Thursday, January 28, 2010

Angst. Or, How Facebook Occasionally Puts Me Right Back in High School Again


That "suggestions" panel on the right side of your Facebook page - you know the one? Yeah, it occasionally sends me back to high school angst. The names of people that I knew somewhat but never felt socially confident enough to actually speak to at a party or even walking down the hall at school pop up from time to time as suggested friends. I know that the suggestions are based solely on the social network of "common friends," but it still stops me cold. What is the protocol here? I mean, if I was afraid of being rejected by this person face-to-face, twenty years later it seems that I'm still worried that sending them a friend request will result in a rejection.

Lately I've gotten several suggestions of people who were ahead of me in school by a couple of years. I was certain that most of them didn't know me (or want to know me) in high school - a puny little school of less than 400 students. Why the heck would I think they would be interested in knowing me now? And, furthermore, why am I interested in following them on Facebook? Honestly, I'm not really, but the mere suggestion brings back those teenage feelings of inadequacy. The notion that I'm not "all that" and shouldn't even aspire to it.

I wish I could be a little more voyeuristic, at least for a bit, but Facebook stubbornly refuses to let me. One of the suggestions I got today happened to be someone I was actually frightened of in high school. She was the former girlfriend of my major love in high school and, according to him, she truly wished me harm when the two of us started dating seriously. She was a year ahead of me in school and, thankfully, we didn't share any classes or extracurricular activities in common, but I knew enough to cross to the other side of the hall when I saw her coming. So when I saw her name pop up on my "Suggestions" list, I had to know. I clicked on her profile picture, but it didn't actually zoom large enough to satisfy my curiosity. I could see enough to know that she hasn't gotten enormously overweight and when I took the time to see which organizations she has become a fan of, I knew I had been right to be afraid of her. She doesn't live too far from me, frighteningly enough and either she is a corrections officer or she is close to some because that's what comprises the majority of her profile. Yikes. Definitely not sending her a friend request...

5 comments:

Katherine Jenkins said...

Interesting post about Facebook and very true!!! If you'd still like to write for Writers Rising, please send me an e-mail at kathyjenkins@hotmail.com and I'll let you know how you can do that. Peace to you, Kathy

Jill of All Trades said...

Yikes, really kind of scary.

Christi Craig said...

Great post. You pegged one of the reasons I don't like facebook: its so insistent that we all come together, regardless of our past. I mean, I might be interested in knowing what some people are doing these days, but I want the option to peek with anonymity :)

chris said...

you have piqued my curiosity, but i know it's none of my business...

Deb Shucka said...

I wonder what would happen if you allowed yourself to explore who she is now in the relative safety of Facebook. That's a lot of high school angst to be carrying around. Love.

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