Thursday, April 9, 2009

A primer on Facebook etiquette

(Warning - ranting ahead)

By now it should be clear that I’m here not just to dispense triathloning advice, but to also offer helpful hints and stratagems for, well, just about anything. That’s just how I am. No need to thank me, glad to do it.

So let’s talk about Facebook etiquette, shall we? No, I’m not going to rant about those people who take endless quizzes, with the results now showing up on one’s “feed” in the new and highly unimproved FB, or about those who post updates every 15 minutes. Let others rail against those particular annoyances. No, I’m talking about a different scenario. You see, to my mind the point of FB is to be able to stay in touch with friends easily, especially those old friends you haven’t seen or spoken to in a while, but who you’d really like to reconnect with and keep in your circle of friends. And some of us don’t feel the need to “friend” everyone in existence, so if we’re friended, then it means we really give a shit about each other. Or are supposed to, at least.

I add that last part, the “supposed to,” because of what has happened to me several times now. Where I reconnect with someone, we shoot each other an email, they tell me what’s going on in their lives, ask me what’s going on in mine.....and I tell them. Not with a lot of melodrama or anything, but matter-of-fact: oh, diagnosed with cancer last year, then had the bike crash, did treatment, but am now trying to get things back on track, and here’s my blog if for some reason you want more details. That’s it. No dwelling, no po’ po’ pitiful me stuff, none of that crap. Because it seems like it would be kind of weird to NOT mention it. And then what, they find out and I tell them “oops! Sorry, it just totally slipped my mind!” That would be even weirder. And call me crazy, if some illness or misfortune were to befall someone I consider a friend, I’d certainly want to know about it. Isn’t that what Candy/Stripper-Grams are for, anyway?

Anyway, you know what the chipper response has been in return?

Nothing. Crickets.

Oh, I know all the excuses – some people “don’t do illness well” or they “can’t deal with it” or they “don’t know what to say” blah blah blah. So I have this to say to you who are like this: get the fuck over yourself. Seriously. And for those who claim they are suddenly stricken mute, with just NO IDEA of what to respond with, here’s a handy few phrases that would work in most cases – feel free to cut and paste: “Oh no, that sucks, I’m so sorry to hear that! How are you feeling now?”

That’s it. That’s all you need, to be able to pretend that you do indeed give a shit. Because the rest of you, who don’t respond at all? It’s pretty clear that you don’t. And that’s pathetic, considering that I spent many a time hanging out with some of you, others I spent years living overseas with, helping out your sorry asses when you were attempting (unsuccessfully) to converse in something resembling Ukrainian to the babushki who worked at the nearby market. So you suck, really. You make the people who respond with an indifferent “Yeah, cancer, whatever, you’ll be fine, so let me tell you about my latest promotion.....” look like Mother Theresa.

And on that same note – though this hasn’t happened to me, since so far I’ve only spent one night in the hospital (and if I were there longer, I’m quite sure that other than those loser FB “friends”, MY friends would be right there, striding briskly down the hospital hallways with me, telling me to suck it up, Deanna going for the PR, etc.) – for those who just can’t go visit their sick friends because of the same aforementioned lame-ass excuses, you suck too. Especially when you drag out the “I just hate hospitals” phrase or the “I just want to remember how she was when she was healthy” bullshit. Gee, sorry your friend has the effrontery to get sick and all. How rude. But you know, as much as you hate hospitals, she certainly hates them more, and really hates the fact that she’s sick. So get your sorry ass over there and quit making excuses for being a coward.

And when you do, I highly recommend that you show up with a shiny Mylar balloon in hand, because she’s undoubtedly read this article......and you’ll be successful in making the illness a distant memory, because she’ll be laughing so damn hard. Which is a good thing.


tribabe said...

Long ago I read a corny book called "The Road Less Traveled" one of the messages of the book was that being an alcoholic can be a blessing because you can't hide your problems, they are all there on the surface to deal with. I think having problems and sharing them with people is a good way to shake out who the real people are and who the really immature people are.

D said...

Perhaps you didn't get the memo. It's all about ME. What am I doing? Where am I going? How is MY life?

Cancer? Pssshh. Just a blip. Brain injury? Well you were never that smart anyways - how affected could you be?

Kristin said...

Amen sista! Pardon us for inconveniencing your precious lives with our illness!!!

Anonymous said...

Seriously? There are people that moronic who used to be your friends?? How totally frightening that is. I agree with D...FB seems to be all about ME. I rarely post comments coz I can't think of much I want the world to know about me. And BTW - I really love reading about you kicking cancer's ass but I'm looking forward to the day they find no more cancer cells and you get a clean bill of health (physical, that is!).