally have several hundred “friends” on Facebook, I know of some who have several thousand, and even a few who have reached the Facebook imposed limit of 5000.  But, are they really friends?

A definition of friends I gleaned from a Google search is “a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.”  How well does that fit the people on your friends list?  To me a friend is someone you know well, are comfortable with, and miss when they are no longer around.  A friend is someone you don’t mind hugging, would like to share a beer (or two) with, and are comfortable discussing some of your most private thoughts.  With that concept in mind, how many people on your Facebook friends list meet any or all all that criteria?  In my case, only a few.

Here is a challenge for you when you are sitting on the couch and only slightly interested in the TV show you are watching.  Pull up your Facebook friends list and browse through it and imagine how many people you would unfriend because they are not really a friend, or because you have no idea who they are or why they are on the list.  Now look at the list again and consider how many of those friends you have ever met in person, would recognize if you passed them on the street, or would really like to sit down and have a beer (or two) with them.  Finally, based on the above definition of friend, remove all your family members from the list of friends.  How long is the list now?

I cannot imply a problem without suggesting a solution.  My solution is that Facebook give other choices when labeling a Facebook contact.  I propose the following; Close Family, Family, True Friends, Real Life Acquaintances, People I Know From Work, People Who,  Were It Not For Facebook,  I Would Not Even Know Their Names, and finally, the I Really Have No Idea Who This Person Is group.  That should help organize your list.  It might be interesting to see if, over time, if anyone is moved from one group to another.  For example, from Real Life Acquaintance to True Friend.  It is always nice to make a new friend.

That pretty much sums it up for this week.  I hope you find your life less complicated as a result of this.  And so, as we used to say many, many years ago, “see you in the funny papers” … friend.


Those are my thoughts, what are yours?

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Tom Lind

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  1. Jeffrey D CampbellDecember 14, 2019

    That would not only trim my list – it would eliminate it.

  2. Ray ZozDecember 14, 2019

    I said goodby to Facebook with no regrets.


Feel free to comment, why should I have the last word.

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