An Open Letter to All of My Facebook Friends

Dearest Acquaintance Facebook Tells Me I Once Knew,

I don’t recall the exact moment we became friends or even who sent the initial request. It was the thing to do at the time, a way to say, I see you and I recognize your worth as a part of my life. Or something like that. Like I said, it’s been a while.

We may not talk any longer, if indeed we ever did, but for a brief moment in time our individual orbits miraculously crossed and we experienced enough of a connection to act on the desire to stay engaged in one another’s lives. It’s beautiful, that human desire for permanence in an ever-changing world. And though you’ve since gotten married and it took me a solid ten minutes to figure out who you were and why we were friends, I value that tenuous social connection we share.

Sometimes I feel strange, being granted this intimate look into your life. Knowing the names of your children and pets, the places you go on vacation, the celebrities and politicians you think are overrated. I wonder whether I would have known or cared about these things had we kept in contact, and I often come to the conclusion no, probably not, but I’m glad to live in a world where I now can.

Not because I really care one way or the other, but because I truly enjoy providing you with a small amount of validation and support.

Your child is adorable. Honestly. Your dogs and cats are, too. That meal you took a picture of in remarkably low light really does look good and I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

I may not know you anymore, if we were ever even close enough to consider ourselves actual friends, but I find myself wanting to encourage your passions and dreams with a quick like, share, or follow. I want to support your side projects and compliment your art or your life and commiserate over Pinterest fails to let you know that you’re not alone. And deep down I want you to do the same for me, even as I recognize the fact that you know nothing whatsoever about my life and I know nothing whatsoever about yours.

That’s the beauty of social media, is it not? Where once we would have faded from each other’s notice and become strangers once again, now we are bombarded with the inner workings of one another’s lives. So I’m grateful for you, friend I haven’t seen in at least ten years, friend I’ve shared a grand total of twenty words with ever, friend who looks vaguely familiar but I can’t place for the life of me. Keep being you. Keep living your best life. Keep following your dreams. And I’ll keep subscribing to your side hustles, liking pictures of your baby, and wishing you all the best, not just when Facebook tells me it’s your birthday, but every time I procrastinate real life and pop open that app.

Your Friend (According to Facebook, Anyway)