Tuesday, January 10

Facebook, friendships and the fickleness of it all

The other day, our #iBot hostess with the mostess spent a bit of time getting all philosophical in regards to Facebook friendships and etiquette involved, particularly in the establishment of friendships request. 

For me I don't put in requests for Facebook friendships anymore. There are a few people online that I wouldn't mind peeking into their Facebook life but it gets back to the fear that I live with. The fear that I have slowly worked on but deep down is still there in some levels.  That and the fact there are other ways to stalk get to know people as well.

In the real world I tend to describe myself as not a people person.  Which for some reason seems to take people by surprise.  Sure I have only ever played team sports.  Sure I was a somewhat enthusiastic public speaker and lover of attention.  Sure I am heavily involved with the school council and a variety of other people based activities.  And so what if I loved working in retail and customer service based jobs? None of that really means I like people. 

Because just between you, me and the light post there are large parts of my history were to me people are more than just over rated and the less I had to do with them the better.  I am not talking people in particular here but rather people as a whole.  It was a place in time where I really felt that a life of reclusive was my best option.  But they are stories for another day.  For today all you really need to know is that not so long ago I really felt like I didn't have any friends, in the real world or online.

Of course if you looked at my FB account it would tell a different story.  According to the world of FB I have over 150 friends.  Some are family, others are old high school friends and some are even from my primary school days.  None of whom I really have had that much to do with, especially in recent times.  It is the voyeur in us that keeps the link.  

There are now a few mum's from school and sports on the list as well.  I felt particularly proud of myself in these instances as I went out of my comfort zone and onto a limb to request a FB friendship.  As it turns out only one of the women and I really interact.

There are also a few people in my friends list that I have never met in the flesh.  Never even heard their voice.  Complete and utter strangers.  The only commonality being our addiction to pointless games. When I first began to be sucked into the interwebs I liked to play games that needed lots of friends.  Most of my existing friends either didn't play pointless games or played ones different to my interest.  As such when there was no other way to pass the level and I just had to go on I would just selectively add strangers as I needed.  

Some of these people have turned out to be great confidants that given the opportunity I would meet in an instant.  Some of these people have been the there for me as I struggled through the hard times.  Most of them are now just a name that I am too scared to defriend because I would hate to hurt their feelings.  (As if they may even notice)

Whether I like it or not friendships are important.  We need to have other people in our lives.  Our children need us to have other people in our lives.  The trick is being able to select the right people.

Last year one of my main focuses was the search for new friends.  I set about it with great gusto at the start of the year.  Made easier by the fact I happened to stumble across a group of women who were also looking to extend their friendship base.  Many of these interactions occurred through FB.  A mutual friend was set up that gave lonely local women such as myself a place to meet and interact.  Social gatherings in real life were also organised.

I left the first meet and greet feeling awesome.  I had enjoyed chatting to my new found friends and discovered that there were a few out there who even shared similar beliefs to mine.  I loved watching the children play and also make new friendships.  I raced home to see which of these new lovely ladies would soon be requesting my Facebook friendship.  Let's just say it takes more than one date.

The next few gatherings were not nearly as awesome.  I started to get overwhelmed with all the new people.  I didn't want to have a lifetime of first time mummy dates, I wanted continuity and stability.  I just wanted a small group of people that I could get to know and form a lifelong relationship with.

Slowly the FB friend requests came through and from there a small group of women became more acquainted.  I had forgotten that friendship take time, energy and work.   I had honestly thought that I would just meet someone and go wow this person is a life long friend.  Sounds lovely doesn't it?  Slightly crazy perhaps but lovely nonetheless.  Also not really like to happen.

Only you know what?  

Last week it did happen.  I had a second mummy date with a woman I met online.  Our first date had been wonderful, conversation flowed and little people stared and smiled at each other.  This time it was a chance for our big kids met.  From the moment her daughter showed up wearing the same shirt as mine I knew it was going to be a great day.  Hours passed in what seemed like minutes and by the way the kids played you would have sworn they already new each other.

This woman and I are Tweeters and as such when we returned home shared the beauty of our morning with our avid followers.  I wanted to type felt like we were with life long friends.  But I didn't.  I didn't want to come across as needy or desperate.  I was scared that the words life long friends might have been a commitment she wasn't interested in or felt otherwise about.  I never for a second stopped to think she might have felt the same way as I...

As with much of life confidence is the key. 

Unfortunately for many, myself included it can sometimes be in short supply. The fear of rejection is often so great that I often just refuse to put myself out there. I have been the brunt of jokes, I have been the tag along friend, the one on the outer but still seems to still just hang around, not really fitting in anywhere. I don't like it and I don't want to be her any more. I want to be the one that has secrets shared, ideas respected and fun had. I want to be the one that is turned to in times of need and called on in times of worry and joy.

I know that it won't happen overnight, but I hope it will happen.

What about you? 

Do feel like you have enough friends or would you like to widen your circle a little? 
When you meet people for the first few times do you have the confidence to just assume they will see and love your awesomeness? Or do you worry that they will take one look at you and run? Stopping only to laugh at the ridiculous statement you just made.

As the little button up the top suggest this post links up with Diary of a SAHM for IBOT you should head on over and see who else blogs on a Tuesday and what they have to say.