Monday, December 03, 2018

Random Friends

Perhaps even worse than those 'friend requests' from people you've never heard of on Facebook are those apparently random 'friend suggestions' that the system sends you.  Of course, the requests are coming from people who have doubtless had you randomly suggested to them as a possible 'friend'.  I particularly dislike it when Facebook suggests to me as a 'friend', someone I do know and have just seen in person.  Not only is it creepy (I feel as if Facebook has somehow been watching me and decided that if I know someone in reality I need to know them in cyberspace, as well), but the very fact I seen them in the flesh means that I really don't need to keep up with them vicariously through following their online activities. At the end of the day, why does Facebook think that I want to be friends with anyone?  Which begs the question of why I'm on Facebook in the first place.  Which is a fair point.  The answer is that I'm a member of a couple of groups connected to some of my online activities and I maintain a Facebook presence for The Sleaze.  The groups are simply an easy way to keep up with the activities of everyone else involved in the particular organisations they represent.  My Facebook 'friends' I have are generally people from those groups who I don't see in person as they live overseas.

But social media is based upon the idea that we're all lonely and isolated and have a deeply seated need to share our lives with random strangers.  An idea which increasingly seems to be taking root in the 'real' world, where I keep reading reports about 'epidemics' of loneliness and the isolating effect of modern life, not to mention the difficulties people have making friends.  All of which leaves me feeling somewhat bemused.  As I've mentioned before, I'm one of those people who enjoys being on their own.  'All by myself' isn't a lament in my world, but a statement of desire.  I don't make lasting relationships with other people easily and, in fact, avoid doing so.  I just don't want to be drawn into the complications of someone else's life - my own is enough for me to deal with.  I just want to be left alone a lot of the time.  I accept that other people don't feel the same way and apparently want and need all these relationships.  But I do find the constant pressure to be 'sociable', to be part of this movement or that society not just irritating, but downright patronising.  The idea that being alone is the same as being lonely is one I find particularly pernicious.  It implies that being solitary is somehow 'abnormal'.  Personally, I've always believed that if other people learned to be more self-sufficient and less dependent on others, then many of our current social 'ills' would be easily resolved. I know, I know, I'm a miserable anti-social bastard, but trust me, once you accept, as I have done, that friends, family, the entire human race, in fact, are fine, but only in small doses, your relationships with them will improve immeasurably.



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