Just a little bit.

Occasionally I get friend requests from people I’m pretty sure I don’t know.  By “occasionally” I mean that it’s happened at least two or three times.  This is not like when some random person I went to high school with decides he wants to be friends with me because he’s going to be Facebook friends with every single freaking person he went to high school with, regardless of whether or not he had any interaction with him or her.  I’m okay being friends with those cats because I know they’re just friend-collecting, and maybe they’ll find some other random high school person that I did interact with and might want to spy on catch up with.  I have two Facebook “friends” like that.  I remember who they were and that I definitely went to high school with them.  (One of them I distinctly remember talking to in middle school.  I feel especially close to him.)  Anyway, I feel fairly confident that they’re a) not serial-killer identity thieves and b) completely uninterested in my stupid life anyway.  So that’s cool.

It’s when some completely unrecognizable random name shows up, requesting my friendship, that I get a little confused.  I look at what city they’re from (if that information is available) and their list of mateys (that’s Pirate-speak for “friends”!) and try to determine if there’s any possible way I actually do know them and just don’t remember that I know them.  Usually, though, there’s nothing to go on there.  We have no mateys in common, and they’re in some part of the country I’ve never been to, and sometimes they don’t even have a profile picture.  How am I supposed to make an informed decision about some random person whose name I don’t recognize without a profile picture?  (Not that a profile picture is always helpful, as some people use pictures of their pets or their kids–or someone else’s pets and kids, for all I know–or, like my husband, a picture of Smoking Obama.  That is, it’s a picture of our president smoking a cigarette.  We just like to refer to him affectionately as “Smoking Obama.”)

It would appear that this problem is easily solved:  if you don’t recognize somebody, just ignore their friend request.  Except that I’m hyper-paranoid about offending people.  That doesn’t mean I don’t do it, just that I don’t like to, and therefore I engage in totally irrational behavior.  It’s one of the ten stupid things women do to mess up their lives, I’m sure, but I didn’t invite you here to lecture me, so just can it.  (No offense.)  I think of how I would feel if I found someone I knew on the Facebook and was all excited to be friends with them, and they just…ignored me.  Just assumed that because they didn’t recognize me right away that I must be some kind of kook–or, alternatively, that I just made a mistake…but the implication is that I’m a kook, admit it!  On the other hand, if I were making a friend request of someone I hadn’t seen in a while or someone I wasn’t so close to, I would send a note with the request, like, “Hey, remember me from [blah blah blah]?”  Or something like that.  I finally found my best friend from the fifth grade–that is, we met in fifth grade and were best friends, and then I moved away, but we wrote letters to each other and occasionally visited one another for the next ten years–and I tell you, it took all of my will power when I made the friend request not to write, “Hey, remember me from Mr. Parrish’s fifth grade class?  We were friends for ten years?”  Because really, if you’re friends with someone for ten years, they shouldn’t need that many reminders of who you are.  (We wrote letters!  For ten years!)  So I didn’t write that–I wrote something, but not that–though I was sorely tempted, just in case she didn’t remember me.

It’s possible that’s a self-esteem issue.

Anyway, when these completely random people request my Facebook friendship, there is never any note.  So they hang around in my inbox for a few days, or weeks, as long as I can stand it, until I finally say, “Sorry, dude (or dudette), I just don’t know you,” and I officially “Ignore” them.  Then Facebook sends me a notification, “You have ignored a friendship request from So-and-So,” making me feel all guilty.  Thanks, Facebook, I appreciate that!  Don’t they understand how hard it is for me to Ignore people?  I don’t need them second-guessing my judgment in that passive-aggressive way they have.

It’s even harder to do things like Ignoring when you’re using the Pirate language, because you usually end up making them walk the plank or cutting out their tongue.  Speaking in Pirate is fun most of the time, but occasionally it can be…harsh.

So yesterday I got a friendship request from another random person whose name I didn’t recognize.  Ahmed Somebody.  To the best of my knowledge, I’ve never known any Ahmeds, not even in high school.  There was no profile picture (naturally).  I checked Ahmed’s list of mateys.  There weren’t many, twenty at the most, and nearly all of them were Arabic names of people who lived in places like Jordan and Egypt.  Don’t know anyone who lives in Jordan or Egypt.  There was one white girl in a bikini in Los Angeles.  That seemed odd, but whatever.  Perhaps Ahmed is just getting started on Facebook and he needs me to help him find other people he knows.  Wait, I haven’t even accepted this friend request, and I’m already responding to Facebook’s pressure techniques–not a good sign.  Anyway, I knew I didn’t know him and that he had just made a mistake.  Unfortunately, it’s the kind of mistake that kooks sometimes make.

Why can’t I just ignore Ahmed?  Well…it’s because there was a note.  What did the note say?  “May me be ur friend?”

Seriously, how am I supposed to make him walk the plank after that?  He’s trying so hard!  It really was a mystery.  How did Ahmed Somebody happen to stumble upon my name and decide that he wanted to be my friend?  Then I remembered that just that morning I had joined the Jewish Ethics Project and a Support Israel group.  Maybe Ahmed was just a friendly Arab who wanted to befriend some Jews?  I, of course, am not Jewish, but you wouldn’t guess that from my recent Facebook activity, now would you?  Well, now I felt all pressured.  I wouldn’t want the peace process (such as it is) in the Middle East to suffer just because I hurt Ahmed’s feelings.  I mean, no one wants that!  Then I thought, “Dude, what if he’s a Jew-hating terrorist?”  Then I thought, “Dude, that’s racist!”

No, actually, what I thought was, “Ha ha, what if he’s some Jew-hating terrorist?”  Not because Jew-hating terrorists are funny, but that kind of paranoia, especially in me, is funny.  I’m always rolling my eyes at my mother-in-law because she’s paranoid abouty everything from unattended luggage to bunk beds to mayonaisse.  Now here I am even having the thought that poor Ahmed “may me be ur friend” Somebody is a freaking terrorist.  They said Al Qaeda was going after our water supply, but actually they just want our Facebook pages!  They hate us for our flair!

So I had a good chuckle over that and decided to play some Scramble instead.  Yeah, Ahmed’s still in my inbox.  Yeah, detained without charge, blah blah blah.  Don’t pressure me, okay?  I’ll deal with him as soon as Pres. Obama closes Gitmo.

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