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22 October 2001 @ 11:57 am
It must be fall, I was woken up this morning by two of the cats having a hissfight over the rights to the warmest part of the bed, ie, me. I really wanted to hide under the covers and sleep more, since curling up in warm blankets is the most decadent thing about fall, but there was the siren song of work. So now I'm curled up under blankets on the couch. Mmm, work from home rocks.

I'm spending the time while I'm waiting for updates to process by searching around for livejournal people I know. So I am once again encountering my wierd phobia about the word friend, first discovered on sixdegrees. Intellectually I know that on livejournal, the word friend just means 'people whose journal I'm interested in tracking', but something deep in the brain fears claiming people as friends when they would not think of me as a friend. I want little divisions, like 'friends' and 'acquaintances' and 'friend of a friend' and 'know them faintly but they have a cool webjournal.' But no such thing so I find myself doing little selfjustifying spiels -- 'I've never met Velma, but we chatter away at each other on rasff, and I worry about her mother, anyone whose mother you worry about has to be a friend, right?'

And I still haven't been able to bring myself to add a couple of people who... I don't precisely dislike, but they don't particularly like me, and there's some tension in the relationship. But they share a lot of the same activities and friends so I'd still want to put them in the list to keep up with things. The mind is a strange thing.
Current Mood: workingworking
Meiprincessmei on October 23rd, 2001 01:11 am (UTC)
fair weather and foul
It's funny that this should be the very first post I read after creating my own friends list tonight. Funny, because as I was creating the list I had the same feelings and discomfort.

I read the list of people who had already listed me as a friend and was immediately pleased. These people liked me! (Okay, I know this sounds a little silly, but I get a bit strange after midnight. Nothing like Gremlins strange, but there is an entire set of insecurities that only show up at night. Social acceptance is only one of them.) It was easy to relist all the people who had listed me, and then came the difficult decisions.

Was it presumptive of me to list people who hadn't listed me? Was it presumptive for me to label these people as my 'friends' when they may or may not consider me such? Obviously, in my life, there is a difference between the friends I talk to, and those I share my stress and worries as easily as I share my happiness with.

Part of why I cam to LiveJournal so late was my feeling of reluctance for what was being described to me as an online journal/diary. In my mind the point of a journal or diary was to sort out my feelings honestly, a thing that gets more difficult when one must consider the ramifications of their words upon those who read them. How am I to be honest with myself in a journal, if I am worrying more about the tension that will arrise due to what I say, then what I really feel. My friends are good people, but I think it is natural for tension to arise among social groups, and worsen when honesty is not tempered by tact. And I think a journal is no place for tact. A journal is a place to spill my train of thought, my angers, my worries and sort them all out. As such, I resisted LJ as long as I could. I gave in to have a forum that made it easier to talk to the people who keep asking about my day. This seemed, convenient and compact.

But again, as with six degrees, the concept of friend comes up. I remember, with six degrees, I got a petition to sign off as someone's friend, and after a day or two of research I still couldn't figure out who in the world this person was. So, I assumed I had forgotten them, and rather guiltily wrote them a note, explaining this and asking them to tell me who they were. I was more than a little surprised to find out, they didn't know me at all. They simply saw I was in the same area they were and they knew I was female and had a large list of second degree people.

Apparently, that was enough for them to be interested in friendship. I thought his reply was more than a little rude. And yet, it took me more than a day to refuse the connection. I felt kind of guilty. This person had stepped forward and asked to be my friend (in a manner of speaking) and I said no. At around the same time, an aquaintance friend from DC made a long post on Six Degrees about how they needed other categories than just friend or relative. They needed ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend. Ex-lover. Loathed Enemy. Arch Nemesis. Stranger who seems interesting. Future Net-crush. Person I never actually want to meet in real life.

Obviously, some of these were a bit over the top.

But they may be better definitions for some of the people I will consider adding in the future.
but ain't no gyroscope can spin forever....roadnotes on October 23rd, 2001 08:51 am (UTC)
I think you'll find that almost everyone here in LiveJournal goes through the "what do you mean by 'friend' here" issue, in different ways.

I begin to think that the ability to break the friends list down to groups, and make entries open to only certain groups, is worth considering. Though, like you, the word itself niggles at me. I don't know most of the people on my friends list well enough to call them "friend," and there are some I've no interest in meeting in real time.

What I do is read the friends lists of some of the people on my friends list, so that I can track the public doings of people I find interesting. And I'm learning that I don't have to add everyone who adds me, or add them immediately. And that I am entitled to drop someone from my friends list if I choose. (As I will be shortly, because I'm uncomfortable with aspects of what I read, and I think I don't need to do something that will stress me out.)


Hi there!
Cera S.diony on October 25th, 2001 08:40 pm (UTC)
I seem to have this reaction periodically, starting with my so-called 'friends' page on my website and moving on to sixdegrees and now here. I had many of the same worries; does adding someone I don't know very well as a friend *mean* something? Are they going to feel like I'm invading their privacy by reading their journal? Did so-and-so drop me from their list because I did something to upset them? Etc etc etc. Silly thoughts, a lot of them, but valid ones. Words *do* matter.

At this point I think I'm pretty happy using my 'friends' list as a bookmark file, and assuming that people will understand that use of it. But still... sometimes I worry.