Proper Facebook Etiquette

#709 A new friendship with an old friend…

Monday 12th January, 2009

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I’ve not heard from a friend of mine since school days – when I had to openly dislodge her incessant needy behaviour. I recently met her again in our home town at a new years eve party. We’re both older now, but I still have misgivings about how clingy she might be, especially as she insisted on friending me on Facebook during the party! So it turns out its New Year, but could it also be the start of a new friendship?

Recently I shared a similar situation to yours. I had gone out to this event – some work/research related get together and there were introductions to numerous new bright and shiny people. One however made clear that his intentions were not as he had established a platonic and work based friendship, but followed up with a stalker-esque barrage of texts, calls, messages, relentless Wall Posts and even managed to find my home address. You do not need to imagine how easy it is for an ‘on watch’ and ‘vigilant’ surveillance style that your life can become and all from what had started as a seemingly casual introduction. Oh how I wished I had stayed in with a packet of roasted nuts and pyjamas on the sofa that night.

Your social situation has the potential to fall swiftly into a similar on-a-social-surveillance-monitoring. One that boarders on the ‘eek that’s weird’ and potentially intimidating. One also wonders how people find the time, but it’s nice to have a fan. You mention that you were ‘friends’ from school days, but that you had to openly cut her out of your immediate circle as you felt uncomfortable with the ‘closeness’ of your relationship. As children it is all too easy to be caught up in playground games and contests of ‘s/he is my friend not yours’. As you point out you ARE now both ‘older’ and I would take it ‘wiser’. At a New Years party its easy to get caught up in the moment and it is likely that as you have not seen each other for such a time that she (and I suspect you) were enthused to be back in touch, but also a little apprehensive about what this meant for the dimensions of your friendship. Clearly you are not the same people that were back in school and so it follows that you will not have the same style relationship. To be caught up in the moment could explain her enthusiasm to ‘friend’ you there and then on Facebook. That and there was a convenient laptop and/or innovative mobile technology at the party to allow you to do this. If you have not already accepted her friend-request and have misgivings you could ‘ignore’ this action. As you have not seen each since school it is unlikely you’re going to bump into each other on a day-by-day basis. if you have already accepted the request then you can set your Profile settings to reveal only the information that you want to reveal so that she has access to your social information, but does not know what are doing 24/7. You might like the opportunity to see what she also is up to and the type of person that she has become.

Like you because my acquaintance was forged in the fairly casual surrounds of a party atmosphere your guard tends to be ‘down’, or at least more relaxed after that glass of champagne. Whilst your own apprehensions could be completely justified, you must acknowledge that they could be equally unfounded. Admittedly a nod, a shake of the hand and a ‘how are you doing’ is less intensive than ‘lets be friends on Facebook now’ scenario, but there’s also a silliness and suitably light-hearted approach that fits with a New Years atmosphere of new beginnings etc. So long as she did not pursue you hitherto under the mistletoe, or talk your head off all night I think you might be ‘safe’ this time round to accept her friendship and go from there.

Ignoring her might make her ‘go away’ this time round, but it might also mean missing out on a grown-up and worthwhile friendship further down the road.

One Response to “#709 A new friendship with an old friend…”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m interested in the quickness of Facebook – the way everyone can see changes instantly – illconsidered changes can have a big impact
    My advice keep off when drunk, depressed or on drugs

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