Monday, January 09, 2006

Social Indigestability and Friendships that Consume

Just thought I'd share this with anyone. If you're on sites like myspace or peoplefromguam maybe you're familiar with the "fake friends" phatic post. Its a posting mechanism meant to weed out who amongst the dozens, hundreds, sometimes thousands of people that you have as your friends are your "real friends." The post is often a generic, "this is to see who is really my friends or not, if you do not repost this you will be deleted."

Often times people truly get into the concept and start drafting their own "fake friends" posts, which lash out at the people who are adding people left and right like this site is a popularity contest, and not using it properly to keep in touch with people or meet new people.

What these people who like me add people left and right forget is that crucial lesson of high school, and that is that being cool is completely dependent upon no one realizing that you are trying to be cool. The moment the strings show, the moment the special effects are that apparent, you are completely not cool at all. We find this all over, not just high school, the people who can keep their secrets secure and their insecurities tightly secured are given auras of charisma, charm, personality, etc. The rest are instead given varying degrees of social indigestability, and in some cases refused human being status because its so obvious to people that they are trying to be human. Like, can you believe that? She was like trying to talk to us. How lame is that!

There is something to be learned in all of this, and that is that the emphasis on "real friends" is of course a cover for the fact that very few of us actually have any friends, that we go through life covered in "fake friends." At least one reason for this is that real friends are risky, real friends are dangerous. Listen carefully to the definitions of "friendship" that people email to each other, give each other in card form and post on each other's pages, how many people actually fit those definitions in an meaningful way?

Real friends are either people with whom friendship is easy to resume, or they are people with whom you find your life consumed. They are either the people with whom your intimacy can not just survive the test of time, but also the test of not being thought about or being cared about for the longest time. Real friends are those with whom a 45 car ride after not seeing or speaking for several years can be easily resumed without one of you shooting a person driving by in order to create something meaingful to talk about. We work hard to create these friendships and maintain them, even as we lose them. Notice when these things take place, how much emphasis is placed on a description of how close we once were, or what people used to say about our friendship. Sometimes this is because its all we can talk about and say over and over without sounding silly, but more so it is because of a hope that we can re-create that moment although time seems to have washed all of it away except for this phrase, this description. Can I make it resume, by talking about how easy it should be to resume?

The other form, that which consumes is why people obssess about fake friends, because its easier than being real friends with people. I have several people in my life that I can call my real friends today, and although it is beautiful it is so stressful, because contrary to popular belief, real friends are no those that you need not think of, they are those that you must constantly think of. They are those which you know so much about, or share such a fundamental connection with that they never really disappear, and therefore never really suprise you when they appear in your mind. These are the people in whom you are privileged to know more than they do, whether about their whole lives or some small piece. It is an honor to have this narrative knowledge, this special place in someone's life, but with all things honorable come a measure of discomfort, and this is why although we may all say we want "real friends" we are too often not willing to take the risk or pay the price for them. It is, as I said far easier to displace your lack of real friendship onto someone else in the form of fake friendship.

What started this post was the following that I posted on following a number of "fake friend" posts. Before I go though, I should note that there is nothing wrong with fake friends or real friends, the real tragic problems arise when we misinterpret each other's positions, when we think that those who are real are actually fake and vice versa.

Why is everyone getting pissed at "fake friends?" I have too many friends in real life, I don't need that many "real friends" in my virtual life. I already spend too much time on the internet for work, and besides it’s like my grandfather said, “the more you’re on the internet, the more chance they have to identity theft you.” Fake friends not only save my eyesight, my time, but according to the world’s foremost expert on internet security, my identity as well.

I for one don't mind fake friends. Its nice to know that when I come home after a long day of school or work, even if I don’t call my real friends up, my fake friends will always be there on my page, smiling, sometimes fully clothed, sometimes half naked, but nonetheless smiling. To them our friendship was created and resolved through a couple of mouse clicks and that’s it. Nothing more is required unless either of us wants it, and it probably wouldn’t go over so well if one of us tried, “What the hell do you mean “Happy Liberation Day?” you’re not my real friend or anything! Go back to that grainy digital camera image I have of you on my page!”

If you don’t repost this then I’m going to assume that we will continue to be fake friends, ya maolek ha’ todu! If you want to be real friends, taka’ ha’ yu’, or if you want to stop being fake/real friends, pues funas ha’ yu’. If you don't do anything, taya' guaha, mungga chathinasso, ti bei lalalu, because that's what friends are for, no?

Biba Manatga’chong siha!

Sahuma Minagahet ya Na'suha Dinagi


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