Hold onto your hats…I’m on Facebook! I’ve shocked even myself…especially after years of avoiding pretty much all social networking websites (I mean…how many friends do you ACTUALLY need? And those creepy status updates…did narcissism become an acceptable condition when I wasn’t looking?). But recently, a couple of my family members joined Facebook (including my parents – who are in their 60s!) and I was feeling a little left out.
Unfortunately, I only have 11 friends (and 9 of them are relatives), but…whatever. I truly believe that if people knew what they were missing, my email host server would crash from the thousands of friend invitations I’d receive. And though it would be tragic, I’d have no choice but to turn people away (in droves).
For now, however, I’ll have to settle for wondering why my brother-in-law has yet to confirm me as a friend. Hmmff.
Anyway, I recently used the “find friends” tool to search for old High School and College classmates, and low and behold, I found a girl on Facebook whom I was close to in high school but haven’t seen in almost twenty years. So, I shot her an invitation to be “friends” along with a quick note telling her where I lived and that I was married with two kids.
This was her response, “It was great to hear from you! A lot has changed since high school! I’m now a VP and married to a writer! My daughter is a freshman at [an exclusive prep school].”
And that was it.
My first reaction was that it sounded like she was doing well. My second reaction was that it sounded like she was trying REALLY hard to express to me just how well she’s doing. I got this impression for several reasons:
1. First, she casually dropped her job title without letting me know what industry she worked in or what company she worked for. I could have understood this more if she’d said, “I’m THE Vice President”…though I’d hope that if this were the case, I would’ve known that before finding her on Facebook.;
2. Telling me that she was “married to a writer” instead of “my husband is a writer” conveys to me that she’s more proud of being married to a writer than she is of being married to her husband; and,
3. She dropped the name of the exclusive prep school her daughter attends instead of just telling me that she had a daughter in high school. This is especially weird since I live in a different state and wouldn’t know [exclusive prep school] from a juvenile detention facility. At first, I actually thought it must’ve been a highly-selective college (i.e. my daughter was just accepted to Harvard…not…I just forked over $20K so my daughter could attend a posh high school).
Well, I dismissed her note (it WAS an e-mail after all and we’re all guilty of rushing through e-mail correspondence) and went to her Facebook profile. The second thing I noticed on her page (the first being a her picture – she looks the same) was her status update:
“[friend from high school] loves living in [exclusive neighborhood]!”
Again, living 800 miles away doesn’t afford me the specific knowledge of what the hell [exclusive neighborhood] is. For all I knew, it could’ve been a nudist colony. And though I had my suspicions, I searched for [exclusive neighborhood] on the Internet and sure enough, [exclusive neighborhood] is…an exclusive neighborhood.
Why on earth would you put THAT as a status update? To me, it seemed a little boastful (and we all know that Cool Broads aren’t that). But after exchanging a few more e-mails with her my question was answered. I learned that this was her second marriage and a fairly recent one at that. Her new husband was a published author with several books under his belt (one that even landed on the New York Times Best Seller List). I also learned that she and a friend just started up an organizing business (but don’t have any clients yet), and so of course…she’s the Vice President.
So, after being a bit down on her luck, she now gets to send her daughter to an expensive boarding school and live in an expensive neighborhood…and she wants everyone to know it. She might as well have put, “[high school friend] is counting her bags of money” on her status update.
I asked my husband, “Why would someone use his or her status update to brag?”
His response, “Insecurity.”
I read somewhere that Facebook status updates are a good way to tell others some cool things about yourself that can’t easily be worked into a regular conversation. Let me translate that for you, Facebook status updates are an acceptable way to boast to your friends. Ick.
My two cents: Status updates can be a fun way to express yourself, let friends and family know where you are during your cross-country road trip, or just make others laugh. But they can also be very revealing, so choose your words carefully and think good and hard about whether telling everyone how much you looooove your new BMW is really necessary (or cool).
In just a few sentences, I learned all I needed to know about my old friend and what kind of person she’s grown into. It’s too bad that you can’t view someone’s status updates on Facebook BEFORE inviting then to be your friend…because that single sentence at the top of someone’s profile just might clue you into whether or not they’re worth the invitation.
Want more? Click here to subscribe to “that cool broad”.