I have to admit, I originally joined Facebook as a way of keeping tabs on my teenager a little bit. You see, I had some friends come to me about some of his postings and so rather than being put in this awkward position time and time again, I decided to join and see it all first hand. That first week I was on there, I didn’t do much. I had five friends and I was thrilled. I mentioned this to my son and he was like “So what? I have 179.” My only thought was, “You’re going down!” It became my mission to seek out old friends.
I am one of the masses that moved away from where I grew up. I am 500 miles away. I went to the ten year reunion but not the twenty. Honestly, there weren’t that many people at the tenth that I even wanted to see and those that I did want to see and catch up with, weren’t there. The introduction of social networks make it possible to have your reunions with the people that you actually want to – one on one. I was thrilled to catch up with so many people. It works out great when your female friends list themselves with their maiden names because it makes them easier to find. I neglected to do that at first and it wasn’t until someone noticed my hometown listing and then contacted me and asked if I was who she thought I was! Then I got on board and hyphenated my married last name with my maiden name. The two combined make me sound like a mafia princess! I’ve gotten many jokes about it.
As my number of friends increased and I would brag about it to my child, he would ask, “So what? How many do you actually talk to each day?” Well, not many but for me, it was more about just reconnecting, if even for a day and just seeing how everyone is, how their lives turned out, are they married? Do they have kids? Did they do what they always talked about doing? This satisfied my curiosity and I was free to move on. For the most part, most of the people I chatted with felt the same way, “Hey, how are you? Good to see you! Great pictures! You look the same!’ Blah, blah, blah. Everyone walks away happy.
But there is a danger lurking here. The danger of the people who still want to be 18 again and want to insinuate themselves in to your life. You don’t even noticing it happening, at first. You find yourself getting a little caught up in the ‘Remember when’s’ and next thing you know, you’re no longer just chatting on your walls, you’ve exchanged phone numbers. Then e-mails. Before you know it, you’re planning a get together. Again, this is not always a BAD thing. The key is, how well did you used to KNOW this person?
I got re-acquainted with a group of friends from the high school band. Yes, we were band nerds. We were having a great time catching up and reminicing about the old times when one in the group suggested a reunion with the band nerds. Great! Sounds like fun. Well, this person proceeded to e-mail all of us daily with suggestions and when she did not get a prompt enough reply, she would get snippy and insulting. Then the phone calls started. It hit a point that out of around 12 of us, only three were even considering going. The other nine even de-friended her on Facebook! I was hitting that point. Plans changed from a get together in Atlanta to a cruise. That was when I backed out. She got crazed. She called several times a day, e-mailed me, left messages telling me that she’d find a way for me to go. What she wasn’t getting, no matter how much I explained it was that I did not WANT to go. Now I’m fearful because she has all of my contact information and my address! Who knows, I could open my door one morning and there she’d be!
In the end, I had to get drastic in stopping her. She would not listen to my words – in either verbal or written form – and so I blogged about it. I knew she was an avid reader of my blog. She got the point. She tried to e-mail me and blame me for hurting her feelings, but I held firm. No means no, no matter what the situation. As it turned out, several of the friends from earlier who had de-friended her, had identical situations as me.
Finding old friends is a great thing. Knowing when to back off, is another. I am thankful for these sites that make friend finding possible. Remember, you do have the option to NOT accept a friend request. Unfortunately, you have no idea if someone is crazy until after the fact. Proceed with caution and be careful how much information you put out there until you are certain of how much you want to re-ignite the friendship.