Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Friends on facebook

I don't recall how I ever came to sign up on facebook.

I've been finding myself going on there more and more lately and typing in names of old friends and acquaintances to see if they're on facebook.

It's become a bit addicting.

"Whatever happened to Gary?" I'd wonder. "Is Scott on facebook? Cindy? Nathan? Jennifer?" I would type in their names. Some friends I haven't seen in years. We were such close friends at one point in time, and then came moves across country or marriages and we lost touch. I look there to reconnect.

Most of the time, I don't find anyone on there, but on occasion when I do find them, I select Add Friends next to their name and wait for them to confirm and accept me as their friend. Sometimes they don't show their face in the facebook photo so I can only guess if it's them or not by their name and location only.

It's like I'm 9 years old! I sit there wiggling in my seat in anticipation for them to say, "yes, I confirm we are friends!"

I feel bashfully vulnerable.

Nearly everyone confirms yes, but then there are a few I haven't heard back from. And when after a fews days have slipped by without receiving confirmation from them, a bit of an uncomfortable anquish starts to stir in me.

It's silly to feel that way. I know that. Confirming or not confirming friends on facebook does not constitute real life. So I allow those silly feelings to quickly dispurse from me.

Maybe they're not online and haven't seen my invite yet. Or that wasn't them after all .. just someone who shares the same name.

I am reminded back in time when we moved across town into another house and into a different school. I was 9 years old.

I knew no one.

So one saturday morning, feeling bored and lonely without my old friends around, I walked down past our barn and through the apple orchard and carefully climbed through the barb wire fence at the end of our property and entered the new residential neighborhood. I was determined to meet and make new friends that day.


"Do you have any kids my age?" I would ask parents door to door.

Ya wanna play? I would ask whenever a kid answered the door.
Ya wanna be friends? I'd ask another.
And they always said, yes and that was that.

When I was 9, I hadn't learned that deep, all-encompassing inner space of feeling self-conscious that I feel even now.

There was never any second guessing. I simply asked and we were instant friends..

On facebook... in some sort of small way, reconnecting with friends is sorta like being 9 all over again. You can't be friends without first extending the invitation and without the other party confirming they want that, too.

By the way, this is not an advertisement. It's just me chatting nervously and squirming around while waiting back to hear from some old friends from long ago. If you'll excuse me ... I'm gonna get back online and see if they connected.

And who knows, maybe I'll see you in there, too! I hope so.


Janet said...

I don't have the facebook thing...I don't know much about it, and I'm REALLY too bashful to do it, I guess.
But, I know how you feel...and getting to know a few close blog friends thru Illustration Friday, has sorta fulfilled my childhood wish of wanting a pen pal!

Jannie aka Chickengirl said...

Hey I am on facebook! Friend me!

Facebook is a funny thing. Sometimes the unexpected person shows up out of no where and its good to keep in touch. Sometimes, I don't want to be found :-P

doodlegirl said...

Ooops! I hope I haven't confused you janet into thinking that facebook is a place where you meet new friends. It's actually a place to connect with friends you already know. If you ever become brave and sign up, I would be happy to friend you.

Yay Chickengirl! I'm goin' on there right this minute and friending you! See you in facebook!

Michele Miles said...


Yep, I often wish I were that brave kid I once was - able to look people in the eye and say just what I wanted; totally unselfconcious while wearing a bathing suit (and what the heck, toss off that silly top while I'm at it); able to skip down a street when I was happy or throw a tantrum when I wasn't.

All the fears I've had to fight through only started to cling to my brain around the teen years. Fortunately, the older I get the less fears I have. But I still am not brave enough to knock on a stranger's door and say, "Hey, you wanna play?"

Like you, I also get queasy about being accepted online. Life's weird, huh? Did you, as that nine-year-old, ever imagine something so easy as saying "hi" (virtually or any other way) would be such a struggle?

violetismycolor said...

I have a facebook account, too, but almost never go on it. I find it hard enough to keep up on my blogging and my blogfriends...

platitudinal said...

I love your story as a 9 year old. I love your story as your today's self too. I don't have a Facebook but I often feel insecure when I feel not accepted. I tried telling myself that it's not so excruciating that I would die from it. Some days work, some days don't.

*I hope this doesn't sound silly: I think you're brilliant and I am naming you as a Brilliant Blogger.

danny said...

Another great blog Shawn! I don't have a Facebook account because of this clunky computer, but I hope to upgrade soon.
Your story as a 9 year old is sooo cute!
If I had answered the door I'd "okay! wanna play ping-pong?"

doodlegirl said...

Hi Michele! You asked a really good question. As a 9-year-old, I really believed that once I turned into a grownup, I would never be shy and, in fact, be extra smart and would have a large vocabulary I would draw from whenever I talked to other grownups. I'm still waiting for those two things.

Violet... I so understand what you're saying! It's like with TV shows. I'm not watching The Mole this season because it would be one more thing to fill my overfilled days with as it is.

Danny, if you woulda asked me to play ping-pong, I would have thought that was the coolest thing! I didn't know anyone with a ping pong table when I was 9!

And sweet luci. Ms. Plat. Thank you so much for naming me as a Brilliant Blogger. You make my heart soar. Thank you for that.

Doodlestreet said...

You are the total ROCKIN' NESS, COOLEST, way BeSteSt pal in the world to me right now!! If not for you, I would have not signed up and found my way cool buddy JEFF!! Thank you again, Shawn, for sharing your thoughts on your blog, and inspiring us to reach out to those days of the past and people in our lives. A bright star you are!
I'm so thankful to find my ol' friend-- I'm so happy and all THANKS TO YOU!

Yup...yer my hero. :o)