Facebook friends are AWESOME. (Insert smiley face, emoticon, tag, etc.) Until they’re not.
My FB friends list, probably much like yours, includes old friends, new friends, friends of friends, friends I’ve never met and likely never will but we somehow got connected on FB friends, work friends, and so on. Most of these connections are rewarding. Some are practically nonexistent (Uncle Joe who signed up because his kids told him to and then has never returned). Some are thought-provoking and even challenging.
And then there are the almost unbearables.
Younger people seem more comfortable with blocking someone on Facebook, sending them to that nowhereville where even their incessant Farmville updates won’t reach you. I have only ever blocked one person, and that was for personal attacks that I won’t tolerate in any forum. But, blocking seems so complete and permanent and . . . well, mean.
I have a few Facebook friends that I wish I could soft-block. They aren’t annoying or pissy so much as they just don’t get me. I have annoying and pissy friends who get me, and I really don’t mind them so much. They can disagree with my politics or views on religion or sexual mores, but they understand who I am and we keep a safe distance or tango only as a dance and not a war. It’s the ones who interact with me as if they haven’t a clue about any aspect of my life that cause me irritation.
These are people I can’t block for various reasons. Perhaps they’re connected to far too many other people in my circle, or they are professional colleagues, or they’re family. (I can hear the buzz now — “Is she talking about me?” Just to set the record straight, no. No, I’m not. I’m not talking about you.) For some reason, I just can’t drop them on the chopping block.
Mostly, I keep them around because I figure it says more about me than it does them if I can’t tolerate them. And I guess that’s the beauty I find in Facebook; it is teaching us to interact with each other in completely new ways. My little inner communications major observes this like a sociologist studying mob mentality.
We may piss each other off. But, we’re connected. And somewhere in that is a truly beautiful gift.