One of my colleagues sent me a friend request on facebook a couple of years ago. This creates a problem – I don’t know her very well, and don’t particularly like her – I’m pleasant to her, polite, because we work together, but she isn’t someone I would consider a friend. Nor is she someone whose friendship I would seek. It’s not that I don’t like her, we just have little in common outside of work, aside from a love of books, and a love of yarn.
Even those things are really superficial – she thinks that spending $4 for a ball of yarn is a large purchase, her taste in clothing – which is reflected in the things she crochets or knits – is very different from mine, so other than saying, “yes, we both knit stuff,” there’s not much in common there. Nor does she read the same type of books that I do. On occasion, we will read the same book, but often she will think it’s the next best thing to Shakespeare while I’m going, “what a piece of trash.”
She’s also rather prickly about anything that isn’t quite, as she sees it, politically correct. Being pc is not something that comes easily to me, I tend to tell the truth and see stupidity as just that, whatever the source.
So the dilemma – if I didn’t accept her facebook request, I would most likely be questioned about why I didn’t want to be her friend, told stories of her childhood in which she was rejected and bullied, and attempts would be made to make me feel guilty. (I do not respond well to that sort of bullying.)
I have to work with this woman and see her quite often, so I took the path that I thought would cause me the least amount of annoyance. I accepted the friend request. I unclicked every box on the little friend drop down thingie, and made sure that her constant posts didn’t show up in my news feed. There, everyone is happy.
Or not. She had some health issues and posted daily, at length, about them. I was blissfully unaware, until she met me in the faculty bay one day and commented that she was feeling better, but of course, I must be aware of that since she’d been updating everyone daily. I bluffed my way out of that one. I felt forced to start reading her posts, just to keep this from happening again.
I started to be amused by her. I commented to real friends that this woman literally posts every time she farts. Her circle of friends and admirers rush to “like” each of those posts, and commiserate with her about the smell, sound, and frequency of the farts, and discuss at length possible reasons and remedies.
I commented to her once that she posted a great deal more than I ever would. She said she wants others to learn from her experiences. She’s very comfortable sharing intimate details of her life.
I, on the other hand, tend to be pretty private about certain areas of my life, especially with people I don’t know well. With my friends, my real friends, I’ll talk about almost anything, but not in public – have a little class, my mother would say!
She’s right now very annoyed with me, because I poked fun at her constant, incessant, posting about banalities. The situation got me thinking – before facebook, when I worked with someone like her, I didn’t invite that person into my home, into my life, outside of work. I am not comfortable with knowing intimate details about someone I don’t really know. I wonder, does the good part of facebook – the part has allowed me to reconnect with cousins I’ve not seen in years, and whose posts and friendship I thoroughly enjoy – outweigh this sort of nonsense?
Maybe I should just start a new account and only tell people I really like!