One-Timing the One Timers

Posted: March 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

Sorry for the delay in posts. Lots to come this week now that I’m back from a great, informal college reunion…And speaking of reunions….here’s the newest post.

I’ve come to realize that a surprisingly sizable chunk of my facebook friends were made in the immediate aftermath of particularly enjoyable weekend/vacation experiences. This is especially true in the immediate post-graduate years, when informal reunions take place in various different cities that are now inhabited by college cronies. Upon visiting, you might meet the roommate of your college buddy and hit it off over a shared sense of nostalgia for the collegiate years. Days later, when you see that you’re tagged with them in seven photos, you either confirm their friendship request or friend them yourself. Another post-school means of meeting people stems from trips to various beach or outdoor-type locations. Organized by one or two individuals who know one another, these events attract people from all across those two individuals’ friend zones. Once everyone gets together at that one person’s summer home, magic ensues and three days later you have like 17 tags and nine new friends.

Unfortunately, as is the defining feature of life after school, those weekends prove transient and there’s a good chance you’ll never encounter anyone you friended from that weekend again. In the almost three years since graduating college, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend weekends in some pretty sweet places and meet some pretty fun people in each of them. I’ve spent weekends at friends homes in Marthas Vineyard and Nantucket. I’ve gone to college football games at Penn State and Ole Miss. I went to the concert festival Bonaroo in rural Tennessee. I hit my second D3 final four in rural Virginia. I’ve spent one or more weekends in Baltimore, DC, Boston and St. Louis and hit weddings in Toronto and Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A friend took me with her family and family friends to Turks and Caicos. And like, any good Jew, I copped the free trip to Israel as part of Birthright. I realize that by listing out essentially each road trip or vacation that I’ve enjoyed over the last almost-three years, I’m probably coming across as boasting about some sort of playboy lifestyle (man, you should have seen Heff’s place in suburban Roanoke!). In fact, take away these adventures and I’ve spent most of my time dealing with screaming seventh graders in the Bronx or angst ridden in my parents basement figuring out if I actually want to go to law school come fall.

In contrast to the challenges/boredom of my own daily grind, the epic weekends spent with those new friends end up representing a rather depressing paradox: how is it possible that the same person balling so hard with 30 year-old FBT’s at the Ole Miss-Alabama game in my facebook pictures is now stuck grading sixth grade tests on Mesopotamia or freaking out about how to spend the next 50 years of my life? But what’s even more daunting is that your interaction with the hot and poised friend-of-a-friend at a Nantucket dance party represents the ONLY time you’ve ever interacted with that individual. This, in turn, induces profound feelings of inadequacy. Someone told me that a study confirmed that there is a direct correlation between high numbers of facebook friends and anxiety and these experiences with one-time friends explain why. You know the people from these weekends only as they were that weekend and as the identity they portray on facebook. If you’re close friends with someone in real life, you can look at their tanned photos and know they’ve de-tagged the other 900 to avoid casual virtual friends from detecting their generally more albino essence. You can call bullshit on their status updates and chuckle to yourself about how their About Me completely contradicts their true self. But with the one-timers, you can’t do this because you don’t really know them and all that you do know of them confirms their dynamism, since you met them under special circumstances.

This is increasingly becoming a dilemma and in coming posts, I’ll describe a lot of these one-time friends and explain how cutting them induces great feelings of self-doubt.

I have like seven days to cut 210 people. We’ll see if I can do it in time…Check twitter @500fewerfriends and keep posting comments. I vow to be more prolific in the week to come.

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Comments
  1. enjoyable weekend/vacation experience companion says:

    in my opinion, this is your most insightful post yet. great material.

    now quit pontificating and go cut at least 30 people! you’d better pick up the pace, son.

    but before you go, three thoughts:

    a hs friend tweeted yesterday that if you and another person share more than 200 mutual friends, it’s time to add them via facebook. how do you feel about circumstantial friending apart from ANY context whatsoever?

    is noticing a name you’ve never seen before on your feed automatic grounds for defriending? this can be the result of grad school or job aspirations, but i find it is increasingly due to marriages to guys i’ve never even heard of.

    i have one friend in particular who shows up on my feed nearly every time i check the ‘book…for adding friends. she has 1960 “friends”. i’m considering starting a blog of my own…500more. think i can ADD 500 new friends in 50 days?!?!

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