A Request for Friendship

by - Sunday, May 15, 2016

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You know them, they are on your list of friends, or at least you think you do.
They add to that number of your friends on Facebook, and all of a sudden, you realized that you have that many friends in your life.
You didn't even know you do.
But, are they, really your friends?

You know them, the people I mean, who are popping all over your news feed and whose faces are just staring at you right back from the screen; their white teeth flashing with the tousled hair in a photo they posted from their vacation.
You do a double take, and yes, they are your friend (confirmed from that "Friends" status when you hover over their names).

Then, why, do you feel that sense of unfamiliarity when you look at their faces?

Who are these people, and that leads us to the next question,

Why, are they even your friend, in the first place?

I think the whole euphoria of social media bubbled up back when it started, when social networking sites starting making their way into the scene one by one.
It brought a whole new light of possibility; where in the past our forefathers would lose contact with their old friends or even relatives when they leave a place, which meant that was that. They would never be able to find or see those people ever, without going on a real goose chase which would involve spending money to place a manhunt ad in the local papers or hiring a private detective (who would embark on that goose hunt in their places instead).
Gone were those days when social networking sites like Friendster, Hi5, MySpace, Multiply all came into the picture.
(Remember them?)

When Facebook came along in 2004, it was still relatively new and struggling to find its ground amidst the crowd already rooted in the tenacity of Friendster's influence at that time, to the point of pledged loyalty. Even when some signed up for Facebook, you could see that they were still keeping and purportedly spending more time on Friendster.
(Friendster was really a thing at that time, and given that it was the pioneer to spearhead this part of the industry, it is not hard to see why).

But that was not a problem, at all, for in a short time, Facebook rose to fame and it seemed, as though in a blink of an eye, swept the entire world into its arms; as one by one left their past behind and succumb to the new platform.
Bye bye Friendster, Hello Facebook!

As the years go by, some may not even remember or know Friendster (Friendster, who?)

It is official; the clean and polished white and signature blue outlook is the new trend, with almost everyone having an account.
Yes, everyone, dead or alive.
It is not surprising to find even your own grandparents on Facebook, no kidding.
(What happens to your Facebook account when you have passed on? Read about it here)

While there were not that much difference between the two, the key is about providing that portal to staying in touch with people from your past, or even anyone anywhere.
(We can discuss about the whole Friendster versus Facebook in a different post, perhaps)

It changed the whole game, literally, making it now possible to track old friends and acquaintances just with one click.




Seriously, it is that easy, although you would perhaps need more than a click.
You will need to search and type in the person's name, for a first; upon which you may be presented with a list of people appearing in the search and unless you are really good with faces or know exactly who you are looking for, you may need to squint and probably go through the list.
You didn't think only your friend has that name, did you?
I mean, you are aware there is more than 7 billion population out there and 1/7 of that population is on Facebook.
Even angels and saints are not privileged to have unique names; but then that's because everyone wanted to name their children after them. For obvious reasons.
That explains why celebrities are coming up with quirkier names, like numbers and perhaps wind/compass directions for their children. Don't ask.
We will discuss that, yes, in a different post.

It is amazing really, what technology has evolved into and granting us access to almost everything, everyone and everywhere in the world, without even needing to step outside of our room.

Our profiles are then filled with familiar requests, from old friends, colleagues, relatives and acquaintances looking to reconnect on Facebook, or any social media platforms; although Facebook is primarily the networking site which draws almost everyone to have an account.

In a blink of an eye, you find yourself being connected to almost everyone you had ever known since the day you were born, well, maybe from the day you started talking or going to school.
Just saying.

Your Friends' list is growing, and sometimes you find yourself looking for the people you want to add to your list too.



It is not really a bad thing, for it is just all about staying in touch, and at least knowing what is happening in the lives of the people you knew whom you were probably unable to get to catch up on a regular basis, for you know, all the reasons such as work, family commitments, and most of all, geographical locations.
Instead of being plagued with guilt as we would have in the past, as we lose track of the old friendships, the evolution of social networking sites and media just allow us to avoid just that; or the very least, minimize that feeling that we are not making an effort.
(It is probably delusional, but better than nothing, right?)

It allows even those who are introverted in nature to be involved, for that part of online presence just rids the unwanted awkwardness among those who would rather be left in their solitude.
(Introverts are often misunderstood for their lack of social involvement and sometimes even treated as social outcasts).

Regardless, it is a whole new age of staying connected to almost everyone.
It is possible to just be connected to everyone, and anyone.

Perhaps it is that thrill of discovering the growing list of friends, or perhaps it is that sense of pride that you actually have that many friends; or people asking to be your friend, that you find yourself adding people whom you don't really know or maybe those you have only had a brief encounter long long time ago.
Yes, you know you did that.

You momentarily forgot all the rules and commandments of safe practices on the Internet; exposing yourself to the risks of befriending strangers and not safeguarding your own personal information online. 

That was how the whole thing ballooned up, and suddenly, you find yourself having all the different people popping up on your Facebook news feed and even having people you don't know liking your photos and statuses, and even initiating chat messages with you.

Then that's when it hit you; that whole bewilderment of how did things actually spiraled out of control and let's just say, not the way you would have wanted.

Of course, granted, there are some of us who really practised restrictions and controls when it comes to their Facebook profiles and rules when it comes to adding friends or anyone for that matter (I know I definitely did), there are still times you just wonder if you still did it all right, or if you really should have added that friend from work, or from school.

It is really not meant to be offensive really, but there are just parts of your life you really, really want to keep it private.
Okay, let's not start the debate on why would anyone wants to be on social media when they want to keep things private.

Then there are those people who just go on a wild liking spree or suddenly having that need to comment on every single thing you posted, and no, I don't mean my close friends who are doing that, you guys are welcome to, anytime.

I am talking about the people we don't even know, and seemingly popping out of nowhere in my life, or back then in school, walked past us without so much a word and all of a sudden going all buddy-buddy like on Facebook.

I pride in myself having a good memory; for I could remember almost everyone I have met in the past or even having a short encounter, but there are times when I checked out that yet another friend request and I simply have no idea where or when have I ever met this person.

No, the mutual friends part did nothing to help refresh my memory at all.

Maybe resorting to checking with mutual friends will.
Maybe it was really my own memory's fault, maybe it had its shortcoming days.

Or maybe, there really wasn't that much bond, to begin with, at all.

That really brings on the whole perspective on friendship, doesn't it?

I mean, why add or request to add someone you barely know, just to be their friend?

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I am not the great judge or anything here, I have probably also done the same (once or twice, but not in a creepy way, though I still feel awful about it) when it comes to adding that acquaintance on my friends list, but I don't think highly of it, at all.
In fact, it has become one of the biggest No-No for me.
Top of the list.

Reason is simple; and it may sound harsh, but because I don't see that whole meaning, at all.

Of course I understand that social networking is also all about making new friends sometimes, and getting to know people, or perhaps for some people, it is about making amends and second chances.

Perhaps they missed that chance to get to know the person at school or at work back then due to various reasons, or perhaps they just missed the old times.
It could be sentimental and it could mean something to that person.
I know, I have reconnected with some old friends from school and work who made that amendments and it worked out great, so I am not really making the rules or trying to make a statement that you shouldn't.

My point is, the need to add that friend; whoever it is who initiated the request, really goes all the way back to one's own self.

Your own instincts, your gut feeling.

I mean, if you feel, in no way in the world can you even remember or relate to this person and you really, really don't want to, just don't.

Don't just Add or Request to Add a Friend, for the sake of expanding your list of friends, or simply, just for the sake of.

Well, for goodness' sake, Don't.
Just Don't.

Friendship has a far deeper meaning than just connecting or being friends on Facebook, and even if the whole social networking game is trying to change that, I still believe in the true meaning and even purpose of Friendship.

And it goes way beyond that Add Friend tab.




If you are just not sure whether you want to Add that Friend on your own account, or even to accept that Add Friend request pending on your list for some time now, for you do not want to appear mean, well, it is still your call after all; do this:




Learn to listen to your own gut feelings.

If all else fails, just go by this old mantra to help you decide, and while it may be old-fashioned, it still works best, all by the age old wisdom.

Just remember what your mother always says, "Never talk to Strangers"

Adding someone you barely know, is just like walking past someone you don't even take a second look.

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And for all it's worth, I still think the old-fashioned way of really being able to hang out and talk to your friends; I mean really knowing them in depth where you could go years without seeing each other (or even never getting to see them) but you could just connect and pick up the pieces; like you never ever parted.

The ones you could always count on whenever you need them, even when you don't hang out all the time.
The ones who will always trust you, even when the whole world doesn't
The ones who will never ever doubt or let you down, ever.


Even if they don't always like all your statuses or photos, or even so much drop you a message on your profile.

They may not always be online or even present on Facebook that often, but you know they are there.
You just know, you don't have to ask.
They are just, one call away 
(or even just a thought would miraculously bring them to you; you know about those sudden text messages or calls you get when you were just thinking of that person? Yes, it's telepathic. It's the magic of friendship)

FF

That's real friendship, in my own terms.

*I'm all for old-school, when it comes to friendships, or anything else.




*Author's Note: 
This is not a sponsored/promotional post, and solely based on author's personal opinions and do not represent the general public. 
Experiences vary from one individual to another.
You do not have to agree with me.

Art Direction and Photography Styling by Me.
Photos/Videos all belong to me and are copyrighted.
Please kindly ask for permission if you need to use any of my images.




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