When was the last time you met somebody at a party, spent several days with them, or even lived with them (and enjoyed doing so), but didn’t add them to Facebook?
Can you remember the time you enjoyed with them? Chances are the idea you have in your head, if not wholly accurate, is a much better picture of events than you would be imagining if you had exchanged Facebook details and you now find yourself reading their vague, banal updates about nothing in particular day in day out.
I’m not a big fan, or user of Facebook. On Facebook you’re either friends with somebody or you’re not. You either see nothing of a particular person ever again, or you’re treated to the whole of their lives played out in front of you over a creepy expanding timeline.
That said, this isn’t a post about the evils of Facebook, because blah, we’ve heard it all before, and it’s a boring conversation to get into. Whether you love Facebook or not though, sometimes not adding a new and exciting person to Facebook who has briefly come into your life, even when you part ways, can be a whole lot more rewarding than forever having your experiences with them diluted by being treated to rolling coverage on how they feel about life mixed in with a handful of photos of their sister’s wedding.
Years ago I was lined up outside a Foals concert in Oxford with a couple of my housemates at the time, and due to the length of the line ahead of us, we befriended a friendly Canadian couple who, despite having never heard of the band in question, had seen the queue winding down the high street and had decided to join it to see where the experience would lead them.
I’d tell you their names, but I forgot them pretty soon after meeting them. I’d look them up for the sake of this post, but I can’t. The five of us had a great evening, singing loudly as we sweated out warm larger, and as the evening due to a close, one of our new friends suggested we add each other on Facebook.
To keep things uncomplicated, one of my housemates gave his name to our friends and we decided we would all find each other from there. We happily parted ways.
They never added my housemate to Facebook. Whether this was through forgetfulness, or simply the fact that there were probably 1,000+ people on the site with his name at the time (we didn’t think that one through) we didn’t know, though we didn’t begrudge them it. If anything, it quickly became obvious that this could in fact be a blessing.
We had enjoyed our time hanging out with them; and that was the image we would forever have of them, nothing more, nothing less. And that’s the image, we can only hope, they will have had of us.
The same was true when I left Salamanca. At no point did I exchange Facebook details with any of my housemates, including a German guy who, though he only moved in within the last few weeks of me living there, I got on very well with.
We were good friends for a few weeks, and I enjoyed hanging out with him, both in and outside the apartment, but when it came time for me to leave, I consciously made the decision not to ask for his Facebook details.
Why ruin the image of our brief friendship with ongoing invitations to events I’ll never physically be able to attend and constant notifications to play Candy Crush Saga?
Of course, often adding people to Facebook is the only polite way to go. If you become good friends with a person, you’ll actually enjoy their updates, for the most part (you don’t have to hate everybody in your news feed, 80% is plenty). Just consider not adding people from time to time, especially if you only meet them for a brief nightly experience (not that, well, including that).
Cut back on these connections and experience what it was like as little as ten, fifteen years ago. Collect experiences, not Facebook friend requests. They’ll provide you with a much better picture in the long term.
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