Since the day I registered for a Facebook account (back in 2005, when it was first made available to high school students), I have amassed some 425 Facebook friends. I really have met most of these people at some point in my life, whether face-to-face or through the internet.
Yet, I speak to very few of these people on even a semi-regular basis. Some of them are through my own shortcomings - plans I made that I missed, calls I never returned, messages I sent that may not have sat too well. Those, I understand.
In some cases I've reached out, but the gesture was never returned. I suppose that comes with the territory.
I suspect its because most of this stuff doesn't apply to me, in any way, shape, or form. Take babies, for example. Most of my friends have children. I don't. And as assholio as this sounds, I don't like spending a whole lot of time around kids right now, for a host of reasons. First, I'm too old to be default babysitter, which is normally what happens when I'm around people with kids ("Here, you hold the baby! We're going to escape for a few minutes...."). Second, I don't want to be responsible for anyone else's spawn, given I have none of my own. Third, I participate in all sorts of adult debauchery, and I hate having kids around when I do it.
From my point of view, this all makes sense. To my friends with children, I'm sure I come off wrong. So I talk to very few of them anymore.
Then there's the whole God thing. I've said it before here, I'll say it again - I'm not the most glowing example of religion there is. I believe in God, sure. I also believe in guardian angels and the Holy Trinity. I ALSO believe wholeheartedly in superstition. And I think the Bible is a man-made document (a belief that inevitably starts a shitstorm of argument and hypocrisy, and normally ends in hurtful epithets being flung like monkey poop across the room). Most of my FBF hold God to a high point in their lives, and feel the need to tell us about it. Every. Damn. Day. Given that I violate at least a handful of Biblical rules everyday, and I hate having religion pumped into every aspect of my life, I don't speak much to them, either.
There's hypocrites, chauvinists, whores, sluts, teachers, radicals, and vegans on my news feed. I don't identify with any of them, I keep them around for my own entertainment. It's purely selfish. I don't care.
I can't help but wonder, though: when did all of these people become nothing more to me than pawns for my storytelling pleasure? When did people who once played a huge part in my everyday life fade away into the distance, never to be reached again?
I know that many of them are associated with periods in my past - the business groups I joined, the trips I've taken, the schools I've attended. They are who I was with during those times, they provided support, and friendship, and laughs, and good times.
Now that I'm past those periods, as are they, their role in my life has assumed an entirely different level of importance. I do not see them everyday as a force of life; now, if I want to make connections, I have to work towards them. I have to cultivate them.
Life grants you certain opportunities to meet people, but those people are what Life gives you in its own mixed bag. Some of these people, you will connect with. Some, you will not. You might find someone with whom you make a lasting connection.
What I learned through my Facebook feed was that most of the people there were the ones Life had given to me - stock issue, if you will. They were the teachers, classmates, and coworkers that I had acquired, somewhat by default. Sure, I am compatible in certain ways with a number of them. They help me figure out the kinds of people I'd like to keep around, and those I shouldn't.
There are people I met through interest, not proxy. Those are the ones I have the least trouble reuniting with, and the most fun doing so. The people I had to work hard to see in the first place are the ones I'm more likely to still communicate with now. It's an interesting phenomenon. But it makes perfect sense.
Facebook does something that we were not able to do before - it reminds us of all those people that were only supposed to be in our lives for a particular time. It doesn't allow us to move different ways, as we should. It doesn't allow us to move on, as it should.
Truth be told, I don't think I want to move on just yet. Facebook has become a social experiment of sorts for me, opening my eyes to the hilarious and yet horribly mundane things people do (and hold of high regard) in their lives. It shows me different ideologies and beliefs that I might not have learned otherwise. So for the time being, I'll leave my 425 friends as they are. And if any of them are meant to come back into the forefront of my life, well, I'm open to that too. As the world turns.......