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Friday, June 9, 2017


Here’s something that I just don’t get. A person, maybe someone you went to high school with, sends a Facebook friend request but then, isn’t into a casual exchange of introductory messages.

What might an opening volley of demi-friendship from me look like?
Hello Jeannette,

Nice to hear from you. I see that you live in Sheboygan now. What brought you there from the town you grew up in? What do you like best about living in Wisconsin? I’ve never been to your state.

My inaugural missive seems to scare some folks. Is there an assumption that my friendly salvo is a grossly intrusive Let's-be-BESTIES! attempt?

I’m hardly looking to forge an Edith Wharton/Henry James level penpal relationship. Nope, my aim is to be a little friendly, to gain a basic knowledge of this new connection/acquaintance. You know, the online equivalent of a handshake and party patter. If things naturally, organically lead to more contact/a closer deal – great – but it's not something I'm necessarily looking for OR pushing by any means.

One person in particular, Jeannette actually, went all careful-remote, don’t-come-any-closer, stiff on me. She couldn’t have conveyed I don’t want to talk to you/know you – keep your distance any more clearly. Yet she’s the one who sent me the friend request! I don’t get it.

I had a hunch and checked her profile – how many friends does she have? 900+ Wow, that’s a lot. Why would anyone have that many “friends?”

For some it’s a networking thing. My pal MB (who really IS a friend of mine) has that many Facebook connections too. She’s a big, BIG wheel in the printing biz – a print industry celeb even.

Another chum, Martin Millar, is a popular author. His mondo friend list is populated by fans and followers of his fabulous prose.

Then there’s the girl I went to high school with who has more than 1,000 Facebook friends.  From viewing her feed, I came to understand that the hefty number is all about insecurity and, mebbe, sadness. Collect a mob of online friends and feel less alone?

What about Jeannette? I imagine it’s a networking thing or an attempt at one but her feed doesn’t seem terribly focused. That is, every couple of days there’s a biz related post (she’s somehow involved in elder care) but apart from that, it’s the same sort of stuff that any of us randos would share – political columns, pet, garden and kid pics, the occasional statement, photos from nights out, etc.

She’s made it clear that a King Kong arm's length away is too damn close. So then, WUT UP with the friend request? I don’t live in her area so wouldn’t use her elder-care services. Was it a delphic attempt to create a warm, supportive audience of fans/friends? Did she just want me to be a follower?

It could be that my chummy, conviviality – my fluorescence – just plain freaks her out. FYI – extroversion does NOT equal neediness.

Yes, we’re still connected on ShoutyFace. Though I don’t understand her KEEP-AWAY, KEEP-AWAY ‘tude, I do like some of her posts. Plus, she’s an odd, curious duck. I think I'm passively looking for clues as to who she really is.

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