There was a time a few years ago when you would meet someone insignificant and they would be history soon after. There was a time when you could break up with someone and not still be privy to everything that was going on in his/her life.
Nowadays everyone has the potential to stick around. This holds true for people in your high school that you barely talked to, or random friends of friends you met once at a party. People now have the ability to call up others’ lives at the click of a mouse, people that otherwise would have vanished.
There are certainly positive things about taking part in such a social network. Staying in touch with friends and family is great, and Facebook has other benefits that I’m sure you’re all aware of. But realistically, I think staying in touch has been taken too far.
Most of all, I think the Facebook connection wreaks havoc on recovery time after many breakups. I have seen many friends unable to move on after the end of a relationship, in part because they can see everything that is going on in the other person’s life. Facebook leaves ties to people that should naturally disintegrate.
It will fully be realized for another decade, but I also think that Facebook is sucking a lot of mystery out of life. High school reunions will no longer be necessary. Why would you travel to see someone you haven’t seen since graduation when you know what they’ve been doing for the past decade?
So, what are the possible solutions to this problem? I carried out what I consider to be one last week. I went through my list of friends and cleaned house, severing my Facebook contacts with people that I don’t remember, I don’t care about and I don’t like.
When I had whittled the number down by 200 people that no longer mattered to me, I felt a little better. Maybe it’s because I added a little bit of mystery back to my life.
I also recognize that this friend-reduction process could be avoided to begin with, which brings me to my second Facebook solution. Discrimination. I never would have had to delete all of those people if I hadn’t added them in the first place.
When friend requests come your way, think about it for a second. If you only met the person once and don’t have any interest in them, don’t bother clicking “confirm.” If you didn’t have any interest in them initially, it’s not worth having their names show up over and over again.
Online social networks have revolutionized the way we interact with others. And while there are numerous potential benefits, there are certainly just as many negative ways in which we are all influenced.
We need to keep in mind that there are some people who are best forgotten.