Somewhere along the way we started collecting “friends” like we collect material possessions. Even that person who would publicly thumb his/her nose at the mere suggestion of this, secretly covets the increasing blue number, and makes it a point to check a “friend’s” count almost immediately upon making a connection. By now, you have no doubt noticed the quotations I’ve placed around “friends” twice – well, three times. Now granted, the definition of “friend” (ha, ha, there I go again) is different to everyone, but let me remind you that Facebook is NOT called Friendbook. That’s because, in reality,  it’s just a collection of faces, most of them blurs on the wall, with only vague memories attached. When this becomes painfully apparent is, not surprisingly, during personal crisis. All of sudden the number of posts on your wall go way down, but the posts on other “friends'” (snicker) walls in regards to you, go way up. First there are the overly concerned posts. “Is he OK? Has she gone crazy? Is he a danger to herself or to others? Oh, it’s so sad about her.” Then, there are the obviously in bad taste posts. “Well, it was just a matter of time. He deserved better. She deserved better. I always knew he’d break down.” I can almost recite the exact list of people who are calling me cynical right now, and I can safely say that these people are NOT my friends – and I’m perfectly ok with that.

So, why my sudden change of heart? Was I not an avid Facebook user up until about a week ago? Am I bitter? Maybe a little. But, it’s my own fault because I knew what I was getting into from the beginning. In fact, I stuck to my plan to NOT accept every friend request, especially for those people I had no memory of what-so-ever, and I was perfectly fine demoting people to acquaintances, instead of  friends, if only in my own mind. So, I felt I had an understanding of sorts in this process of selling my soul to the devil. But, truth be told, I got lost in the myth of it all – the promise of a big family of like-minded individuals, with common interests and a goal to achieve common good. I mean, after all, Facebook does have its Cause pages that help spread the word about fundraisers and the like. And, in all reality, I got lost in the purely voyeuristic, shallow explorations, that define Facebook. It was fun to have an audience for witty banter, and to connect with people over day to day trivial things. It took me out of the everyday stresses of real life, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, it’s just not for me anymore, because I see how at the 11th hour, I don’t want to live my life on a stage where the crowd is just a see of empty faces. I want real friends, who provide real support…and I have that in spades, beyond the pages of Fakebook. Pardon me, I mean Facebook.

Will I ever return to Facebook? The hypocrite in me thinks, probably, when my life is something I’m again proud to share with others, or when my emotional sensibilities are no longer compromised. The realist in me, however, would prefer to leave it behind for good and salvage what extra time I have in a day for spending with close friends (those who won’t write me off after this post), and working directly on the philanthropic causes that are so close to my heart. In the end, we’ll see who wins out – the hypocrite or the realist. But for now, I plan on going about my life as I did before there was Facebook, and a “friend” was simply a friend.

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