May 16, 2022

Hitting “Remove” Instead Of “Accept”: A Facebook Saga

Friendship is rarely earned (or even planned) on social media

By Ed Goldman

In a May 3rd Wall Street Journal story, it was reported that people fear that if they leave Facebook, they’ll lose their friends—okay, their Friends. 

This led me to wonder: Do you ever feel a twinge of regret when you get a Facebook Friend request and rather than click on Accept you hit Remove?

Edgy Cartoon

When “Like” Ends

I realize the people I’m Removing probably didn’t send the request in the first place. They probably have no idea who I am, my likes and dislikes, my pet peeves or my blood type. (It’s O positive, just in case you catch me faltering by the end of today’s installment). Even so, I still sometimes feel bad about turning them down.

This doesn’t go for all of those requests, however. 

Here’s a 10-point rundown of the potential Friends I Remove so quickly that occasionally, my arthritic thumb slips on its own to Accept. It’s made me wonder if the algorithms are rigged to register Accept even when I hit Remove. (But how could that be? Social media is such an honorable segment of our society, as I was just discussing with Elon Musk on Skype from his lair in Reykjavík.)

  1. People who use dogs or slogans as their cover photos. Although I get the idea—this person loves dogs or doggerel—I really can’t commit my heart to a poodle or tagline without more data.
  2. People who run pix of themselves with their spouses. Look, what (or whom) am I signing on for, you or your significant other? And if it’s both of you, please explain what you have in mind. I have an early-morning meeting and am allergic to Crisco.
  1. People who list “mutual” Friends I’ve either never heard of or never liked.
  2. People who run photos of themselves with either actual celebrities or cardboard cutouts of same.
  3. People who use photos of celebrities instead of themselves. Sorry, Roger, you really don’t resemble Tom Selleck in 1985. Then again, neither does Tom Selleck. But he comes ever-so-much closer.
  4. People who congratulate themselves for having just won an award in their industry—an industry and award that are completely obscure to most of us on the planet. The false modesty doesn’t help, either: “I am so amazed, humbled and grateful to have been named Button-Hook Broker of the Year by the Button-Hook Broker Association’s Spearfish, South Dakota Tri-County Branch! There are so many people to thank and you already know who you are!”
  1. People photographed standing triumphantly over a small deer they’ve just sent to meet its maker, or while participating in either a Civil War reenactment or an insurrection to overthrow the United States of America. Please head immediately to hell.
  2. People wearing clown makeup who don’t work as either professional or amateur clowns. Sorry, Friends, you’re getting into Heath Ledger territory, with a brief stop in Joaquin Phoenix.
  3. People who begin their posts by saying some equivalent of “Well, you all know me, and… .” But I don’t know you, Larissa, and I’m afraid I’m tuning in a little late to your no-doubt spellbinding series of posts about flying around the world first-class with your service possum Rodolpho.
  4. Political campaigns. I’m really not sure how to Friend “Lester Delfino for State Controller.” What sort of relationship would that be?

LES: Hello?

ME:  Hi, is this Lester Delfino for State Controller?

LES: Yes, but—

ME:  Just wanted to see if you’d like to go out and grab a bite with me this evening, Lester Delfino for State Controller. Or am I calling at a bad time?

LES: Who is this?

ME:  Why, it’s Ed Goldman, Lester Delfino for State Controller. You sent me a Friend Request. I thought maybe you’d recognize my voice.

LES: I don’t even recognize your name, much less your voice. 

ME:  Then why’d you send me the Friend Request, Lester Delfino for State Controller?

LES: [Click]

ME: Hey, was that a unique click, Lester Delfino for State Controller? Am I trending? 

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).