Note: I should add that I am not friends with many of the people I mention below, on Facebook or otherwise. I am still friends with a few, and I think those will be easy to spot. Happy reading!
I have found Facebook to be a most interesting study in human behavior. There is good behavior and, in my humble opinion, there is some very bad behavior. I’d like to describe a few here…
I was friends with this one woman on Facebook that spent every status update describing what she was wearing and how good she looked in the outfit. It wasn’t just a post now and then, it was every post. Here’s an example “I’m really rocking the plaid mini skirt librarian look today!” or “I’m going to garden now wearing nothing but leg warmers and a miniskirt.” Usually her outfits were provocative, for instance one day she was rocking men’s underpants and nothing else. Her profile picture also changed on a weekly basis, all self portraits, and usually taken standing in front of the mirror. These posts were almost always followed by comments from several admirers about how great she looked. Mission accomplished!
She thinks she’s sending out the message “I’m single, young and H O T!“, but if you delve a bit past the candy-coated surface to the red, raw interior, the message is clearly “I’m lonely, have self esteem issues, might be a bit of a narcissist so watch out, and need validation.”
I might post that it’s Friday and I refuse to wear a bra, but I have no delusions that it’s going to turn any man’s head in my direction and I’m certainly never posting any pictures of it.
Another woman changes her profile picture daily. She’s a cute blonde and she makes sure you know how cute she is. She’s into costumes and I found it odd that she hated Burning Man, but to each her own. She’s flirtatious and suggestive and has even gone as far as posting pictures of her Victoria’s shopping spree on her profile page, garnering way too much praise, in my opinion, from male friends on her page. And i am not a prude, so that says something.
None of this would catch my attention, except she’s married and has a small child. That’s the other thing that intrigued me. She disses her husband to the point that you’re left with the impression he’s nothing more than a pussy-whipped loser. Even worse is the fact that her child is one of her Facebook friends and gets to see all of her shenanigans online. To me, that’s just sad.
Then there’s the woman that always posted about some illness she had. “*Friend* is not feeling well today. My tummy hurts!” I think it’s fine to post about ailments once in a while, but every post? Usually her posts are followed by several comments from friends asking “What’s wrong? Can I help? Hope you feel better soon.”
This individual clearly needs the act of sympathy in a large way in order to feel validated. I know her and she’s young and extremely vital, not unhealthy at all. She has since made a clean break and deleted just about all of her friends on Facebook so I’m guessing her real illness is more mental than physical though. That was hard to watch online and not say something. I hope she feels better soon.
One of my friends on here actually does have cancer and she’s undergoing treatment. She uses her Facebook page to keep all of us informed of her progress and she rarely posts. When she does post, she doesn’t whine about how awful it could be. She’s upbeat and positive and always willing to forego talking about herself when a friend needs her more.
I wonder just how stupid my young friend would feel if she knew about her.
Then there’s the militant, older woman that has the world literally resting on her shoulders and likes to post about the injustices of the world and how depressed she always is about it. Whether it’s about killing dolphins or poverty and hunger in the third world it’s always the same Eeyore approach…”woe is me, why are they doing this to *me*?” She never offers a solution, but she always has an opinion and it’s acerbic. She lists her favorite saying as “This ain’t no f*cking Rainbow Gathering!“.
This is someone that likes to draw some very unhealthy attention her way. She exudes this hard edge attitude towards the world in order to cushion herself from getting hurt, even though she’s hurting much more inside than she’ll ever let on. Whenever I read her posts it sounds more like this in my head, “I’m bitter and I need for you to respect me, because no one else does.”
I have another friend on here that posts some of the most meaningful links I ever receive. She’s upbeat and happy and she shares her enthusiasm. She too is worried about the state of the world, but she offers her views with love and a smile. This approach makes digesting and participating in her Facebook world much more desirable to me.
There are some men on here that intrigue me too. How about the older men that flit from one single kitten’s page to the next like bees pollinating flowers? Nothing about this behavior is innocent. This is an older man, usually married, that is openly flirting with a kitten. This is a validation-seek of the harmful kind.
I was interested enough in this particular animal to actually Google it; Older married men flirting on Facebook. I got 439,000 referrals in 0.31 seconds. The first referral actually reads “Husband flirting on Facebook! HELP!” then there’s “I hate WOMEN who flirt with MARRIED men, Facebook!” and there’s an actual group on Facebook called Flirting, Facebook and the first topic is about Why Married Men Flirt.
Wow! Now there’s a HOT topic! I’ve been watching this act unfold since joining Facebook. Some men just continue to get bolder with every post and the kittens lead them around by the nose. What I find most comical are the men on here I know are married, but their wives don’t have Facebook accounts. I don’t have to wonder how their home life must be, but I do wonder how the wife, usually an intelligent and wonderful human being, would feel knowing their husband is deep into a social network, making an jerk out of himself in front of all of their friends.
Not all married men and women on here act this way. It warms my heart and I feel privileged to be an observer of most all of the healthy and loving relationships in my friend list. There is a sanctity in the bonding of two people and no amount of deviance will ever make my heart waver. It gives me hope that good will prevail, eventually.
I would be remiss to not include all of the wonderful and amazing people I do connect with on Facebook. These are people that need no validation from me or anyone else because they are actively living a life that holds great meaning and they have chosen to share bits and pieces with us on Facebook. These are the folks that make everything seem possible and relevant. I look forward to reading their posts and smiling, sometimes laughing, being awed, stunned, provoked intellectually, but most of all I miss them less because I get to see them everyday.
I like Facebook. Most of what I read on there is absolutely delightful and I feel I make good decisions about the friend requests I approve and the ones I send out. It’s the human connection I seek, not validation. If you visit my page on a regular basis though you’ll see that I’ve worked through some revelations of my own on here.
My one hope is that through my trials you might learn something about yourself, so you don’t have to struggle like I did. I know that I thoroughly enjoy learning about all of you 🙂