Left Out

I haven’t thought at all about popularity since high school.  I was so glad to leave those days behind and move on to college, which was much more my style.  I loved meeting people from different geographic areas and eventually found my niche.   Nowadays, at work, I’m more of a loner but it’s of my own choosing.  I have work friends but I often have to run errands or unwind with a magazine or book.

As a working parent, my time is mostly devoted to work or kids.  We rarely get any couple time.  I see my family because they help with the kids.  I’m happy to get one hour of exercise per week. It’s easy to see how friends fall to the wayside.

What makes it worse though is that no one is inviting me anywhere.  I find out about casual family get-togethers a day before because everyone assumes I can’t make it on the weekends.  This is sort of true but it’s a strange assumption because I’m not always saying I’m busy or tired and I didn’t start turning down invites; the invites just stopped coming. 

I should be glad because it spares me from having to make excuses.  However, I would have liked to join in on some events if only I had been given more notice.

Of course I’m assuming that I haven’t turned into one of those annoying parents who can only talk about their genius kids.  Anyway, I should just tell people and hope that invites start coming again.  What stops me is that I will probably end up turning down 99% of invites.

This brings me to another related topic. I hate Facebook and smartphones, or rather technology’s influence on my relationships.  In pre-Facebook days, or before all my friends started using it and smartphones, I received long emails on a frequent basis.  Now most only update and post photos on Facebook so you get out of the loop if you don’t use it, too.  And instead of emails, I usually get a quick text update written on their phone.  I know it takes more time to write a separate email to that one friend when you can update all your “friends” at once, but I like to think that there are/were some things that you share with a particular friend, not everyone who liked you on Facebook.

How do you stay in touch in this tech-driven age?  Do you ever feel like you’re the last person NOT on Facebook? Or do you love Facebook and think hold-outs are out-of-touch Amish-types?


10 responses to “Left Out

  1. Yes! I absolutely loathe modern technology. I recently remarked that Facebook is perfect for introverts and, ironically, it is turning everyone into introverts! When I receive a text, it’s difficult not to assume that it’s because that person would rather not talk to me. Am I that unapproachable? I don’t screen my calls… etc!

  2. “I would have liked to join in on some events if only I had been given more notice.” Yes, me too. I need more notice than I’m often given. My type-A way is not how everyone else in my life rolls, unfortunately.

    I’m not, nor have I ever been, on FB. I’ve lost one IRL friend (who was not a real friend anyway) who is an FB fanatic and refuses to communicate any other way. Others who choose not on FB have been discarded as friends, too. His loss. Bizarre.

  3. Since I’m not on Facebook I don’t find out about important things like pregnancies and weddings of people who are friends but not close anymore until well after the fact– friends of friends don’t tell me like they used to because they assume I know! (And then I get lectured for how I should be on facebook… which is valid, but I wish I could just get the important stuff without having to deal with learning about how someone’s 1 year old likes green peas.)

    • For some reason, I don’t mind finding out if a friends’ 1 year old likes peas if she emails me and we’re having an online “conversation”. However, if it’s a Facebook posting, I find it lame. Probably because everyone is posting mundane details and at one point, it feels like too much information.

  4. I’m not on Facebook, either (even though a recent commenter thought I hold their COO as a personal idol- I do not). I don’t like their policies about content ownership. I may eventually crack and join, because we have a lot of friends who are far, far away, and it is hard to stay in touch.

    My biggest problem with technolgy and friendship, though is that I have some friends who read my blog and so feel up to date on my life, but never email me and update me on theirs (and don’t themselves write blogs).

  5. I used to be on Facebook, then gave it up. For awhile it was fun connecting with people I’d lost touch with, but then I realized there were reasons I’d lost touch with those people (nothing in common) and I also began to loathe the amount of time people spent on FB seeking the approval of others, wasting time, and generally bragging about their lives (kids, jobs, situations). People sugar coat the truth on FB. Or it becomes one big faux lovefest.

    With that said, I am a fan of some social media. For instance, I think Twitter has been a useful tool for getting a news stream on topics, groups, and public figures I’m interested in. I feel it allows me to filter what I receive and separate out my private interactions from my desire to absorb a certain amount of pop culture (through Twitter). Plus, I appreciate the fact that Twitter is largely a one-way communication device; their aren’t expectations to do a lot of follow up and the mechanism doesn’t really lend itself to that.

    I am intrigued by Google+, which allows me to narrow down my circles. It is a great way of communicating with family and those I truly am friends with.

    I think we do pay a price for the attachment of social media. It gives the illusion of connectedness, which really isn’t there. I think this is largely a shift in society as a whole — we are increasingly mobile, less apt to join groups, and lacking in the desire/energy/ability to organize real social groups. I learned about 5 years ago that if I was going to have a social life in my corner of the world I was going to have to instigate group activities — a book club, organized activities at my house, inviting people over. But, I get tired of being the organizer and realize that the invites are often not returned. I don’t believe my husband and I are rude or boring people (I hope not!) but believe that some folks didn’t grow up being taught how to extend hospitality. It is outside of the comfort zone of many people, and it relates to confidence and — dare I say — perfectionism. Some people feel that to invite others over their house has to be perfect, the meal needs to be elaborate, and they have to be perfectly coiffed. Too bad — as often the most casual, simple meal served with a beer and good friends is the most fun.

    • One of the big reasons I haven’t joined the FB cult is that fake feeling of connectedness; those FB friends aren’t really friends. I also feel that it does encourage the need to seek approval and outside validation for your accomplishments/life. Interesting perspective on twitter!

  6. I won’t join Facebook because it creeps me out. I don’t at all like their privacy policies or their organizational policies. I’m also not a fan of the rampant friending of everyone and everything. It feels like being naked in front of everyone – even though I’m clearly fairly comfortable with blogging personal stuff in other ways.

    And because of my refusal to join, I do write nice long emails to those friends with whom I want to stay in touch and send photos via email. This isn’t necessarily reciprocated but I do get responses sometimes and generally people know that invitations have to come by email, mail or Evite. If other events are happening by FB, then they go to PiC or not at all. I think it works well enough – I miss a lot of friends we don’t see often enough and imagine we will get less invites as time goes on but with really good family and friends, you don’t need invitations.

    I quite enjoy Twitter but even there, I am thinking about setting my account to private because it’s starting to become a lot of work to curate incoming follows.

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