Some of my best friends on Facebook are people I don’t know that well in real life. They are mainly the parents of children in my younger son’s class. We comment on each other’s statuses, ‘like’ photos and make each other laugh. They are nice people with a good sense of humour. But when I see them in the playground we don’t always chat.
My friend says this means they aren’t real friends. They are fake. Because you can hide behind writing. Because it isn’t the real you.
But I disagree. Because if that’s true, then I’m the same. I’m fake. I’m hiding behind my writing.
Well I’m not. And nor are my Facebook friends from school. They are nice people. And so am I.
I find writing easier than talking. I can say what I like and people have the option of whether they ‘listen’ or not. I don’t feel awkward. I am funnier when I write than when I’m talk. That doesn’t make me fake. I’m not hiding behind anything. I’m not pretending to be something I’m not.
I’m just a little bit shy.
And I guess some of these other parents are too.
With one person, I will talk all day. I will hardly pause for breath. I love chatting.
But with two or more people (with the notable exceptions of my fabulous colleagues and my very oldest friends) I feel awkward. I go quiet. I don’t like to butt in. I can’t just join a group and start talking. So I don’t.
I pick up my daughter first. As I live near the school, I tend to get there just before the bell – I’m not going to get stuck in traffic and I don’t have to worry about parking. The people I get on with are already talking to someone else. A more confident person would probably just join in. But I don’t. I’d rather stand on my own as a conscious decision than stand with a group and be ignored or be unable to join in.
Once I’ve got my daughter, I wander round to my younger son’s classroom, where all my Facebook friends are waiting. In groups. Chatting.
I smile. I may say hello. But I don’t join in.
They are still my friends on Facebook. I even meet some of them for a book group. I’m sure they know that I’m not unfriendly. I bet they understand because maybe they’re a bit like me too.
What do you think? Does being better at writing than talking make me or anyone else a fake?