What Facebook Can Teach You About Life

Just the other day I was contemplating an old friend who had simply pretended not to know me on Facebook. We were in college together. We went on trips together. I've been to her house. We've spent hours and hours together, staying up all night playing cards, talking about life and God and interracial dating.

And yet, there was no denying that she had rejected my friend request. I sent it to her months ago. I encountered her again after she left a comment on a mutual friend's page and I clicked on her name. I thought maybe I had only imagined sending her a friend request, so I sent another. But after I thought about it, I remembered. She had rejected me, flat out.

Do you remember back in school, hanging out with various groups of people, probably the people you called your friends? Do you remember wondering about some of them, whether they really were your friend or simply someone who tolerated you because you both had a mutual friend? Back when you were younger you probably didn't ask them if they considered themself to be your friend. Even if you had asked, they probably would have lied in order to spare your feelings and avoid a confrontation.

But then along came Facebook.

Thanks to Facebook, now you can finally know. Was she your friend, or did she secretly despise you? Did he only tolerate you hanging around because he wanted to fuck your sister, or did he actually think you were OK?

Face-to-face, in the real world, people lie their asses off. They smile in your face, pat you on the back, maybe even hug you 'hello' when you walk into a place where they didn't expect to see you.

Oh, they knew you were in town. They knew how to reach you. But they didn't want to reach you. They didn't want to see you. They were hoping you wouldn't find out they were around. And when you stumbled across them accidentally, they were all toothy smiles and "oh hiiiiiiii." Then, as soon as they could, they made their excuses and ran out the door, leaving you far behind as they drove to another place where they no doubt talked shit about you.

I think most everyone comes to a point in life where you look back and reevaluate your former friendships. There is a level of maturity where you begin to see things as they truly are, even when it hurts you. Kids don't handle rejection well. Youth wants more than anything to be loved and accepted. But a stressed-out man with a mortgage and an Italian mother-in-law hasn't got the luxury of denial.

Old acquaintences on Facebook will accept my friend requests, only to drop me a day or so later without explanation. Sometimes they reject me right up front, again without any explanation. People follow my blog, only to get angry when I write a political or religious view they disagree with, so they drop me in a huff. Random Twitteratti follow me for no particular reason, not knowing who I am half the time, only to reject me within a few days because I'm almost never there. We've stripped away so much bullshit, so much false friendship, so much denial.

No, not everyone loves you. Not everyone wants to be your friend. Not all of the people you like are going to like you back. And now, thanks to the internet, there's no more pretending.

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