By and large I am a face-to-face kind of a girl. I think people are less likely to misinterpret me if they can see my facial expression or hear my tone of voice as I speak. When I’m confined to the use of emoticons (and sometimes even they’re taken away), I feel a bit bereft. This is where I must rely on the fact that my friends know me. They know I would never actually commit a violent act. They know that a large portion of what I say is tongue-in-cheek and they know that I disdain the expenditure of energy for negative purposes. Friends rarely misinterpret me.
Facebook friends, are not friends. Let me be more specific. Some Facebook friends are real-life friends, you can go visit them and drink tea together, or at least you’ve done so in the past. Other Facebook friends are not from your real life. They’ve never met you in person. If they have it was so long ago, they don’t really know who you are nowadays anyway. I like to think of them and their friendship, as imaginary.
Small children have imaginary friends. They’re made up, but they serve the same purpose as these non-real-life Facebook friends. Imaginary friends provide a sounding board, a method of processing and dealing with some kind of dilemma or upheaval. They make us feel secure in the fact that somebody likes us, and best of all, we can make them go away whenever we want.
Recently, myself and some of my real-life Facebook friends were misinterpreted by an imaginary friend. The imaginary friend didn’t just ‘unfriend’ me, she felt the need to make a disdainful, rather ignorant comment on my wall (about my real-life friends) before ‘unfriending’ me. Upon returning from a technology free weekend, I felt bad that I’d let my real-life friends (with whom I will soon be sharing caffeinated beverages) be insulted by a virtual figment. No child would ever let their imaginary friend get away with such appalling behaviour. A kid would wrap that rude varmint up in an imaginary lasso so fast and tight that they’d struggle to whisper another mean word. The best I could manage was to delete her comment from my wall. It was an unsatisfying act, to say the very least.
This small hiccough in my otherwise happy life was enough to make me wonder; in the midst of our adulthood, with all the technological advances surrounding us, are we in fact, less clever than our toddlers?