Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ask Amanda Jane: Facebook Friendship Fizzle?


Dear Amanda Jane,
How do I handle my friend who over-shares on Facebook? She has posted about trying to get pregnant, being pregnant, and now tons of baby posts... baby questions, baby pictures, and videos of her baby. I unfollowed her, but now when I talk to her she will refer to pictures on her Facebook that she assumes I have seen. I'm close to just slowly letting this friendship fizzle away because I'm more annoyed with her than I enjoy her friendship.
   -Just a Facebook Friend?

Just a Facebook Friend,
Somebody once told me, “Don’t worry if your baby is ugly you’ll never be able to tell yourself. You’re too close to it.” I think this same principle often applies to somebody that overshares on Facebook. Usually it is coming from a place of such pure excitement that they don’t even realize they’ve become “that” friend—in other words they’re too close to the action to realize how grotesque their oversharing has become. Eventually, most rational people will realize that it is time to self-edit (or start a blog) once the “likes” become fewer and further between (or only consist of Grandma). For most people, if you give them a little leeway, once the excitement wears off they’ll return to socially acceptable levels of sharing. However, in the case of serial, unrepentant over-sharers, the tactic of “unfollowing” is a perfectly acceptable and humane option for a friendship that you’re not quite ready to completely “unfriend.” Un-following someone stops action shots of “Gracie’s first poopy diaper” from routinely hijacking your feed, yet allows you the option to check in with them (when you feel like clicking through countless 3-D ultrasound pictures).
That being said, I think the bigger issue here isn’t the constant unnecessary updates but the actual value of this friendship in your life today. Our parent’s generation had it good—back in the day, you could send out a Christmas card and catch up every ten years at a high school reunion and call it good. Social media has allowed us a platform to maintain and cultivate friendships like no other time in history. But the truth of the matter is, even as adults we grow, change and evolve and really only keep a select handful of friends with us for the long-haul. Facebook often times puts us in the awkward position of trying to maintain interest in friendships that we’ve outgrown. Friendships that long would have faded in any other era. In so many ways social media connections stunt our ability to evolve through life because we are constantly tethered to people that aren’t immediately contributing to the life we are living now. So, you have to think of this friendship in terms of both its short and long-term value to you. What does this friendship mean to you in the long run? If burning all bridges would be a loss to you in some way, don’t unfriend, just unfollow. It’s important to realize that many of our Facebook friends from the past are nothing more than “Christmas card list” friends, and that’s okay.

Amanda Jane

We are currently working on a page where you will be able to submit your own etiquette question anonymously, but if you would like to send one now you can email it to girlspearlsandpowder@gmail.com, with the subject line "Ask Amanda Jane". We look forward to your questions.

No comments:

Post a Comment

+ + + + + +