Proper Facebook Etiquette

#882 it’s just a FFAD

Saturday 21st August, 2010

Dear Mariann,

I have recently re-friended an old friend. Now we are Facebook buddies (!) despite my contacting them almost daily, they only reply every other day. What gives?! Do they not want to be my friend after all?… Perhaps you could advise as to the best ways in which to keep their attention. Or is my Facebook working right?

From J.Whale via numerous Facebook messages.

Mr Whale, to put it bluntly they – your re-friended friend – in all likelihood do NOT care what lengths you are going to in order to secure their attentions. In all actuality it has probably fallen well below their radar that you are SHOUTING for attention/s.  Myself, I really appreciate the six messages -sent in the space of an hour – and the purposefulness of their content.

I can assure you that YES your Facebook account is working just fine (thanks for the repeated Pokes too), in terms of a compose, send and receive status. I must apologies because there was a time lag (of a necessary twenty minutes) in the first instance of my having received your messages, during which time  I was reading, and re-reading, what you had sent to my inbox. If, as I suspect that you are, sending this volume of mail, amongst other Facebook ‘things’ to you re-friended friend, then you must expect there to be a suitable time lag in their take-up, attention and right to reply. Equally, (I would advise them) there’s is a right not to reply.

Let me put it to you bluntly, in case you are missing my barbed intonation via this post: It is not a tragic crisis of the most enormous magnitude should a ‘friend’ not reply to you as you see fit. Especially when said friend is receiving the volume of pushed stuff as yours. At best, this conveys a sense of arrogance on your part (I am so important, that I demand attentions NOW) and, at worst, a latent needy desperation (validate me, love me, acknowledge me…) *shudder*

In short, what you are experiencing is a pervasive Facebook friendship anxiety disorder (FFAD). It’s a FFAD.  Left alone it can be rather self-destructive and leave you with an ever-dwindling proportion of ‘stuff’ in your inbox and friends in your network/s. At the astronomical rate at which you ‘send to receive’ shouts – a mind-boggling rate – is more off-putting than charming. A bit like a wee terrier that is on heat and who won’t get off your leg. Or, rather that they are getting off on your leg, only without your permission.

There are many areas where you can improve: Ofcom this week considers – via their annual Communication Report – that we are more media mediated than ever before. Fine, but do not let this take over your real sense of ‘friend/ship’. I’ve been hearing more and more FFAD cases like yours from the most delightful of people when up close and personal, then put them behind a screen and their usual faculties become pushed aside for one reason or another. They become a needy friend, which is a sure pre-empter to defriend status.

There are a myriad of reasons for this most anxiety making state of affairs. As with so many other ‘issues’ we experience in everyday life, a lack of reciprocation is a huge contribution to problems between and around friends.  As a chronic Facebook users myself I can empathise with your assumption that everyone else is ‘the same’ in terms of how they pick up on communication details, but this is hardly a ‘healthy’ status for the ultimate friend-factor.   In the absence of strong friendly ties with your particular re-friend, I am urging you to back (the hell) off! Let there be a little rest bite between your interchanges. No friend is good enough to exaggerate one’s own needy self-destruction. Trust me. Now is the time to strategically keep your distance, and may I suggest that you log out from Facebook for all of ten minutes at a time.

One Response to “#882 it’s just a FFAD”

  1. Ian says:

    My daughter does not like me friending her friends. I have just made a Facbook a/c and know I’ll have more friends than her but I want to see whats going on. Great to see that I’m so much better than those I was at school with BTW

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