Facebook Dilema

South Park “You Have 0 Friends” (censored):

These South Park clips that portrays the pitfalls of what can happen when you have a Facebook, are very hilarious because there’s A LOT of truth to it.  The whole episode is brilliant. Maybe not so funny that it happens to us in real life, but funny how much South Park pinpointed many different situations. Facebookers do get angry like that, strangers do wonder why someone doesn’t accept their friend request, misinterpretations and finding ourselves “in trouble” when someone is dissatisfied with our activities posted on the news feed. I sure have a fair share of Facebook awkward moments and I’m sure there are many more to come. So is it really worth it?  

A Facebook Profile means a thousand words. For Facebook regulars, we share a lot of information about ourselves, our personal thoughts, along with every public “conversation” through wall posts, feeds, comments, etc. (much more than we do in person). Some of us are not as comfortable to freely let others have access to all our information. So one of the most awkward situation is what happens when we don’t Add/Accept a friend request:

“The Stranger”

There’s always at least one person you don’t know or maybe has seen you from afar, then somehow finds you and request to be Facebook friends. They either find you through Facebook search, through a mutual friend or mutual interest (groups/pages). You see it and wonder, “Who the heck is this?” and hit ignore or just leave it. I think it used to be “Reject” back in 2004, but the words are pretty harsh so I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the reason why they changed it.

Anyways, eventually this stranger might come back to haunt you… at least that is what happened to me a few times. At a large University, there was someone I didn’t have a clue who he was and didn’t accept his friend request.. (I didn’t reject it either). Later on he came up to me and introduced himself…. in my English class– I didn’t know he was a classmate.

“The Acquaintance”

The ones who you may have seen on several occasions, maybe exchanged a few words with, or your friends briefly introduced you to. They again, find your Facebook and add you. Maybe you have forgotten, still don’t know them well enough to let them in on your profile or call “friend.” So you decide not to add them and before you know it, it causes a little drama.

There were several friends’ of friends who add me then ask my friends why I didn’t add them, assuming I “rejected” them.. AWKWARD. This puts me in a situation where I feel forced to add them or else a) they’ll get mad/get hurt b) won’t really become friends with me offline.

I admit I still didn’t accept most of these requests, nothing personal, but I did add others because I knew I was going to see them regularly, and I didn’t risk awkwardness or a potential friendship.

“The Old Classmate”

The one you can’t remember at all, maybe just remember their name/face, or wonder if there was a reason why you don’t remember, (maybe you just didn’t want to remember).

A sort of extreme awkward case of this was, before having a chance to accept a request, an old classmate/friend removed the request; So I thought maybe she did that because I took so long, so I friend requested her, but it appeared she ignored the request (button becomes “Add Friend” again). Then I noticed a few mutual friends who I knew was close to this person back then, was no longer on my friends list, appearing they de-friended me, (Facebook claimed it’s not a bug). Coincidence? If this intentionally done, the misunderstanding cost me some Facebook friendships.

“The Bully”

Here’s an incredible phenomenon. Bullies try to friend request their victims. It’s happened to me and its happened to friends. Yeah some bullying occurred a long time ago; it doesn’t mean we can’t forgive, it, we just wonder why would any bully think someone they traumatized would want to accept their request? I’m no Dr. Phil, but if you’re a former bully who really wants to make amends, it would make more sense to try to shoot an email, maybe an apology admitting what you did wrong. Then you may get the acceptance you’re looking for. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be surprised or offended that they didn’t accept.

“The Co-Worker”

Few years ago, I never indicated to coworkers that I had a Facebook. I just thought it would be REALLY awkward to add them because I try to keep my personal life out of my professional life. There are other ways to professionally connect. It’s pretty self explanatory why some things are best left unknown in the work place. 😛 I took extra precaution; I don’t recall ever logging into Facebook with a company’s computer.

However, a former co-worker discovered my facebook when they saw me interact with a mutual friend/former coworker, and requested me to lower my privacy settings so they can add me. 😛 Before I knew it, tons of co-workers requested to add me. My friend said that’s a good thing, because it means I was a good co-worker. XP

Hint: make good use of those friends’ list and facebook privacy settings. 😉

“The Ex”

I don’t have any awkward facebook situations with MY ex’s, but I’ve heard plenty of ex stories. I’ve only ran into an AWKWARD situation with a FRIEND’S ex who tried requesting me as a friend even though my friend was incredibly devastated. On top of that, somehow The Ex somehow got my screen name, (Yeah.. back in the day when we used IMs over facebook chat). I got uncomfortable so I just didn’t respond.

Other awkward situations:

“The One You Want to De-Facebook.. Friend”

Maybe you really don’t know these people, no longer are friends with them, or no longer keep in touch that you’re practically strangers. But you just want to clean up your list, or you feel they just don’t need to have access to your profile anymore, or maybe you don’t care about their mob wars, farmville anymore or whatever.

I find that it’s difficult for me to remove people because there’s always a chance they would get really upset and draw up a zillion conclusions, and then it’s big big mess. But then again, if they’re going to make that big of a deal, maybe it’s a good idea not to be friends with them anyways. Even I wondered why people remove me, wondering if I’ve offended them in anyway. Either way, it’s THEIR profile and it doesn’t mean they necessarily hate you. That’s hatebook.org

“The One Who’s Supposed to be Somewhere Else”

You know, the friend who maybe bails on plans, and says they’re “busy” or needs to be somewhere, then updates with a status or photos of them elsewhere. You’ve probably heard infamous employees on the news who get in trouble on their “sick day.” Facebook is notorious for people getting caught red-handed.

I don’t have my phone w/me 24/7. I sometimes use my iPod Touch to Facebook. This has caused misunderstandings that I purposely ignore phone calls or that I am not really at home, which isn’t true.

Fortunately for others, I don’t make up excuses– if I don’t feel like being somewhere, I just say it. (Maybe unless if I was doing super hero work ;)). I do run into sticky situations when I have to choose one event over another friends’ event. Yikes! Facebook has made it easier to shoot massive invitations. All I have to say is, life is short– take the opportunity to check out the events YOU wish to, instead of taking the guilt trip.. and let your friends know it’s nothing personal. I usually choose the one that rarely comes around or what’s more affordable/convenient.

Anyways, there are plenty more awkward Facebook situations, but I won’t make a novel out of it. Feel free to comment below your story. Sometimes I feel less is more and I do miss the times I actually see people face-to-face. Well, that’s probably going to be another blog entry.

I hope for those who take Facebook a little too seriously, that citcoms like South Park who poke fun of the situation, would help them see what the situation looks like from a 3rd person point of view, laugh at it, and realize there’s no need to sweat it. Besides maybe writing a little too much in the past, I did make good connections over the years and keep touch with people more than would have if didn’t have Facebook. So it was worth it for me. For others, I’ve heard something along the lines like “Facebook ruined my life.” In that case, some people thought it was best to disable their account.

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