I admit I'm not a good Facebooker. I know the format is supposed to be intuitive and my kids certainly seem to have the hang of it, but I just don't like it much. I'm never absolutely certain who is reading which conversations. And the visual clutter drives me nuts. I much prefer blogs.

That said, after I finished checking up on my children at Facebook the other day, I clicked around to see what some old friends have been up to lately. When I went to one place, I discovered I had been "un-friended." It took me awhile to figure that out (as I said, I don't totally have the hang of it) but once I did figure it out, I felt fourteen again.

For about 3 minutes.

Did I do something wrong? Write something somewhere? Offend her somehow? Was she just scaling back and making her circle smaller? Was it personal?

After my 3 minutes of high school flashback, I called to mind a recent conversation with a friend (a friend-friend, the kind with whom you have philosophical conversations about friendship). She told me how some people have no problem moving on from friendships. They don't necessarily make friends for life. Friendship, she explained, isn't like marriage. It's OK to move on, sometimes. This came as a surprise to me. I just assumed that everyone approaches friendship like I do. When I'm your friend, I'm your friend forever. And if you move on, I spend years wondering why--mostly wondering what it was I did wrong. If you move on and come back, I'm readily happy and willing and eagerto make things good again (though I'm increasingly cautious about giving away my heart quite the way I used to). That's just the way I'm wired. Come to think of it, my high school geometry teacher sat me down one day after school to warn me that this was a very good way to get hurt again and again. I pretty much ignored her.

My friendship paradigm has changed since my recent friend-friend conversation.(I'm a slow learner, no? In geometry and friendship.) Now, I understand better that some people (most people?) have different friends in different seasons in their lives in addition to some friends that are lifetime friends. People who approach friendship that way don't agonize about friendships that have faded. They move on. They are fine. And they pretty much assume their former friend is, too. Can you be a "former friend"--really? I can't say the revelation cured me. I still miss every faded friendship. Every. Single. One. But I have a slightly different perspective, and maybe a little more peace.And hopefully, I am better able to help my children navigate the world of friendships, because goodness knows this new internet dimension just makes it more complicated. Or does it?

Now people can just "un-friend" with a click.


Laugh about it: Unfriended by Garrison Keillor (HT: Ann)