Spring cleaning Facebook, a much needed exercise for us all
I love Facebook. It is my go-to social networking platform in terms of keeping up with birthdays, promotions, baby announcements, deaths and politics. I love looking at and sharing my friends’ and family’s happy moments, their children, the food they cook, the trips they take, their pets, their new homes, and milestones – I love all of it.
Why? Because it gives me a chance to connect; it gives me the opportunity to say something nice to them (or something mean, if it’s a good friend who has just gone to Mexico on a vacation).
“Hey! I see you’re doing well in life, I’m happy for you!”
It gives me joy to keep and stay in touch with people I love and share pictures of my family.
My mother, of course, will disagree and say,
“Beta, nazar lag jaye gi, achi bhi aur buri bhi.”
(You might get jinxed, in a good way or bad)
And she may as well be right. But for me, being a part of the milestones and daily lives of people I cannot physically be with is a feeling unmatched.
I love Facebook, because in times of crisis, it has come to my assistance. I have met some wonderful people through it, read some incredible opinion pieces and learnt so much about the importance of social media in today’s world. I have received a lot of love whenever I have shared a picture of my daughter or my marriage. After all, who does not like compliments?
A few months ago, I was conversing with a friend of mine. She said something which I did not quite agree with at the time but soon realised the reality of her statement. She said,
“But then there are those people on Facebook who see your posts and don’t say anything.”
I brushed her remarks away with regards to people using Facebook as a ‘see-all-but-do-nothing tool’ by saying,
“Well yeah, people get busy and obviously don’t spend all day on Facebook,”
But then something happened with me that changed my mind. A friend who is not on Facebook complimented me on my recent haircut.
At first I gushed and said,
But then I wondered how on earth she found out about my hair cut since we had not met in months and she is not even on Facebook. Upon inquiring, she replied,
“Person XYZ sent me a screen grab of the picture you put up on Facebook.”
I was winded immediately. XYZ, I repeated to myself, she has never spoken to me or ever gotten in touch with me through Facebook, ever.
“Are you kidding me?” I thought.
XYZ hadn’t said one word to me about my hair, but clearly thought enough of it to send a screen grab to another friend, and right then, I had had enough.
The more I thought about it, the angrier I got. XYZ hadn’t really bothered to keep in touch at all, never once wishing me on my birthday or even congratulating me on the birth of my daughter. She didn’t even ask me for permission before sending my picture off to another person.
This led me to think about certain acquaintances and family members who are my ‘friends’ on Facebook but in actuality are the opposite of what a friend is supposed to be.
I post pictures of my recently started family, cooking, changes in location, life’s challenges and so on. They see all these posts, yet, they say nothing.
They see me going through a tough time with my daughter not being able to sleep through the night (since they are on the same mummy network as I am) but they don’t say a word, not one word of consolation or encouragement. Some friends I have huh.
These same people, they see me moving across the country and they can’t take a moment to say safe travels? That is not friendship.
Hell, I had a daughter and they could not even be bothered to congratulate me?
So, I took a long hard look at my friends list, and I unfriended all those who I realised are clearly not my friends, and I must say, it felt good. It felt like getting rid of a cloud of negativity and pretentions.
Today, I ask you to do the same.
If you are guilty of being just a Facebook friend and not a real friend, then change. Spend some time to actually connect with a friend; celebrate their milestones and offer them words of consolation when they are down.
Don’t just use Facebook as a means of gossip and judgement – that’s not what friendship is about.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.