Friday, February 16, 2018

Facebook friendships spread like the flu...

It's funny how social media friendships develop.  There are many friends on my Facebook friends list that I have never met in person, but have "known" for a long time.  A lot of them come from different groups.  Then there are the people I knew growing up, way before Facebook existed.  There are family members, old neighbors, military friends, college friends and former work colleagues.  A couple of people are on my friends list that I knew in graduate school.  A couple of people aren't actually my friends offline, but they know someone in my family and friended me for some reason.  I know a few people from cruises Bill and I have taken, too.

By and large, though, a lot of my "friends" are people I met online.  I hang around in different parts of the World Wide Web, so my friends are pretty diverse.  But just for the record, most of my online friends come from these main groups, two of which I don't haunt anymore:

Recovery from Mormonism
Second Wives Cafe (and a few splinter groups)

These folks come from different walks of life.  Some are not from the United States.  A lot of them have different life experiences and political leanings.  Sometimes the friendship doesn't work out and I end up having to drop them from social media (or vice versa).  But most of the time, people get along fine.

One thing that kind of intrigues me, though, is when my friends become friends with my other friends.  Case in point.  I have a friend from high school who befriended one of my online friends.  My online friend, name of Barbara, is someone I've never met in person, but we've "known" each other for, oh, maybe thirteen years or so.  I met Amy, my high school friend, sometime during my teen years.  Amy and Barbara hit it off, strictly based on their comments on my Facebook posts.

Amy also discovered another friend on my Facebook page.  My dad's first cousin (who is also my first cousin, once removed) married Jo, a woman from Newport News, Virginia, which is very close to where I grew up.  I don't actually know Jo's husband (my dad's cousin) all that well, although I do remember his hilarious late mother, my Aunt Estelle.  Jo is a Facebook friend, though.  One day, Amy was commenting on one of my posts and Jo asked her if she was the daughter of her old friends.  Sure enough, she was.  It turned out Amy's parents were buddies with Jo when Amy was a kid.  So now Amy and Jo are now friends, all because they "met" on my Facebook page.

Sometimes I'll notice that two seemingly unrelated friends will have friends in common.  For instance, I have a friend from high school and college and a friend from the Second Wives Cafe.  These two women aren't friends with each other, but they have a mutual friend (besides me) that they know from different places.  One time, I called their attention to it and they commented on how they knew this third person from offline.  Turned out one friend is a teacher and the other works for a historic organization and that was how they both knew this other lady.  The same thing happened to me.  There's a lady who lives in Germany who is friends with two guys I knew in college.  I used to be friends with those two guys, too, until one of them unfriended me because I got tired of reading his sexist comments and called him out on them.

Then there are the Facebook friends who will casually absorb your friends.  It's the "any friend of Jenny's is a friend of mine" phenomenon.  I have a friend who does that, too.  I notice that he befriends people from his other friends' social circles.  Like, he's become friends with people I met on Second Wives Cafe, which is a site strictly for women.  He's also friended people I met on RfM, although I know he doesn't hang out there.  If I'm honest, this practice seems a little weird to me... but it's probably because I'm neurotic.

Even Alexis, probably my biggest "fan", and who is herself another online friend I've never met, has, in a roundabout way, contributed to this friending phenomenon.  Several years ago, an Irish guy named Paul used to comment on Alexis's posts.  I thought Paul was funny, so I engaged him.  He commented on some of my posts, too.  One day, Paul shared a hilarious post from a now defunct blog called List Of The Day.  List Of The Day was written by a guy named Cary.  Paul told me I should friend Cary on Facebook because he's funny.  So I friended him and started sharing his posts, which were universally witty.

Soon enough, several of my female friends from Second Wives Cafe became friends with Cary.  Sadly, Cary stopped writing his blog, but he's still active on Facebook and he's still funny.  Hell, I've even made a couple of "friends" from a group he started and I subsequently left.  I noticed he commented on a post by one of my Second Wives Cafe friends this morning.  It just struck me that I've never met any of these people in my life, but now they've become friends with each other, possibly because of the Irish guy who commented on our blogs years ago.

When I was a young woman, it never occurred to me that I'd be friends with so many people I've never actually met in person.  I remember being sixteen years old and learning in sociology class that most of your friends are people who live near you.  I also remember hearing that you were most likely to marry someone who lives within a fifty mile radius.  That sure isn't true today.  Bill and I met online when he was in Kansas and I was in South Carolina.

In 1988, we didn't have a concept of what would be a reality for most people less than twenty years later.  Social media has opened up the world in ways we never dreamed of back in the day... and it's made it possible for old friends to reconnect.  Sometimes, those new connections aren't necessarily a good thing.  There are times when it's best to leave the past in the past.

I think if I were going to go back to school, I'd like to study how social media has changed the world. I suppose I could do that from home if I wanted to, although formally studying it would be more stimulating and, perhaps, even more rewarding on some level.  At least it keeps me from thinking about the horrors of the world.

Actually, Facebook sometimes distracts me from the news by providing a good laugh.  My old friend, Donna, has a hilarious daughter who is about fourteen now.  I met her daughter once a few years ago. She's an unusually precocious and funny kid and Donna very generously shares her hilarity with her friends.  Donna's daughter used to refer to me as a "cusser", for instance, because apparently I swear a lot on Facebook.

Anyway, this morning I woke up to another one of Donna's stories about her daughter.  It seems Donna and her husband went out for Mexican food last night.  Their daughter stayed home because she doesn't like Mexican food.  When Donna and her husband came home after their date, they found the girl had taught herself how to play "Creep" by Radiohead on her ukulele.  When I read stories like that, it makes me wonder what kind of kid I would have had.  With my luck, I probably would have had a prissy, uptight daughter, embarrassed by everything I say and do.  She would have taken after my father.

I guess the world will just have to settle for my own goofy shit.

I must admit, I don't know this song as well as I probably should.

Don't read this last bit if you don't like scatological humor...

I'd rather read about Donna's quirky daughter than post about my own potential mishaps...  For instance, I had to keep getting up last night because Auntie Flow has arrived.  There was a sponge on the toilet tank last night and I guess it somehow got knocked into the bowl this morning.  There I was, taking my morning dump, which was messier than usual.  I tried to flush and noticed that the toilet paper wasn't going down.  That's actually not an uncommon occurrence with our toilet, because it's fucked up.  Thankfully, I noticed the paper was yellow and green.  I managed to pull the sponge out before it went into the plumbing.  It was covered with shit, though.  Thank God I managed to fish that sponge out before it went down the drain, because a plumbing disaster is the last thing we need around here.  Especially since we're going to the Czech Republic today.


  1. I've always wanted to go to the Czech Republic, but I would never drive there. A lady who is a friend of my mom's from their summer camp counselor days lived there until recently. She said that there are no speed limits on the expressways, but if you are involved in an accident with a fatality and are found to be at fault, you do ten years in prison, period. Sometimes accidents are just accidents, and with my luck, I would be unfairly found at fault even if I wasn't. If I go, someone else will drive. You and the Lt. Colonel are probably skilled drivers.

  2. It is amazing how all these connections work and shows that there are a lot of fun and fascinating people on this planet. We can all live somewhat vicariously through the experiences of others and relate to all the commonality we have as humans. It all makes the world a little bit nicer.

    1. Yeah, for the most part. On the other hand, sometimes you run into people online who turn out to be jerks.


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