Friday, 18 August 2017

ms-havachat ponders the Annual Clean Up of Facebook Friends

Do you collect Facebook friends or do you stick to only adding people you know in real-life?

How long do you know someone before you add them, or accept their friend request?

Is it ridiculous that even thinking about 'adding a friend' is even part of our thought process?

What do you tell your kids (age relevant) about adding only people they know in real-life to their various social media?

Why do I always feel compelled to write similar chats at this time of year?????????????? I do hope, that as our expat life and experiences have evolved, so have the chats!

As an expat, I think the propensity to collect online friends is much higher that local friends, simple because we have to start over in a new place every few years. The joy of living in the one place for
y-e-a-r-s escapes us, even tho as a child I lived in the same area (two different addresses) ti I moved out of home! Teen hasn't lived in the same city, let alone the same address for more than 3 years!

People are constantly arriving (and leaving) so the friendship circle expands and contracts constantly. The biggest movement happens over summer in the northern hemisphere, as school tends to dictate moves, and again a smaller migration over December for the start of school in January.

This movement of families is like Ground Hogs Day for long time veterans of expat life. There's the orientation day/s at school, where returning parents greet each other with hugs and kisses, and newbies often look like rabbits caught in headlights. I love seeing my friends after holidays but know that it's more important to fix eyes on a newbie and walk over and introduce myself, ask the 20 Questions we've talked about before in previous chats, and see where it goes ............

This is the tricky part - when do you send the Facebook friend request, or indeed, if they send you one right away, do you accept? Are you indeed friends at this point? Do you extend/accept simply to be polite?

It's Girl Dating all over again - is it too soon? Should you wait, and if so, how long? What if someone gets there before you?

It's at this time of year when I feel the urge to do a bit of a clean up, to remove the fair-weather friends ...... do you? Is it rude?

Do you go thru and remove 'friends'?  What motivates you to do this? What thought process do you go thru in deciding who to keep? We don't ditch 'real' friends so easily. How come online friends take up so much time?????????????

Seriously! This subject has been in my head for a few weeks now, so I thought a quick chat with you might help clarify things.

Let's consider things like how you met, how long you've known each other, do you socialise in each others homes or just out'n'about? What do YOU mean by the word Friend? Maybe that's it - maybe it's simply do to with your definition and nothing more.

The good friends I've made over the past decade somehow felt right from the beginning. Sometimes, it's just meant to be.

I guess I'm chatting about the acquaintances, the peripheral friends. There are so many words to describe friendship, just check out the Thesaurus.

Keeping all those words in mind, think about these situations .................

Expat Network:
Friends you've made in places you've lived. You've both moved on, some repatriate, others keep roaming ...... will you ever see them again? If they wrote and said they were coming to town, would you go meet them for coffee? They do come in handy if someone you know is moving to where they've been or are ........ you were friends, hung out together but moved away simply because you're expats.

Common Interests:
Nothing other than a sports club affiliation, or kids dance class, your neighbours who share the taxiing of kids to/from stuff, you're in the same club, or kids in the same class at school, or you're on a committee together. Guess hanging out in a WhatsApp group talking about the specific's of any of the above 'groups' makes sense, but Facebook? Where you share so much of yourself .... do they need to know?????????????

Instant Friend:
You meet at a school function or end up together at lunch, have an enjoyable time and next thing BAM! there's a friend request on Facebook from them. Again, Facebook? Where you share so much of yourself .... do they need to know?????????????

Politically Correct:
You're on the same committee, they are a well respected long-term member of the community, they reached out to you (not the other way round).

Those friends who never comment, never post anything. You wonder why they bother having a Facebook account.

Obligatory Friend:
The one you feel you HAVE to keep; they might be a long-lost cousin or friend from school, might even be an in-law, or someone who's just handy to have for those 'just incase' situations that arise from time to time.

The list goes on ....... just google 'cleaning up Friends on Facebook' and see how many blogs there are on the subject.  There's numerous tips and suggestions. There's even video tutorials showing you how to do it. Clearly a lot of people have the same issues.

Now open your Facebook page BUT COME BACK! - go to your friends list and slowly go thru it - recall when you first met, what you have in common, the last time you hung out together or Skyped, the tone of their posts/comments, the genuineness of the relationship  - if you start to smile, keep them! If not, think twice then consider deleting them (maybe). It's a tough call, right?

Or not!

What about keeping them and building a huge following of '000 like younger people do (gosh, am I old or what?)

Facebook has an option where you group your posts to family, friends, acquaintances etc, but to be honest who could be bothered? We tend to SHOUT OUT all sorts of things to anyone who'll listen, and hope someone will at the very least hit LIKE.

'Unfollow' is a great option as it allows you to remain friends, but you don't see their posts (this comes in handy when political comments take over your feed).

The Annual Clean Up of Facebook Friends tends to happen every summer in my circle. From time to time, I do see people posting that they are going to clean up their friends list and not to take offence if you're ditched. Have you ever done that? How did it go??????????????

Summer comes. People move onto new adventures or repatriate. You know you'll never see them again and that's ok. You genuinely wish them well, but 'outta sight outta mind' is fine too. However, sometimes it's a good idea to keep them handy, cos you never know when you or someone you know will be pondering a move to where they are/have lived and their suggestions might be useful.

Navigating friendships in the real world can sometimes be difficult, and adding online-friendships makes life way more complicated than it needs to be. There's only a handful of people I'm friendly with on Facebook who I've not met - they are other bloggers who I have followed for years and somehow one of us reached out to the other and voila! we're Facebook buddies.

Friends to keep are the ones, who in the real world are there for you; who you spend time with, who make an effort to stay in touch despite the geographical distance

And it's no longer just Facebook - there's Instagram, and Snapchat too among other social media. Navigating these as a business or personality is fraught with danger and so very time consuming, how on earth is the average person supposed to cope? No wonder we're all exhausted before we leave the house in the morning.

My question is not so much do you drop Facebook friends, but WHEN and WHY do you do it?

If you're an expat, how long a time between the farewells and removing or the arrivals and adding them do you wait?

You're suggestions are most welcomed,

Once I work it out, I'll pop back and let you know

With friendship

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