There comes a day in the life of every social network when programmers realize they have enough information about you to gauge which friends are missing from your list. A couple of algorithms later, your dashboard starts to resemble a Night of the Living Dead scenario. A collection of internet-dead-to-you people arise to take up permanent residence on your home page. They fumble around, occasionally hidden from view as to give someone else a shot at rekindling what was surely once an unforgettable whatever-the-fuck you shared. Eventually, you learn that no matter how many times you hit that ‘x’ button next to their avatar, those fuckers aren’t going anywhere. And so, let us celebrate the friends Facebook insists you have.
Your Boyfriend or Girlfriend’s Ex
You have a lot of friends in common, so Facebook naturally thinks y’all would get along just great! Unfortunately, fucking the same person is where your similarities end, and you’re fairly certain they’ll never ‘Like’ any of your wall posts, so really what’s the point? Who runs Facebook, anyway, that they don’t know this? It’s like Facebook was created by some scorned dude who got dumped for being a sociopath and subsequently started dating his long-term girlfriend; rendering him completely unaware of how relationships work for the rest of us. Duh!
I’ve seen what happens when friends let their parents all up on their Facebook page. It’s cute at first, but then you start getting messages like, “Dude, can you please not tag me in those pictures from that Animal Collective show last weekend? It’s just… I think things may have gotten out of control. Maybe you can upload them and I’ll just tag myself?” When my mom told me she was getting the ‘book, I said, “Straight up, mom. I love you but we’re not Facebook friends.” She told me she had her own friends to be Facebook friends with, and we’re closer than ever.
The Person That Interviewed You for a Job and Never Called Back
This person sucks, seriously. The only reason they have the honor of being one of your Night of the Living Dead hopefuls is because after writing them a very thoughtful and tasteful ‘Thanks for the interview!’ e-mail that they never responded to, they forever became one of your e-mail contacts which you then imported to Facebook to find your real friends. Hope you were affected that one time I got a Viagra spam virus, bitch!
The Person You Genuinely Don’t Know
This person is like a unicorn. Everyone you know is aware of this person except for you. When you reminisce about college with your friends, this is the person they have endless stories about, or it’s the professor seemingly everyone had, or it’s the bartender who stopped bartending the second you got your shit together and found someone decent to chalk your ID for you. The thought that this person exists works you up into this state of anxiety – an existential crisis, if you will. Why don’t you know this person? What is wrong with you? You’re worthless.
On particularly lonely days, this person will pop up and taunt you and for just a second, you’ll consider adding them. You always decide against it in the end, though, leaving them in friendship purgatory for the foreseeable future until you meet IRL at a party and act like this is the first time you’ve heard of the person, all the while thinking to yourself, “They’re not that great.”
The Person You Know from Elsewhere on the Internet
This is the guy you made the mistake of meeting on OkCupid (and by meeting, I mean messaging each other) until someone suggested taking the chat to a more socially acceptable internet-place, like GChat. Big mistake. Like red wine spilled on Tapioca carpeting, GChat contacts are forever. Though you’ve never met, there he remains, casually mixed in with people you chat with on the regular. You saw the name and the thumbnail appear on Facebook one day and thought, “Why can’t I figure out HOW I KNOW THIS GUY?!” and it bugged the shit out of you, but the answer is simple: you don’t.
Other examples include the person who messaged you about something you posted on Craig’s List and people you are frequently CC’ed with on e-mail threads.
The Person Who Defriended You
When this person pops up for the first time, you’re a bit befuddled. Aren’t we friends already? This must be an error. Maybe they deleted their page and started fresh. But no – Facebook just deactivates pages, so that can’t be right. You mull over this for a while – sometimes the answer is clear (ex-boyfriend, someone you had to fire) but sometimes it’s a few days before you recall making a vague joke on Twitter about this person’s significant other, and then you begin to understand that this person was so fucking pissed off that they went through the tedious task of removing you from their online sphere. Now, whenever they make their rounds on your dashboard, you manage a dry laugh. You laugh so that you won’t cry.