Dear Facebook, stop forcing these friend requests on me
Mark Zuckerberg, you’re making me relive my kindergarten years
I don’t like Facebook. I’ve closed at least eight separate accounts. Months pass, and then I open a new one. It’s not the website or the founder I don’t like — outside of the questionable meetings that Mark Zuckerberg is having. I like to use the website. It’s an amazing platform to rant about reality shows, gush and compare notes with fellow dog walkers, and shamelessly promote my magazine and blog posts for casual online stalkers. But Facebook’s friend suggestion algorithm is my non-mortal enemy.
That damn friend suggestion box that won’t go away reminds me of all the kindergarten teachers who insisted people I was not thrilled to hang out with sat at my coloring book table. These were the same tyrants who were an absolute terror to be near during naptime. When the teachers weren’t looking, I scooted my cot over to who I really wanted to hang out with. I didn’t want to be associated with the crayon breakers. Then I moved onto elementary school, where I could make a swift getaway as a latchkey kid.
When I thought I was finally in the clear at home, my parents would turn on me. I’d be quietly dressing my Barbies and Cabbage Patch dolls into their respective daily attire, only to hear loud feet running toward my bedroom. Dear gawd, my parents had made new friends. And now I had to “play” with their friends’ kids. (Besides four of my godsisters, I only liked these two people that my parents paired me with.) But I had my evenings and weekends planned after homework. I’d carefully clean my Barbie Ferrari and wipe down my three-foot mansion. I’d set aside my latest “The Babysitters Club” and “Fear Street/Goosebumps” books after I finished my Barbie checklist. Then here came someone new who my parents put off on me to be “friends” with while the adults hung out. Ugh, hard pass.
I’m not opposed to having friends my age (even though my mother has always been neck-and-neck with every friend I’ve ever had for 38 years). It’s just that my idea of “friends” was my parents’ landlord, who chain-smoked cigarettes and taught me how to play Solitaire. It’s my grandfather, who taught me Roman Numerals and how to play Pool and Poker. It’s all of my older brothers’ friends, who told me the rules and regulations to participate in their Castle Grayskull rivalries. These are friends I chose. Even in five years of Girl Scouts, I selectively ditched relatives and family friends who were recruited, carefully choosing the trio I wanted to hang out with — one of which I maintained a friendship with from nine-year-olds to college graduates. (The other two fell off somewhere around high school.)
But Zuckerberg, I chose these people to be friends with. They didn’t tell me, “Hey, my friends have to be your friends.” I dodged 95 percent of slumber parties for that reason alone — unless they were my own. But let’s get real here. My childhood best friend despised another childhood friend of mine. They tolerated the sight of each other at my college graduation, but separated into their respective corners when we went out for a night of clubbing. My friends are not always mutual friends. And even during my graduation weekend, I never ever left those two in a room together for more than five minutes. I could just sense the teeth sucking, eye rolls and glares about to ensue.
I’m trying to tell you, Zuckerberg, that these friendship matches you keep insisting on showing me will only lead to roller coaster eyeballs and teeth hissing! I don’t want to be friends with all 4,392,105 friends that some of these Facebook folks have. I’m just trying to sift through the 200 daily selfies, kids’ photos, melodramatic status updates and inexplicable shots of food. I really just want to log in, waste time arguing about reality TV with strangers and open a new tab to read CNN’s “5 Things.”
And here you are, insisting that I have more than 14 friends on Facebook. Zuckerberg, I don’t have 14 legitimate non-blood-related friends in real life. Don’t be that kindergarten teacher. Don’t be my parents’ friends with the bad-ass kids who leave my Barbies’ breasts out for the world to see. Don’t force me to ignore 4,392,105 friend requests every time I log in.
Just stop the Facebook friend suggestions. If I can log into the site and sign up for my ninth account all by myself, I can find my own friends.
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