How Many of Your Facebook Friends Do You Actually Know?

Illustration for article titled How Many of Your Facebook Friends Do You Actually Know?

You log into Facebook and you have a birthday reminder for one of your "friends." The name doesn't ring a bell and the profile picture isn't helpful. Someone you knew in high school who got married, maybe? You have no idea.

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You click on their profile. Their photos look kind of vaguely familiar, but you still can't place them. Eventually you end up digging into their friend list like some kind of stalker to see your friends in common, and you realize it's your friend's cousin's ex-fiance you shared a table with at that wedding four years ago.

This is friendship?

How many of your Facebook friends could you pick out of a crowd (and know their names)?

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A more subjective follow-up question for the comments: How many of your Facebook "friends" do you feel like are actual friends? The kind you'd stop on the street and catch up with?

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DISCUSSION

I deactivated my Facebook account a week ago and the fact that I had amassed all these friends — something like 800+ —that was my reasoning for turning it off instead of unfriending people. I play in a band (a terrible one—- you would hate it) and you meet a lotta people that way, not friends—- people.

Then combine that with the way that my friends — some I have known since childhood —- have ridiculously uninformed political views but are otherwise pretty cool and I decided that I would de-petty my life by shutting FB down.

The thing that struck me was that at first I felt like I was letting my friends down by turning it off. It shows how FB really gets its claws into you. But after a day or so I have pretty much forgotten about it and no longer compulsively go back to the site. It was surprisingly easy to quit. Now that I am not on it I wonder why I found it so interesting because in hindsight I don't really remember it being that great.

I am not advocating everyone dump FB tho. I just eventually got over it. I do think it is a good thing to stay in touch with people. The more "real" friends a person has and the more in touch with the outside world a person is usually has a direct impact on that persons happiness. FB ended up pulling me out of the world instead of connecting me to it. I feel kinda foolish over all the times I stared at the app on my phone instead of enjoying what I was doing right then.