The Last Straw

I don’t believe in New Year resolutions. I actually don’t believe in New Year’s. The idea that you can reinvent yourself just because the clock strikes midnight has never sat well with me. Judging by the amount of people who don’t stick to their New Year resolutions, I guess it doesn’t sit well with them either.

But this year I have one.

I am going to stop using Facebook.

At the moment Facebook to me feels like a soap opera that I’ve lost interest in but still keep watching because I can’t quite help it and there’s nothing else to do at 5 p.m. A guilty pleasure that isn’t even pleasurable anymore, like the way I felt about cigarettes just before I quit smoking.

What finally did it was a post this weekend from someone who I once counted as one of my best friends.

You know the kind of post I mean – the one where they tell you that soon they will be culling their friends list and if you don’t respond to their post you won’t make the cut.

It made me so angry. Probably because of the guy who posted it. So I needed to vent – mainly by composing an angry speech in my head while I cleaned the bathroom.

That’s not what friendship is about. If I have to like your post to keep your friendship, then I don’t really want it. If I have to validate your view points in public, then that’s not friendship. When was the last time you and your wife accepted my invitation to coffee or dinner? Or when was the last time you accepted and didn’t cancel at the last minute? Oh yes, there’s a reason I say you used to be one of my best friends.

Friendship is moving a meeting to take your friend’s son to the movies when his vacation starts early and mum has a tight deadline to meet and has to stay at work.

Friendship is being happy to stand up all evening in an apartment with no furniture to welcome a friend back to the city.

Friendship is mother still sending a Christmas card to the couple who for whatever unknown reason haven’t spoken to my parents for ten years, because she promised the woman’s mother she would never break the connection.

Friendship is meeting for coffee, talking on the phone, going shopping. It’s being there for each other. Being genuinely engaged in someone’s life.

Facebook friends aren’t friends. They’re barely Christmas card list people. So why am I still following these people? I don’t know them. Most of them I will never see again. I wish them all the best, but I honestly don’t care what they did New Year’s Eve or that their partner took them to the opera for date night.

Maybe because it would feel rude to unfriend them and I was raised to be polite to strangers. Or because I care what these people I barely know and will never see again think of me.

It really is like a soap opera. Just without people getting drunk and sleeping with their brothers-in-law. Actually that would be more interesting.

I’ll bet I can find something else to do at 5 p.m.

My genuine friends will still be here. I can hang out with them.


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