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Can You Sustain A Real Friendship By Just Poking Someone On Facebook?

Updated on December 8, 2009


Before I begin I shall admit my own guilt in this matter. I’m guilty (though not for the usual reason of my Jewish guilt gnawing away at my soul). I’m guilty of rather than picking up a phone and talking to some of my honest to goodness friends, I’ve found that simply “poking” them on Facebook makes me feel less guilty about not being in touch with them. But can you sustain a real friendship by just poking someone on Facebook? – Don’t Get Me Started!

When I first got poked (kids, minds out of the gutter please) I thought it was cute. You know a sort, “What up?” “How are you?” kind of thing when I signed on to my Facebook account. I still feel that way when I get a poke from say the person who sat behind me in ninth grade algebra and who I haven’t seen since 1983 when I graduated. But what I discovered was that the whole poking thing didn’t just happen with semi-friends or “used to be” friends, it started happening more and more between me and my real friends. The friends I used to email with or actually talk to on the phone. Slowly they became poker friends and I’m mourning the loss. (Why did I write it like that? Now I’ll have Lady GaGa in my head for the next three days…p-p-p-p-p-pokerface! ARGH)

I know that a lot of people pride themselves on having something like 300+ (and in some cases 3,000+) friends on their Facebook page. I also know that there is no way that the 300+ can actually be friends as I define it (someone who would take care of you – that’s right, that’s my rather broad definition but think about it and see if you don’t agree. If someone who sat behind me in class in 1982 was ill or died in a horrible crash, I would donate money or bring a meal to their family. But if one of my true friends is ill, I’m the Jewish mother they wish they had or wish they didn’t have. And should they ever meet a horrible death I would not only take care to make sure all the arrangements were made properly for their funeral, I would care for their children, partner or parents or whoever the case may be for them because I know they would do the same for me, that makes someone a true friend in my opinion. A true friend is also someone you never have to say, “Don’t repeat this to anyone.” They “take care of you” by knowing that anything between the two of you is exactly that, between just the two of you.) So for the most part I think Facebook is mostly filled with acquaintances more than friends and that’s fine. Of course then you have to ask yourself why so many people feel acquaintances or electronic friends need to know what they’re doing every moment of every day by updating their status or having a Twitter account. (If you’re someone who continually writes about how busy you are, you fall into my category of people who aren’t busy enough. If you have time to write in a list of things that are making you busy and expect me to read it and give you sympathy you’re mistaken. I would wonder why you didn’t spend your time getting something done instead of taking time out of your day to post about it on Facebook.) But I digress.

When I sign onto Facebook now and see a poking from a good friend it brings a smile to my face but it also makes me more than a little sad. I wonder why we haven’t spoken in so long or why we haven’t emailed and then with a little sadness I realize that at least we’re still in each other’s lives (if only by poking) so I click to poke them back and I hope that they realize that the poke I’m sending is not just a slap on the back or fist under their chin but that it’s a hug and a miniscule gesture to let them know how very much I love them. Is it enough? Absolutely not. So pals, start picking up the phone and I will too. Because I know, you can’t sustain a real friendship by just poking someone on Facebook? – Don’t Get Me Started!

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