The Mum Network

Are Facebook Friends Real Friends?

This morning Miss 3, who shall now be known as “The Terrorist” decided that it would be a good idea to use her toy kitchen to make milkshakes and dinner. Yep real milkshakes using pink milk. The pink milk was purchased by her tired and overwhelmed Nanny yesterday because she drove her so crazy at the supermarket that buying the pink milk was easier than the tantrum that would have occurred if the answer had been “no”. To avoid these situations one would usually suggest that you don’t take kids to the shops, but ask any Mum and they’ll say it’s impossible to avoid.

Anyway, upon discovering that every teacup, toy sink, plate, saucepan, floor and plastic veges soaking in pink milk, I threw my “thou shalt not yell at children” strategy out the window and turned into psycho mother. This is only because Miss 3 has been told a thousand times that food/liquid aren’t allowed in that room and we don’t seem to be getting anywhere on the ‘listening to the rules’ part of the equation. She burst into tears, told me she was going to her room (she seems to send herself there as I’ve never sent a child to their room, it’s way too fun) She then promptly yelled back at me “I am NOT YOUR FRIEND”. This is possibly the biggest insult she can throw at me and one that she thinks has some type of significance to me. Naturally I always respond with “that’s ok, I’m your mother”.

Friendship is a weird thing isn’t it because in this day and age we really do have different types of friends that we put in different categories. I am personally a crap friend. I never call anyone and rely on the power of social networking (Facebook) to keep my friends up to date with my life. I make the assumption that everyone is fascinated by my facebook posts and therefore if we do ever catch up, I don’t have much to report because I’ve assumed they all know what’s happened in my life since we last saw each other. Given I work fulltime I turn off the phones on the weekends, I also ignore all invites to BBQ’s, housewarmings and 30th’s of my younger mates and dedicate my precious 48 hours to my kids. By Sunday afternoons I’m generally wishing I had friends.

I’m also completely crap at catching up with those people from the past that others feel compelled to catch up with only once or twice a year, you know the “we used to work together so we must catch up on how your life is” kind of friends. My sister often tells me I’m cold and that my commitment to my friends is pathetic, unlike hers, where her friends are like her sisters. That said, she went to boarding school, she grew up with those girls. They are her sisters. My lack of commitment to these relationships is because I am secure that when we do catch up, it will be when I don’t feel I ‘must’ or feel guilty because we haven’t caught up.  Life changes when you have kids, priorities change and for the most part, a good friend understands that.

It’s also rather interesting how friendship works between women. They never seem to grow up. I’ve seen a bit of bitchiness in my day but watching female friendships evolve fascinates me. In parenthood circles you don’t want to end up in the “why did you invite her child over for a play and not mine” situation or the “Betty went out for coffee with Janey and I’m pissed because she’s MY friend”. I can’t be bothered to get tied up in these discussions or arguments, not because I don’t care but I’m too busy to worry if anyone likes me enough for coffee. It’s like weddings, believe it or not, I’m grateful when I’m not invited to a wedding. Uh huh, honestly. Between a new frock, babysitters, gifts, travel and general hassle involved in going to a wedding, I love the opportunity to send an email and knowing it will be read out on the big night with the lovely couple knowing I’m tucked up in bed “thinking of them”.

Then there’s the “Facebook friend” situation. Nothing really says “F*** you” like a Facebook friend deletion. In fact, it’s far less offensive in real life to never call someone again but a facebook deletion really is like saying “I want nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with you”. I’ve been guilty of de-friending and being de-friended. When I did it, I didn’t meant to offend, I just didn’t see any value in knowing about that person or them knowing about me. Some people do get so tied up in a knot over facebook friendships that I think they’re the most dangerous of all. I know of people who obsess over a facebook deletion and take it to heart but wouldn’t think twice if they’d never heard from that person again. We need to be real and understand if we would have been ‘friends’ with that person pre-facebook (and yes, this includes family), if not, then stop worrying.

According to research, most people can count the number of real friends they have on 2 hands. A total of 10 real friends per person is what we really and truly have in terms of real friends.  Certainly makes me look like I’m over compensating with my 200 odd facebook friends doesn’t it!  Perhaps everyone should prepare themselves as I may take a leaf out of my 3 year olds vocabulary and simply say “You are not my friend”.

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