I’m sorry you haven’t heard from me in a while. I’ve been recovering from the deaths of so many good friends this year. From Homeland to the House of Cards, to Scandal and, most tragically, The Good Wife. I also am having a hard time believing Sue Sylvester actually succeeded in closing down the Glee Club for good. I really, really miss Rob and Rashida on Parks and Recreation. And I’m preparing to assist Sam tomorrow in his grief over the end of HIMYM.
But what’s really got me confused is the way we say goodbye to friendships in real life these days (not that Will Gardner wasn’t real. He was to me.) In the old days, we knew we were friends with someone because we hung out after school. These days, the friendships kids (and even adults), exist mainly in the virtual world.
If someone likes your post on Instagram or Facebook, it’s validation that they like you as a person. If they re-tweet, or pin something to Pinterest or snap chat you, I’m sure that’s a good thing too, I just don’t understand how those things work.
If you accept an invitation to Linkedin or agree to play Candy Crush, you are good buds. Playing words with friends with someone means that you are, in fact, friends.
This week, one of my kids noticed that a friend had un-followed him on Instagram. (I am withholding this child’s name as he feels I invade his privacy). This made him incredibly confused because when he last saw this friend in real life, all was fine. What did he do? Why is she not following him anymore?
I recently made my first bold virtual friendship-ending choice. I defriended 2 people on Facebook. It felt exhilarating, even though they may not notice. I feel better knowing our computerized relationship has come to an end.
I recently spoke to a friend who is getting divorced, so she took herself off of Facebook for the time being. And it made me nervous: how will she know what’s going on with me or vice versa? This, even though I have her phone number and we speak at least once a week. And the friends who are not on social media? Dead to me. Well, not really. But what am I supposed to do? Write them a letter?
Aidan, my 5 year old, was recently given his own mini iPad and texting capabilities as a gift for his upcoming 6th birthday. Yes, you read that right. And when all 3 kids went to bed that night, they had a virtual conversation from their rooms that ended in a virtual fight. I know spell check tried to get involved, but to no avail. To read the excerpts it’s quite hilarious. And it’s also sad. When I used to tell my sister I hated her at night, I would just yell it from my bedroom.
Are we too dependent on technology to function in this world on a personal basis? Could I have just had a verbal confrontation with these 2 people and resolved our issues that way? I know there’s bad stuff going on in the world like in Russia and Crimea, and also where the hell is that Malasyian plane? But then I think, did James really have to die? Poor Cyrus. And what will Alicia do now? She doesn’t love Mr Big like she loved Will.
I don’t know the answers. I could call someone or ask Craig sitting next to me what his thoughts are on all this new technology and does he think it adversely affects interpersonal relationships?
But this conversation seem likes a lot of work. I should probably blog about it and discuss it with the many people who know intricate things about my life, but whom I do not know in real life.
Nah, I’ll just Google the answer. It’s a lot easier to do it that way.
**below are some of the kids nighttime chats. Aidan’s comments are in blue. You can see how he clearly hates his sister and lunch, but loves Webkins and can type the B word.