I joined Facebook a few months ago with a goal in mind. I wanted to reconnect with some of the people who enjoyed the same miserable high school experience that I did. Many of my peers — in fact, most — are on there. I hesitate, however, to call them my peers. We’re the same age and came from the same place, but they’ve all lived very different lives from mine.
In some ways, I’ve gotten what I wanted from Facebook. I found those I felt it was important to find and many others. They all appear to be doing well, although some have faced health challenges, divorce and a wide variety of other problems including many, I’m sure, that they haven’t mentioned.
No one has rejected me or ignored my friend request. Even after all these years, I thought they might.
I’ve only avoided contacting one person. Ironically, he was the closest friend I had at times in my life, but his profile picture along with what I remember of his intelligence level suggest that contacting him might not work out. He called me a queer (which I was, in every sense of the word) even when we were friends. Now, he has too many references to hunting and guns on his profile to suit me.
I’ve been in a stable relationship since I was 17, so I know only a little about romantic troubles and nothing about children or divorce. I have plenty of grey hair, and so do many of the people who went to school with me. When I dare to compare myself with those who were once my peers, I hold up fine. (It’s probably not very healthy to compare myself to others, especially with the goal of determining how my life is better than theirs, but I haven’t completely resisted that urge.)
In other ways, however, joining Facebook has been rather unsatisfying. Only two people have written me any heart-felt or considered messages. A few others have left quick comments. Most accepted my friend request without comment. And I haven’t bother to offer a comment to them either.
I know that Facebook isn’t a substitute for a real relationship with anyone, but I’m both very glad and somewhat sad about what I’m finding after a few months on it. I’m glad some of the people who were once constant presences in my life have decent lives. I’m also glad they are willing to share a tiny corner of it with me, at least online. I’m saddened, though, that it hasn’t helped me as much I had hoped in opening up some of the parts of my life I’ve closed off.
Gip Plaster is a web content writer. Previously a journalist, online bookseller and even a corporate advertising guy, Gip now specialize in writing high-quality content for websites — his and other people’s. Learn more here.