I spend more time on Facebook and Instagram than I should. I know that. I know that Facebook is a great technological evil that has come to make people less productive by letting them stalk basically everyone they are acquainted with. I know it reveals (and probably increases) people’s shallowness and materialism. I know it is probably degrading our brains.
But I also know that it is a wonderful way to keep in touch with people without actually having to call them as ask “Hey! How are you? What’s new?”, because we all know that 9 out of 10 answers to those questions will be some variation of “Fine. Nothing new going on.” Few people will automatically start talking to fill you up on the things you missed in their lives while you’ve been away. And the people who do that.. Well, they are most often the people whose lives you really don’t want to hear about. That’s where Facebook becomes so useful: you can see what your friends have been up to and, if you decide to start a chat, you will have something to talk about. You can like and leave comments on people’s pictures or status updates. It’s just a friendly way of saying “I’m acknowledging our connection. I’m still here. We’re still friends. DON’T. FORGET. ME.”
The thing is, sometimes people won’t even do that. And to me it sends a clear message: “I simply don’t care about your life”.
When I came to Scotland, most of my friends stopped messaging me after a couple weeks. Some of them would still do it very rarely – I’d just like to point out that these were people that I used to talk to EVERYDAY. Only three friends would actually skype me. In the beginning, they would all like and comment on my pictures on Facebook and Instagram. But after a while, you start to notice that people get tired of you (at least, that’s how it feels). I suppose it’s normal that people get a little distant. You run out of things to talk about when you live in different countries. I don’t mind my acquaintances ignoring me. What really hurts is the silence of my so called “best friends”.
To make everything even more bittersweet, I started seen pictures of them with this new girl. LOTS of pictures. They seem to be going out practically everyday and having lots of fun. They travelled together. They have inside jokes. WITHOUT ME.
(I know this is sounding totally seventh grade and I promise I’ll get mature again in a second. I just need you to stay with me and endure my juvenile feelings for a little longer.)
Back to my drama, “WHO IS THIS BITCH THAT STOLE ALL MY FRIENDS??????” is a thought that might have crossed my mind. I know, I know. Calling a sister a bitch is not okay. Feminist me is ashamed for the thought. But, see, as much as I tried to pretend that everything was fine, that I was totally okay with some random girl befriending all my group of friends, that the fact that they seem closer now than we are doesn’t bother me at all… I just couldn’t help it. I tried to be mature and deal with this as an adult woman, I swear. I failed.
It was only when I finally admitted to myself that yes, I was jealous, that things started to clear up a bit. But one thought led to another, in the fantastic and mysterious ways the human mind works (specially when you have the notes you should be reading for Tuesday’s exam right in front of you) and I finally realized a few things. First of all, that this new girl has not “stolen” my friends. Mostly because they were never mine in the first place.
I could talk about the way living abroad made me aware of the people that really matter and the ones that are simply part of my everyday life back home, but that’s not even what I mean here. When I say they were never mine, I’m not implying that they were not my friends, but simply that they didn’t belong to me. Just as they don’t belong to her. You can’t own people – you can only love them and hope they may love you back.
Sometimes the love people give back is greater than what you gave them. Sometimes, it’s not. Sometimes it can be so much less than what you deserve that it’s best for everyone if you just go separate ways. But sometimes, even if it’s not what you expected in return, what people offer you can be worth your investment. And most of the times, it doesn’t really matter. Because the great beauty of all this is that you loved them. You, wonderful being, produced this marvelous feeling and you are spreading it with the world. And that’s a reward in itself. Feeling love is the greatest reward of all.
It doesn’t matter if my friends found a new friend. I still love them. And I’m pretty sure that, in their own way, they still love me, too.