An Assignment

So my friend xisting4me and I like to challenge each other to blog assignments sometimes. She usually gets my challenges done in a matter of hours, and I make her wait around for weeks. Cause that’s just the kind of procrastinator that I am. But on this particular challenge, I wasn’t simply being lazy. I was attempting to answer her challenge honestly while hanging on to some semblance of my pride. After much and careful consideration, I’ve realized that it can’t be done. So I’ll just answer honestly and let my pride have the day off.

Her challenge looks like this: How many people can you look through on your facebook friends and delete because you don’t talk to them regularly, you don’t really need them knowing stuff about your life, you added them because they asked or you haven’t talked to them in years? I did it and deleted 138 people. It was a scary thought. So why did you put them there to begin with?

At the time of this posting, I have 249 friends to my name on FB. I will say that I have had real world contact at some point in my life with all of my friends on there, but admittedly, not for quite some time with many of them. Do I absolutely need all of them? Nope. Have I spoken to half of these people in the last year? Probably not. Do I leave them there anyway? You betcha.

So that was the easy part. But now we get to the why part. Why did I add people who I haven’t spoken to in years and most likely are not going to be starting up a new relationship with anytime soon? Because they remembered me. Remembered me enough to either friend me or accept my friend request. And right here is where my pride just hung it’s “Out for lunch” sign. Because I am not proud of this, but I have lived much of my life thinking of myself as a very forgettable person. As though once I was physically out of someone’s life, that I also popped right out of their memory altogether. And so, when someone from my past pops up and recognizes and remembers me, I guess it makes me feel good, in some strange, psychologically-unhealthy way. It makes me feel like I made a difference in someone else’s life.

One particularly heart-wrenching incident of this was when a girl I had gone to 3rd grade with friended me. She had moved away in the middle of the school year and had left her address with the class in case anyone wanted to be penpals (remember those?!?). I had written her a letter at the time, but never got a response and it went long forgotten. When she friended me, she added a note telling me that I was the only one from the class who had written to her after she moved, but that something had happened to the envelope and she lost my return address, so she never got to write back to me. She told me that she had always felt bad about not being able to write back to the one person who had written to her.

I don’t know exactly what it was about this situation, but I was literally brought to tears. I had affected this person in some way so much so, that 20 years later, she was so happy to have found me just to say thank you for a letter that, to be honest, I don’t recall writing. But it was something. I had made a difference and someone remembered.

And I guess, to be fair, I have to give a part 2 as to the why. And part 2 is that on most days, I feel like I have no friends. I guess I have no everyday friends, people who you talk to all the time and know everything about you. I mean, I do have some very good friends out there, but we don’t see each other or talk all that often. We’re more like those kinds of friends who you can not see for a long time, but when you do, it’s like you just saw them yesterday. I have lots of those. I guess I’m missing some BFF’s, as cheesy as that sounds. Someone to vent to when I’m pissed at HH or something. And I guess the feeling of knowing things about other people from what they post on FB, makes me feel closer to them somehow. Like I can turn to HH and be like, “Oh, So-and-So is having a baby soon” or “So-and-So just posted a picture of their new haircut” or something.

I guess, when it all boils down, it helps me to not feel so lonely. But now that I’ve gone over the brink into the realm of pathetic, I’m going to stop and consider the challenge completed.

1 comments:

xisting4me said...

wow ryan, i never thought that that question would strike such a nerve for you. i took it as a way to "clean out my closet" so to speak..and you took it as life altering decisions on why...im impressed. that was a very heartfelt answer and i knew you had it in you to dig deep and get me a DAMN ASSIGNMENT competed.

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