Only after I stopped, did I realize how much I loathe Facebook. Yes, it’s easy to use. Yes, it allows contact with people you haven’t talked to for years. Yes, it’s great for announcing events or life changes. Yes it’s instant and global.
And yet I hate it. What kind of “communication tool” cuts you off when you try to start a new paragraph? Or worse, when, in a single paragraph, you’ve exceeded your maximum word count? What kind of communication tool is purposefully formatted to obstruct meaningful dialogue? And if I’m using it to connect without connecting, what does that say about my friendships? It breeds suspicion.
Rule 3 of 3 in my son’s first grade classroom reads: “I will be everyone’s friend.” It’s an important rule for first grade, and I wholly support it.
In first grade.
Though even in first grade there are kids my son says “aren’t nice.” And I have no doubt that after lunchtime, when he shifts into his end-of-the-day-overwhelmed-manic-six-year-old-boy-who outweighs-his-classmates-by-20-lbs-mode, the other kids have learned (the smarter ones, anyway) to keep their distance. And rightfully so. Not everyone is meant to be friends. Some acquaintances distort you. Some build you up. Some challenge you to you grow. Some challenge you only to see what they can destroy. Part of growing up is learning to make choices about healthy living. Perhaps I will add that to my high school rule’s list. Or to my own. Which might look something like this:
I will make good choices. I will be kind (to myself and others and growing things and inanimate objects). I will make a list of what not to do so I have time to make good choices and energy to be kind. I will be a friend to my friends. I will be a friend to myself.
And then I’ll steal one of my son’s other classroom rules. “I will tell the truth.” Which is part of my dislike of Facebook. There is something, not quite malicious, but potentially destructive in a Facebook interaction. Or so it feels to me. Something questionable. Like a peep-hole, or an eavesdropped conversation. Like a piece of information you have that you shouldn’t. And that you wish you didn’t. Someone else’s question caught in your teeth, that you’re not allowed to ask.
And I know it’s true in reverse. Not everyone wants to be my friend. And having lived with myself for 37 years, I can appreciate why.