Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Facebook friends or fiends?

Of all the neurotics on social media sites, some Facebook friends can’t help but be annoying, writes DEBBIE FERNS

Reading Time: 5 minutes

For weeks now, a folder sits on the screen of my laptop, reminding me that I have a bunch of photographs ready to be uploaded onto Facebook. But I keep stopping myself. I just can’t do it! I am not a person who is social-media savvy or someone who is too invested in Facebook friends.

I don’t want to update my profile every day to enlighten people about when I have, to put it politely, passed wind when my kids pass wind and the strength, sound and aroma that those creations produce. 

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I tell myself that I don’t want to encourage subtle voyeurism within my circle of Facebook friends and that my family is not in competition with others about who is the most content in their lives.

But people do it all the time. They fall into distinct categories, all of which irritate me, but I do have some favourites, as below.

The enlightened ones

These are the ‘holier-than-thou’ people who believe in reminding their Facebook friends about how wonderful life is, how we should be grateful for what we have, how we should live each day to the fullest. These and other trite philosophies smatter their news feeds, accompanied by photoshopped visuals of doves cooing, exotic flowers and unreal sunsets. They just don’t get that we all know these things anyway and take pains not to practice them. We are, after all, human. ‘Forgiveness sets you free’ says one post. A pistol with a silencer can have the same effect, thinks the cynic in me.

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Coz I’m happy!

Yeah, we know. Because all your pics on FB are well-posed shots of you having a good time with family, friends, partner or pet. These are invariably accompanied by lots of ‘likes’ and brilliant comments like ‘lookin’ gud guys!’ or ‘lovely family pic’, ‘God bless your beautiful family’, mostly made by your obviously sycophantic friends. The couple ooze happiness and cheer. The children look only mildly irritated. The impression is that of a perfect family, the kind that you see in ads for home mortgage solutions or breakfast cereals. Do people really have such wonderful lives, bubbling over with joyousness and happiness all the time? Does the wife really not care that her husband is a fledging alcoholic and does the husband not worry that his wife is a confirmed shopaholic? Do they think nobody knows? Seriously? Well good luck to these Facebook friends who attempt to make the rest of the world simmer with envy, but if they do think that people care enough to view their 60-odd ‘happy’ pics, they’re probably a mite delusional.

Smarty n smarmy

Oooh, these are my favourite kind of pseudo-intellectuals. They delve deeply into the recesses of their incomprehensible minds and come up with the most indecipherable comments on Facebook, which are ‘totally’ understood and liked by a very small circle of their cronies who inhabit their mind space. Everyone else goes ‘Whaaa?’. These people are invariably cerebral because they think they are, and although they try hard to make the comment seem casual, a seasoned Facebook-er can tell that they’ve spent at least a week polishing up the comment in their minds or notebooks. Then they carefully put it on FB at a time when they think it will get the maximum views. Next, they will ‘like’ every comment that comes through, and add their own self-explanatory comments to make the post even more tedious. Yawn, chillax, guys!

Shameless selfies 

Now I have a problem with selfies because I don’t take good pics of myself. The amusing thing about selfies is that no matter what the shot or surroundings, the person in them always has the same kind of look – a huge, happy smile, or a pouty, best profile forward kind of look. In a group pic, you can always recognise the selfie – they’re the ones posing with the shoulder-forward stance, their lips are just slightly pursed, their profile is what an expensive fashion photographer has told them is their ‘best’ side, and their hair is impeccable. They’re the ones subtly jostling to get to the best advantage in a frame, and if posing with their partner or children, will have them in a vice-like grip, that is expected to denote affection. Really!

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Cryptic curiosities

A couple I am acquainted with were having marital problems. How did I know, being in Australia and with them in India? We aren’t particular friends either, but the wife’s posts were sentimental to the point of insanity, with comments like, ‘Love is like a red rose, but its thorns can make you bleed!’ To which the husband would respond, ‘True, true, but I will cut off all the thorns for you’. This went on in the same vein for months, and if anyone cared enough to see how the next instalment in the saga was continuing, they only needed to view these posts. Most of their friends and acquaintances heaved a huge sigh of relief when they finally solved their marital problems and started posting ‘Coz I’m happys’. A few cynics dared to wonder which was worse, the cryptic comments or lovey-dovey disasters that followed.

Devoted dunces

These are the odd couples who carry out conversations between themselves for the edification of Facebook. So on a wife’s birthday, the husband will gush: ‘So happy to be married to my wonderful wife, the most beautiful, caring woman in the whole world’. To which the wife will reply: ‘My darling hubby, life would be empty without you’. They then carry on in this nauseous stream until even die-hard sycophants find themselves OD’ing on the love and affection. I don’t get it. You live in the same house. You sleep in the same bed, presumably. Why don’t you just talk to each other, whisper this drivel into each other’s ears and leave the rest of the world to survive without your paroxysms of love?

Anything for sale

These people are among the most annoying I have known, and the ones to get ‘unfriended’ the most. And the strange thing is that they’re really quite nice people with no clue about marketing. They don’t quite get that friends and family can get a bit tired of tedious self-promotion semi-ads about their business ventures. Why would I constantly look forward to posts that include something about the latest cake or candle design they have created, or about their franchise’s hottest selling mascara? From chappatis to cutlets, from massage therapy to mortgages, they shamelessly sell whatever they have to, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

So those are just some of the namoonas that currently infest your group of Facebook friends. Not that I am an exception. If you’re looking for a cynical, sceptical, opinionated snob, look no further. No surprise that you’ll find my posts sarcastic and pseudo-humorous. With no ‘likes’. So just slot me into the category that says ‘Mad ‘n’ mean’ and you can be my friend for life!

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