(In being unflinchingly honest here, I'm about to be a bit of a jerk. Sorry I'm not that sorry? You can de-friend me after this if you want. But puh-leez, don't pretend you're all friends with me because you like me.)
Even after twice going through Facebook friend "purges" and refusing to add anyone I don't at least sometimes talk to (with some exceptions), my Facebook friends list sits at around 674. I have met all but a few, and take great pride in actually caring about the people I present myself as caring about. But I have realized, it is really impossible for me to truly like ALL 674 of you, much less call you friends.
So if we're not super close, this is probably why we are still friends on Facebook:
-You go to my school and I have some vague idea of who you are and I think maybe YOU might think we are friends and I'd actually like to be friends with you but at this point I'm just really confused because we like, saw each other twice.
-You are hot. Any questions?
-Your life is a train wreck I can't stop watching. Seriously, someone get out the popcorn. I want to cover my eyes, shut off the screen, or unfollow you, but there is just something about the concoction of your particular train wreck that makes me totally unable to do any of these things.
-Your life is too damned perfect and I watch, alternately happy for you, putting things you are doing on my own bucket list, and hoping something goes wrong for once.
-We dated. Or almost dated. Or I wanted to date you really, really badly. This is kind of a mix of genuine care about you and how you are doing (after all, you were once pretty important to me), and some sort of unhealthy jealousy/ over-involvment in affairs I am definitely no longer a part of. (Who is he dating? Is she prettier than me? I'm way cooler, right?) For a select few of you, this is more venomous than innocent. Don't worry, you deserve it.
-Similarly, ex-best friends are definitely the kind you watch, wanting to know how their life is going, not really being able to ask them. It works with basically anyone. Once important to me, always important to me on Facebook....
-You were really mean to me in high school or middle school and I am waiting for karma to come around. Bonus points if karma actually HAS come around.
-You are, or were, a Very Important Person at my school. (Org leaders, student body presidents, popular people. They tend to have a million people in their network, floating around to see what is up, and it is a good idea to be friends with them, to be in the know of whatever. Once their reign is over, it is fascinating to watch and see if they sink or swim on their next journey. Sorry I'm treating your life like a terrible dramedy...)
-On the topic, for the purposes of networking. Being friends on facebook with former bosses, coworkers, random extremely smart classmates is weird and feels not-very-professional (especially considering they are now reading this, oof), but networking happens in all social circles, including online. It is just practical. I won't judge you (too much) if you don't judge me (too much). (Also, it isn't really so bad. If you don't want your boss or your grandma to see something, you probably shouldn't post it on Facebook. Facebook is forever.)
-You are my age and you have kids. Believe it or not, this is not one of those backhanded nasty comments about your life choices. After initial gossipy shock, ("So-and-so is PREGNANT?") all I care about is how cute that baby is. Seriously there are so many babies in my news feed. I feel this is a little unreal. But keep the pictures coming- I LOVE babies.
-You are really close to someone I'm close to. I feel like I should be friends with you, you know?
-I think your statuses are really, really funny.
-You are my personal source for intellectual articles. You keep me informed and stuff. Thanks for making me look smarter, dude.
-You are my 8th grade crush. You were once oh-so-very-attractive, and my world was a bit crushed when I decided you didn't like me back (I wouldn't have known, I never asked you out- that would have been UNTHINKABLE.) Then you got kind of fat in college. I use this to prove to myself that some things that feel like they are the be-all-end-all of your existence really won't be that important in the future.
-Camp friends. I don't know why this is. I knew you all for less than two weeks. I didn't even LIKE some of you. (Depending on the camp, a lot of you...) But camp is this special, unbreakable Facebook bond, I guess.
-You are artsy, or have a blog or something. You post pictures or great writing or something that I can't get enough of. I just love it. Anonymously.
-I have a friend-crush on you. That means I would like to be your friend. Let's make that happen. (Although after reading all of this, you might 1) think I'm a jerk 2) mistakenly place yourself in one of the more unflattering categories, and unfriend me. Oops.)
Yo- Do you think I'm a jerk? Do you have even better/more ridiculous reasons to be friends with someone on Facebook? Why are WE friends on Facebook? Let me know in the comments!