Recently, I had 829 “friends” on Facebook, yet I couldn’t even count 100 people IRL that I’m comfortable sharing family photos with — or any other intimate details, for that matter. So, I trimmed that insane number down to something that much more closely resembled my reality.
Facebook, for me, is not a collection of all the people I’ve ever met — that’s what MySpace was for, right? Facebook is where I share memes and pictures, tell personal stories, ask for advice, and pretty much use my profile as a sounding board for my personal stuff.
So back when I joined the PTA, and acquired 23 new “friends” on Facebook as a result, things got weird really fast.
In fact, there is nothing more awkward than sitting through a school meeting knowing that half the room has seen your post about the explosive diarrhea you had after eating the French onion dip at Carol’s BBQ, not to mention the hilarious but super inappropriate #TBT photos from high school when you were going through your Goth phase. It makes looking the PTA president in the eye, and trying to be taken seriously about anything, difficult.
So, I’ve decided to be much more choosy about who I accept a friend request from. Is this b*tchy? Some may think so but I don’t.
I know that the motivating reason to look up other mums from my kid’s school on Facebook isn’t to make new friends, it’s to stalk and spy. I know this because I’m guilty of it, too. Anytime my older son comes home talking about a new friend I do a quick search to scope out the parents. You’ll never catch me hitting the “add friend” button, but I’m always thankful for any information I can find.
I’m cool with the harmless peeping parents do to keep their kids safe, but too many friend requests come with personal agendas. Not all group invites are bad, of course; sometimes they’re for noble causes that I feel honored to be included in, like that time I was added to Pantsuit Nation or that other time when my friends wanted to rally and help victims of a natural disaster. More often, however, it’s a group of bored mums looking to start a club for wino bookworms or carpooling tag sales (yes, these exist). Or “friends” trying to sell me crap.
You guys, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten an over-the-top sugary message peppered with compliments and flattery attached to a friend request. Feeling all high and mighty with myself after being told how funny and witty and pretty I am, I’ve foolishly hit accept. Minutes later, there it is — the invite for an “opportunity” to buy leggings or candles or oil or whatever the hell from Janet or Karen.
If I’m being honest, I just want to be the fly-on-the-wall mum in the background that everyone is aware of but no one knows very well. I don’t mind being disconnected from the mean girl mums, or even the bestie for life mums. Hell, I’d be happy to keep my casual friendship with my neighborhood mums; they don’t expect anything from me other than some occasional grown-up talk at the bus stop.
So, as much as some may think it makes me a b*tch, I’ve got my Facebook profile on serious lockdown. I won’t be blindly accepting friend requests anymore, unless you’re the imperfect mum who also sucks at fundraising, doesn’t care much for playdates, and won’t judge me for posting pictures of me eating cold pizza for breakfast with my 7-year-old because, hey, some morning are just easier that way.