I think we all know what I mean by the title, which is really a case in point.  In fact it’s such a common thing that I’m sure someone else has already written about it somewhere.  But I haven’t seen anything, and this has been on my mind for awhile now so I figured it was worthy of a rant.

Facebook friends are not always real friends.

There.  I said it.  You know it’s true.  Some people are more guilty than others, and there are even the odd few who manage to keep their circle clean, but most of us have given in to that request notice without a second thought on several occasions, happy to add to our collection of “Facebook friends” despite the fact that we barely know these people, if at all.  Maybe some of us have even sent those requests, based on the idea that the person on the receiving end is a “friend of a friend”.  Maybe you do it out of the belief that you will eventually become friends, or maybe you convince yourself that’s why you do it, or maybe you’ve accepted long ago that you do it for the friend count.

Whatever the case, it’s annoying.  I mean really, is there an easier way of flaunting your insecurities regarding being popular?  How many of these people do you even know?  And no, it doesn’t count if you met them one time at a party like a month ago, or you’ve seen them around school a few times.  Does it really matter that the number of “friends” you have is in the hundreds?  Does it make you feel better about yourself, seeing those likes rolling in?

Don’t you see how messed up that is?  We’ve literally started collecting people, like it’s some sort of competition how many “friends” you have, how many likes you get.  This introduction of social media into our lives has broadened our reach, but in our excitement we’ve begun to reach farther than we can manage, so excited to make use of this lift on our limitations that we grab things without thought, not to make use of them but simply to be able to say you have them.

It’s dangerous, too.  Blindly feeding our egos, we risk losing sight of what real friendship is, trading in quality for quantity.  I’m sure a lot of you might argue no harm no foul, but you’d be wrong.  The addictive quality aside, think about how you’re not only giving into and feeding but also promoting these insecurities, and about how shallow this is making us.  You shouldn’t be using Facebook (and other forms of social media) to fuel and encourage this want for the approval of others, particularly strangers.  As if most of us don’t already have enough trouble with our own insecurities and feeling like we need to prove ourselves, now you want to add onto that?

I guess I’ll wrap this up by saying the next time you receive a friend request from someone you don’t know very well or at all, either dismiss it or make an actual effort to become that person’s friend, and not just their Facebook friend.  And maybe go through your friend list and weed out all those numbers, leaving only the people.  Because that’s what we are, no matter how hard we seem to try to forget that.  We’re people.  Not numbers.

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