I love how the modern concept of making friends means adding someone to a list on some poxy website.

Last week some stranger was railing at me because I removed him/her from my “friends” list on a popular website. I had confirmed their request to add me a week previously because when they requested my friendship I’d confused them with someone I already knew, whom I assumed had lost access to their account or had to change it because they’d attracted some lame stalker due to adding random people to their profiles as “friends”. This person then sat silently on my friends list until I noticed they weren’t who I thought they were and removed them. No contact. No “Hi, thanks for adding me.” No attempt at trying to actually make “friends”. Yet on removal they adopt this offended act.

So this is what passes for “friendship” these days? No wonder the suicide rate has shot up. These people must be incredibly loney, but then aren’t we all? Since adding some of my long.term friends to Facebook they have withdrawn all other contact with me. I’ve since removed a few as they ignored my personal messages despite bombarding me on a daily basis with notifications and application requests. This phenomena is worse, I feel, than those “friends” who used to send you nothing but lame email forwards of unfunny funnies, vomit inducing prayers and “Bill Gates will give $1 to Tiny Tim for every friend you forward this to” voluntary spam.

I realise now that for me the novelty of Facebook ended quite some time ago and I continue to use it as it seems to be the only way to keep in contact with some of my so-called friends.

Should these people really matter? Normally I’d say no. Get some new friends, better friends. However online social networking sites are such a ingrained part of modern society that it’s hard to find people who have slid into this mire. Modern life is so full of tacky gimmicks and manipulative devices designed to sedate and homogenise the populace that it’s so easy to just let yourself be lead into these pens for the sake of an easy life. Though I’m not sure life gets any easy and it’s certainly not very rewarding.

I’m not going to do what I would have done in the past and remove myself from all these offending situations, avoiding and scorning the people I know within and hidng in a self-made cave for a few months feeling sorry for myself and hating the world. I just alienate people who probably don’t deserve it, make myself bitter and put on weight from comfort-eating mushrooms. However I’m getting very tired of these places and the shallow commercial relationships built there. I need to talk with people face-to face. Share blood, sweat and tears with people (HIV test results pending), go to the pub for a laugh, go for walks etc etc. Exclusively online friendships are shite. Especially if conducted solely through the medium of the social networking site. It’s not right, don’t you people see? This is no friendship and calling it such is insulting to the whole concept, not to mention unhealthy.

Phone your friends on those sites, or if you don’t like phones then save up and go and visit them. If you can’t step up their friendship level with them in this manner then perhaps you need to ask yourself if they are really friends? If you were in dire staits would they lend you a tenner ’til pay day? Would they come see you if you were grieving? Would they send a gift to your wedding? Would they show up to your funeral?

Talk to them, like real people talk. Find out who they really are. What they really like, what scares them. If they aren’t up to their level of conversation with you or ignore you… remove them. Having three great friends on your ‘friends list’ is better than 350 shallow morons you don’t even know.

There are guides giving you tips on “How to Double Your Friends List”. I’ve just told you how to halve yours. It’s better in the long run.

Friendship is important. Don’t turn it into another shallow commercial concept.

Something to say?