What is a friend? What makes a friend more than an acquaintance, or a colleague, peer, clubmate?
Why do some friends last the distance, across physical distance, through the years? And other friendships just don’t.
And what about this latest phenomenon of Facebook friends.
Recently I have been reading FB status updates from “friends”. Some of these friends are real life friends. The people I see often, engage in actual not just virtual conversations. Others I share a bond. We went to school together. We share five years or so of memories of green kilts and felt hats, of latin names, of school singing with Miss Kerr, of roasting our legs with baby oil at lunchtime.
Other friends are people I have connected with through running and my children. Or workmates from days gone by.
But a lot of my “friends” I have never physically met. We met through an online forum for people who had run or were about to run the Boston marathon. I joined this forum in 2009, just after I had entered the 2010 race. This forum was great. Through them I learned so much about the marathon. We had two FEs (forum encounters) to meet these virtual friends. This was great for me as it meant I was not alone in Boston, and I had people to share the experience with.
After the marathon I continued on with the forum. I continued to learn so much more about running. I changed my training and improved dramatically. I owe such a lot to you guys. Over time we left the forum and joined FB, creating a private group.
But it was hard being part of a group who had so much more in common with each other than I would ever have. Other members regularly meet up at other running events and via business trips. Not many call in to New Zealand as they pass by! I withdrew myself from this group late last year. Mostly because the talk was about another big Boston reunion this coming April. I felt like a wallflower.
But I am still “friends” with a lot of them.
I had been thinking I might weed out a few people with whom I had never had a personal connection. Unfriend them. Such a horrible term.
My personal self-worth does not need to be measured by the number of FB friends I have. I like to think quality comes before quantity. I feel I am a good friend to my real-life, real-time friends. I even try (but am not always successful) to be friends with my family – excluding my children. I will always be their mother first and foremost!
One click of the button and a person doesn’t even know they have been unfriended. My finger has hovered over this button so often. Do the world’s leaders ever hesitate like this as they hover over a similar button to drop a bomb? Because that is what it feels like to me. The fallout could be massive and I would be oblivious.
Yesterday a New Zealand public figure decided the fallout from her online presence was too much. She took her own life.
Digital dumping. It really is a big fat middle finger.
And I just can’t do it.
And if anyone feels they no longer want to hear about the inane ramblings of the sometimes insane, please have the decency to tell me before you just click on that button.