A message to the girls who won’t let their boyfriends be friends with me on Facebook.
Hey there! It’s me, the girl you won’t let your boyfriend be friends with on Facebook. Listen, 18-year-old me totally gets it, I did the very same thing to my boyfriend at the time: I made him unfriend a girl he was friends with on the basis that she was his ex-girlfriend (read: she was cute and I was insanely jealous and overbearingly insecure). 18-year-old me totally gets it. 26-year-old me, however, totally doesn’t.
Here’s the thing. I have my own boyfriend, have for 8 whole years. I assure you that I am not interested in your boyfriend. And even if I was at one point, it was literally 10+ fucking years ago when we went to high school together. And yet, you still made your boyfriend — my friend — unfriend me on Facebook. Why?
When this happened to me the first time, I was upset, but got over it. The second time, I couldn’t help but wonder what was so wrong with me, but eventually I moved on. The third time this happened, I had two options: I could continue to feel sorry for myself and endlessly wonder about what was “so wrong” with me, or I could write through the feeling of losing yet another friend for no “good” reason. It’s high time for option number two.
Joe* and I “dated” 14 years ago, when we were 12. “Dated” is in quotation marks here because really, all we ever did was talk on AIM and avoid each other in the hallways in-between classes. We remained friends even after the pain of puberty had passed and we’d hurdled over high school, and I look back fondly on the random nights we spent together with our other friend, the three of us goofing off around the city or just plain going bowling. Just after college, Joe met a girl and told me all about her; I was happy to hear that my awesome friend had found someone who made him feel awesome. Shortly after they started dating, I noticed Joe had disappeared from my Facebook feed. “That’s odd,” I thought, and went to search for his profile. When it turned up with the “Add as a Friend” button, I had a sinking feeling that I knew why. When our other friend confirmed my suspicion — that Joe and his girlfriend had had a blow-out fight over him being friends with me on Facebook, a fight that only ended when he agreed to un-friend me and delete all of the pictures of us together that were on his profile— I was upset; but knowing that I was just a few years removed from having done the same thing to my boyfriend, I understood. Our mutual friend continued to update me on how Joe was doing in his life out West; after a few years of strictly hearing about his life in the third person, Joe and his girlfriend broke up and we were able to be Facebook (and real-life) friends once again.
Did you really have to make him delete all of those pictures? Images of us together aside, he had some great ones of me waving my color guard flag around in my Oompa Loompa costume from when I was in marching band in high school. You took my friend away from me for three years, did you have to destroy photos of my high school memories, too? I’m pretty certain that there is absolutely nothing sexy or boyfriend-stealy about pictures of an awkward 17-year-old dressed as a fucking Oompa Loompa. Did I mention I was in marching band? You had nothing to worry about.
Adam* and I dated 13 years ago when we were 13. We were each other’s awkward first kiss, first “significant other” (as “significant” as you can get when you are 13), and first “heart break” (as “heart-broken” as you can be when you are 14). When we were 16, Adam started dating his now-fiancee, Clara*. It was clear from the beginning that Clara did not like me; during an awkward encounter “backstage” at the Senior class fashion show, she accused me of trying to steal her boyfriend (a truly confusing accusation, because I had a boyfriend of my own at the time). Despite this, because we all ran in the same social circle, over the next 7 years Adam and I stayed friendly, chatting on Facebook and sometimes on Skype about college-life, partying, what we were pursuing career-wise, and, of course, our significant others. One day a couple years ago, I noticed that Adam had disappeared from my Facebook feed. With a familiar sinking feeling, I went to search for his profile. And sure enough, there it was — the dreaded “Add as a Friend” button. This time, I decided to ask about it: Adam confirmed that Clara had made him unfriend me. Besides asking me to Skype every so often while Clara wasn’t around, it was clear that his leash had been shortened, and with it, our friendship. Last spring, I got a random text message from him, asking if I’d been at the airport nearby. He “thought he saw me there.” I was most definitely at home, in my pajamas. A couple months afterwards, I saw via a mutual friend’s Facebook profile that Adam and Clara had gotten engaged.
I don’t know what to say other than, “good luck.”
I met Trevor* when I was 14. Throughout high school, Trevor and I were best friends, regardless of the crush he had developed on me over the years. We talked constantly on AIM, we hung out on band trips, and I even made him a customized sweatshirt for Christmas our senior year with a poem I’d written on it. I always made it clear to Trevor that I liked him as a friend, until our senior year when I started to see him as more than a friend. I was Trevor’s first kiss, drunkenly, at a “party” in our friend’s basement. Nothing official ever came out of this, but we did go to prom together as friends. And friends we remained throughout college and even after, until about a month ago. We had been doing a decent job keeping up, chatting on Facebook once every few weeks about our lives (again, things like the weather, our careers, our significant others). He even talked to me about his girlfriend, how much he cared for her, and her struggles with her abnormal work schedule. When I saw that Trevor had gotten engaged over this past Christmas to said girlfriend via my Facebook feed, I was ecstatic for him. A few days later, when I set out to message him to congratulate him, there it was once again — my new best friend, the “Add as a Friend” button. This time, I decided not to even ask and simply sent him a Facebook message with my congratulations and wishes for a happy future.
Two days later, Trevor requested to add me on LinkedIn.
So we can’t be Facebook friends, but you still want to network? Insert world’s biggest eye-roll with a side of uncontrollable laughing fit here (needless to say, we work in two completely different industries).
I was friends with these guys. Even though we may not have been intensely close friends towards the end of our friendships, we were staples enough in each other’s lives to talk once in a while about friend-like-topics: the weather, music, how work is going, how our significant others were doing, life in general. Having friends that I made in my teens completely taken out of my life 10 years later in my 20s has not been an easy experience. It has involved a lot of time spent wondering “why,” and a lot of tears over not being able to ask the only people who have the answer. I don’t think you ladies understand the effect that this has on a person. To be fair, how could you when you’re too far entrenched in your own jealousy. This is why I’m writing this, to give you a glimpse of the other side that your jealousy evidently blinds you to.
And yet, the most mind-fucking thing about all of this is that NONE of it would even be a “thing” if Facebook didn’t exist. But Facebook is a diatribe for next time.