She Liked Me, She Really Liked Me!

Last Friday, I blogged about a blog about… me. I’d gotten drinks with a potential friend a few nights earlier and the next day she friended me on Facebook (“to friend” is a verb now, right? Did I use that correctly?). While engaging in some very important office procrastination social networking, I happened upon her blog. And even though it’s out there, like this blog is, for all the world to see, something about reading it felt sneaky. Like I was getting a deeper glimpse into her psyche than I was supposed to after only one outing. Of course, I forgot about any stalker-esque guilt I might’ve had when I saw that her most recent post was about our BFD (that’s her term, short for Blind Friend Date). She wrote about how she was nervous and hoped I was normal and that the whole thing didn’t feel too job interviewy (I had the same concerns).

So I posted about her post about me. And now it’s getting even more meta as I’m posting about her post about the unnecessary nerves of her first post, which I wrote about in Friday’s post. Follow?

The moral of the story is: I passed! To quote my new potential friend: “Our time was fun, easy and interesting. Nothing like a job interview, or even like a real blind date, where there might be awkward lulls or uncomfortable staring contests across the table. I was sad she does not watch Lost but happy that she was up to snuff with celebrity gossip. I could not share her affinity for Survivor (still!) but we both got excited talking about all things wedding-related (I am engaged, she got married not too long ago).” For the record, Survivor is still really good. This season is one of the best in a while. When it comes to TV, as with friends, I am loyal to the core. I do not give up just because Jeff has yelled “Come on in, guys!” more times than I can count.

Now that I’ve read two of her blog posts, which were—shockingly, I know—about more than just me, I feel like I’m starting to really know this woman. Which brings up an issue I’ve been curious about: Do Facebook and blogs and Twitter and LinkedIn and the like make it easier for us to make new friends, or harder? I see how it might be easier in the sense that, if you’re Facebook friends, you can get to know a potential BFF pretty well before you’ve even met. You might know her favorite books or TV shows. You might’ve seen pictures from her wedding. If she’s a frequent status updater, you might know what she did last summer. Or last night. Suddenly you’ve fast-forwarded through the awkward could-we-be-friends stage and have arrived at the meat of friendship building.

All of that said, I don’t really believe it. Because as my brother once observed, “Everyone knows that everyone else Facebook stalks. But you don’t just admit it!” I may know exactly how many weeks pregnant someone is, but to say “how’s week 27 treating you?” before we’ve met face-to-face seems creepy. So I check out her profile and she reviews mine, but then we meet and pretend to know nothing. And I’m no actor, so it would be a lot easier if I actually knew nothing.

Does technology help us connect with others? Or does it just allow us to have a boatload of superficial relationships—I have 500 facebook friends!—while hindering our ability to connect on deeper levels? I lean toward the former, but here I am blogging, so I’ll register as undecided for now.

10 Comments

Filed under The Search

10 responses to “She Liked Me, She Really Liked Me!

  1. I think technology friends might be a different type of friend than face-to-face friends. They’re fun and do suit a purpose, but when it comes down to it, isn’t the friend we turn to when necessary the one we can pick up the phone, call, and meet over coffee to dish the latest?

    • Hi Joanne, I think you are right, but I wonder if it’s helpful to “get to know” someone (ie do a quick perusal of their Facebook or Twitter page) via technology before meeting them… Does that help you know if you’ll mesh or does it just create pre-judgments? It’s curious.

  2. Ha! I am always afraid I will drop something I know from a Google background search. Luckily, I don’t get out much. ;)

  3. I met my husband online (thank you match.com). And if it wasn’t for our profiles and the infinite number of emails we had to exchange before he was ready to exchange phone numbers, well, I’m almost positive we never would’ve made it to our first date. So, while I don’t abuse social media (I don’t have a Twitter account and I only Facebook stalk when I’m bored), I can’t speak highly enough about the power of the internet.

  4. Becky

    I think it is actually a combination of both… Because of being a military brat, FB has allowed me to re-connect with friends from grade and high school that I hadn’t seen or talked to since. And college! But has it gone beyond the wall posting of “Hi, it’s been years, love the pics of you (and your family),” nope (sadly). Example: My best friend from junior high (spent WEEKENDS together for three years) but lost contact within 2 months of me moving (hey, we were 14) are FB friends. While we make comments to each other, no other means of re-establishing a once close friendship has materialzed. We have the means, but neither of us have even tried to take it back to a regular friend level. And yes – we all stalk our “friends” on FB, but it is so…. impersonal (if that makes sense). It gives a false sense of having the friendships we once had, without fostering the friendship that could be. Each one of my friends on FB are people I have known well, or are family/family friends. BUT some of them were friends from another time, another life. As I meet friends now, and offer the FB friending, it IS to get to “know” them before really knowing them. I would expect the same. I don’t think we should be weirded out by people mentioning something posted – but we do, ’cause CYPER STALK!!! :-) You do have preconceived notions from reading FB, Twitter, blogs, etc., but we are also putting ourselves out there for SOME reason. If we had the friendships that we want, would we still be blogging, tweeting, or friending? Possibly, but not as much? There are several blogs I read religiously and have become casual friends with the authors, but still have that false sense of “knowing” them – and thinking they “know” me…. And yes, I met my husband (married just under a year now) on Match.com. And have a small blog. Cyberspace is taking place of the neighborhoods our parents and grandparents grew up in – you may not know your physical neighbor right next door, but your FB friend just put something on their wall you need to respond to! And hey, if you REALLY want to meet people – FARMVILLE!!! :-)

  5. This is really interesting. I’m afraid any scanning I did before becoming good friends with someone would tempt me to (even subconsciously) be slightly fake and try to be the sort of person I imagine this friend would like. You know? If he/she adored certain types of movies, and I couldn’t stomach them, would I own up to it? Or, knowing about this difference beforehand, would I try to appear more similar?

    Regardless, I do think connecting in person is much more exciting. Sitting over coffee, laughing too loudly, and learning things about each other that make you say, “YOU like that, too? I thought I was the only one!”

  6. AliBRaps

    I love the thought provoking questions at the end of your blog posts, Rachel. But in regards to this last post, your final question left me with little uncertainty, and instead a healthy dose of resolve. I don’t think technology brings us closer to others. Perhaps I am just ungrateful for the wonders of the internet. But in truth, the best thing it has done for me has provided the blessed services of Skype, which allow me to engage in old school style (phone) communication without paying for it. But Friendster, Facebook –I have always been a late adopter and I bore nearly instantaneously of these mediums. I can count on my hands the numbers of people I have reconnected with through Facebook (again, a begrudging thanks internet), and in truth my life has little room for more friends if I want to keep being connected intimately and often with the friends I never lost touch with, and have indeed been with me all the while, many before the cellphone (or in my case, a long interlude with a beeper) brought instant connectivity to us.
    Perhaps I am just a 50 year-old trapped in a 28 year-old body, but triangulating gossip trails with e-innuendo just does not hold my attention nor does it nourish the spirit. But I love your blog, seriously, and please call me out when I move to Boston next year and turn desperately to the internet to find more friends.

  7. Alex

    But seriously, who doesn’t watch Lost?

  8. Sarah

    I’m behind on blog reading, so I’m only just getting to this week’s posts. I apologize for the belatedness (a drawback of technology is certainly the speed with which virtual conversations happen) of my responses, but I wanted to chime in.

    I think technology has the ability to bring us closer but in ways that differ from sleepovers or coffee dates. Unless your friendship is one that thrives on the mutual exchange of random insights, reflections, and observations, or even just mundane details of daily tasks, social networking allows you to stay up on the aspects of our day-to-day existence that make life livable and build fundamental features of our characters. The tricky thing, that many facebook/twitter/myspace users don’t realize or remember, is that these online profiles are consciously constructed identities. We have learned to perform online in ways that we may or may not perform in “real” life. So, if you are planning to incorporate your cyber-stalking insights about a person into non-virtual interactions, you may not have an entirely true sense of the person as she is even though you know who she wants to be. But if you are using those details to keep up with people you already know how to read and just cannot speak to as these thoughts and insights arise, then I believe technology is a real gift.

    And, I’m with Alex, what tv lover doesn’t watch Lost? Explanations please.

  9. Ana

    I’ve thought about this recently, after meeting up with an old friend from HS that I haven’t seen in over 10 years…we reconnected via Facebook & when I was visiting her city, we met for coffee. It was weird because I knew some details of her life that she revealed on Facebook (I don’t actually post much, but I sometimes stalk others).
    It created a very odd patchy feeling…as if I knew some very new & personal things, but didn’t know a lot of the normal things you would about a friend. (does that make any sense, I am struggling to word this). And it made the conversation a little awkward…like I mentioned that she didn’t need to worry about the whipped cream latte she was drinking because she was going to the gym so much…she kind of looked at me, like “how do you know that?”
    I feel like that same weirdness would happen with a new friend that I was “checking out” via facebook, which is why I only use it specifically to stay connected to my HS and college friends, and now, extended family that live far away.

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