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Making and keeping friends on facebook

The Oxford dictionary’s definition of friendship reads like this - a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations.

Of course, one may safely presume this was before the advent of facebook and orkut. Scour your friend's list and you chance upon everyone from bosses, exes, current squeezes, colleagues, siblings, parents and grandparents. While social networking has played a part in redefining friendship, it does pose problems from time to time.

In one single move, facebook offered parents what they were seeking all their lives - being friends with their children. Remember how corny it sounded when someone went around parroting ‘my dad’s like my friend’? How their premonition has come true. It  sometimes also turns friendships into an ego battle. You talk, you chat, you gossip, but wait for each other to send a friend request. And those guys who tell you to add them on facebook. Do I look bereft of all company that I can’t do without your confirmation? The gall of those people.

Back in the day, it took time to nurture a friendship. You could study with someone throughout school and still manage only a mandatory handshake and a best of luck under mumbled your breath on graduation day. The upside was you lost touch with the morons you prayed and wished you would never have to encounter again. The downside was you also lost touch with the good people. Which is why reunions covered themselves in such glory.

Now, that element of surprise is lost. Have you been there, when you saw a classmate after ages and gasped at the weight they’d lost (mostly gained, truth be told)? The movie Keeping the Faith where Ben Stiller and Edward Norton discover that their childhood buddy has transformed into a goddess would not have been possible in the era of facebook. It was possible only before facebook, when time was given a free rein to spring a surprise on you. Add someone on your list and their lives unfold in front of you daily. These days, conversations begin with ‘hey I saw your photo on fb’. The other aspect of social networking is how easy friendships are formed. A mere glance, a handshake or an introduction is reason enough for someone to add you. 

In the days before social networking, friendships were a tad more complex. It took more than an ounce of courage to chat up a pretty girl. Now, you can add that pretty girl as a friend just like that! When you fought, you sometimes took years to make up. Cold stares and shoulders were the order of the day. How can you give someone a cold shoulder on facebook? What does one do these days when they have an argument or falling out? Simple really. Just delete the person of their list. Adding and deleting friends on facebook is the adult equivalent of ‘say say’ ‘two two’, that game we played as kids. Then what does one do if a person adds you back? Here’s where things get complicated. All it requires is the click of a button but it causes you to ruminate and lose sleep over a trivial issue.

Another strange occurrence is the advent of facebook only friends. These people with whom striking up a conversation in real life is unthinkable. And of course, special mention has to be made of morons who avoid you in real life but add you as a friend.

But the biggest misconception of all is that a friend on facebook is a friend for real. It gives you a false notion of popularity. One can have a thousand friends on their list and still find themselves all decked up on a Saturday night with no company for the ride. Nothing can make up for an afternoon spent reminiscing and recalling old times with some good food and drink for company. Friendship isn’t as simple as facebook makes it out to be.

It is said that a friend is someone who knows all about you and still likes you. Not just someone who clicks on the ‘like’ button every now and then.


  1. I chanced upon your blog and absolutely loved spending the last few hours reading it ! I was recently accused of being a 'tech noob' when I expressed my desire to delete my facebook account in order to stop judging people by their digital identities. It was very refreshing to read this post of yours ! Great job :)


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