I read this a few days ago Better cyber friend than real one? and it made me think about friendship. I mean, how can anyone have thousands of REAL friends? I’m not saying that you can’t have cyber friendships. It’s just that in my view, a real friend is someone who is i) there when you need a shoulder to cry on (be it ‘virtual’ or real), ii) someone whose company you enjoy (be it ‘virtual’ or real), iii) someone you can confide in, and iv) someone who you make time for. So how can anyone have thousands of those?
Mum won’t join Facebook because she says that not only would she end up as the sad bastard with only two friends but that she simply doesn’t want to be a part of it. To be honest I think she’s also a bit nervous about the possible consequences - she doesn’t want to wake up one morning to find 400 people camped on her lawn just because she happened to mention on Facebook that she was having Stephanie round for dinner that evening.
Nevertheless, mum still gets people inviting her to be their ‘friend’ on Facebook, or Myspace (or that other one I can’t remember the name of) and it always leaves her feeling bemused because they are invariably invites from people she doesn’t really know. Last week she got an invite from a guy who she hasn’t seen since she was nine years old “…I mean, why on earth does he want me as his friend when the last time we saw each other was at Junior school and I called him ‘poo breath’? I guess he has 199 friends and he’d like to get to 200...” Mum says most of them are ‘shameless Facebook hussies’ who aren’t at all interested in being her friend, they simply want to make up the numbers. They want to appear popular.
Now I know that LOADS of you humans have adopted the attitude that it doesn’t matter what people think of you. Apparently it’s a very admirable attitude to have and folk are often ridiculed for caring about what others think of them: “Take me or leave me”, I’ve heard that one before and “I don’t care what others think – I’m not courting popularity,” and “Does it matter what people think of you?” and, “It’s not a popularity contest is it?”. Isn’t it? I wonder.
You humans are lucky if you can survive in this world by doing your own thing, even if it makes you unpopular. Us dogs can’t. In the doggy world being liked, being popular, being appealing is a matter of survival. And I ask you, what’s wrong with wanting to be liked? Why is it considered a weakness? It started eons ago - imagine prehistoric men sitting round their campfire gnawing on their hunks of mammoth flesh and thinking “Now which little doggies should we throw the bones to? The cute ones wagging their tails enthusiastically and looking at us as if we were Gods? Or the morose ones looking at us as if we were mammoth poo?” Yep, you got it! The waggy-tailed cute dogs would have always ended up with the bones.
If us dogs didn’t remain appealing, we simply wouldn’t survive. Who would want to keep us?
A small digression here: that’s why I can’t understand why folk are attracted to cats. Cats are a complete conundrum in my view. I mean, they peruse everyone and everything with a look that is literally oozing with disdain but people still keep them and grow attached to them. It’s bizarre.
Back to main post: I wonder if lots of folk who declare that they are their own person who couldn’t give a damn what others think are simply full of bravado, when deep down they’re thinking “…please, please, please like me. I SO want to be liked…please, please, please…” I’m wondering because despite the pervasive attitude that it really doesn’t matter what folk think, the growing popularity of sites such as Facebook, the growing horde of folk who are seeking fame in one way shape or form through the growing number of reality TV shows and the growing status of the ‘Celebrity’ seem to scream otherwise.
I do care what others think of me and don’t mind admitting it. I want to be liked, because I don’t think I’d be a happy dog if I wasn’t - I don’t have rhino hind and I’m quite a sensitive soul. Saying that, I don’t need thousands of friends either, apart from the fact that I can only count to ten I reckon it’d be bloody tiring.
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