The other day I was click clickin around Facebook, looking at pictures of people I probably wouldn’t say hi to if I encountered in real life, and a little box popped up on the right side of my screen. It caught me off guard. Normally I’m in charge of the creeping and snooping I do around facebook, but there it was, creeping up on me and exploding like a landmine under my feet. KABOOM: My ex boyfriend. His smiling face appeared at me under the heading “People You May Know” like a condescending little reminder of my past. It’s not a bad past and it’s not a past I regret in any way but it’s one that fits neatly into the folds of time sandwiched between Prom and travelling. I can’t say it doesn’t come up, but there’s usually some warning like when you’re driving and you ‘re about to cross train tracks and those big arms come down, alarm sounds go off and red lights flash.
I felt like I’d run into him at the grocery store in my embarrassing tinkerbell t-shirt that’s reserved just for laundry day, wearing little to no make up. Why do you torture me Facebook? I actually went back and looked at my profile picture. Do I look hot? Do I look ‘happy without you’ casual or like I’m trying too hard? These thoughts actually crossed my mind. Oh the horror. I looked for the little ‘close’ button so that I could tell Facebook it had been mistaken, that I no longer know that man. It didn’t even give me the courtesy of the option! Okay I might have been flustered in the moment and unable to find it, but really you think these things would be more obvious for the millions of others flustered by the “people you may know” feature. There are probably millions right? Anyway, thank goodness that I’m the well-adjusted gal that I am because I just left it. He’s there on the right hand side of my page like the grinning cat from Alice in Wonderland that just hangs around. I guess I could block him but it just seemed a bit drastic. I can’t even bring myself to unfriend people I never talk to, because I did once and then ran into the girl and had to awkwardly re-add her when she wanted to reconnect and own up to the fact that I’d deleted her. I know, the travesty.
The point is, Facebook has become more than this social medium, it’s become a whole other social highway. It has its own set of rules and etiquette and socially acceptable invasion of privacy. If Sally Sue who I worked with 8000 years ago adds me as a friend am I obligated to respond with a ‘no’ because I don’t want her to know my business or do I leave it and pretend like it never happened? I have to admit I feel sort of guilty when I flat out say no like we’re back in high school and I’m one of the mean girls rejecting someone from the group. And there it is. Ding ding ding! The essence of it all is that we’re all re-living high school through this ridiculous site that I, myself, can’t seem to get enough of. We’re collecting friends, joining groups and clubs, posting pictures like it’s yearbook, posting messages to our BFFs walls and being ambushed by ghosts of boyfriends past. If you’re not part of the collective “we” I’m referring to, then kudos to you- I just like to feel like I’m not the only weirdo out there with this strange love/hate on with the world of social media. Like high school, it’s a double edge sword.