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Somebody needs to read Captain Awkward...

Ugh, so I just accepted a Facebook request from somebody I was friends with in high school; she moved away when we were 18 and we only kept in contact for a few months, and haven't seen each other since. I had a vague memory of having been FB friends before at some point and couldn't remember her having done anything egregious, so I assumed she'd been cut in a general friendslist cull and went ahead and refriended her.

Her first missive yesterday was a cringe-inducing private message, querying whether I was still in lurrve with the teeny-bop popstar I was obsessed with when we were 15, LOL LOL. (Wow, hilarious, but no, I'm middle-aged now, that was a long time ago and I have MOVED ON.) I sighed and rolled my eyes, and ignored that message.

Today, she replies to my FB post enthusing about one of my workplaces and posting pictures of its architectural loveliness, with something along the lines of, "I don't know where that is, I still live Oop North. My mother died last month and I'm having a really hard time."

!!!???!!! O.O DNW >:[

Does it make me a bad, mean, or overly-suspicious person that what I am hearing in that inappropriately-placed, completely out-of-left-field non-sequitur-fit-to-kill-any-conversation-stone-dead is, "I ONLY ASKED YOU TO FRIEND ME BECAUSE I WANT SYMPATHY AND SUPPORT FROM AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE NOWNOWNOW, EVEN PEOPLE I HAVEN'T SEEN IN PERSON FOR ALMOST THREE DECADES, AND IF YOU AREN'T POLITE ENOUGH TO ASK HOW I AM SO I CAN TELL YOU ALL ABOUT MY PAIN I WILL *SIGH* BRING THAT UP MYSELF, AND JUST TO ICE THAT CAKE FOR YOU I AM GOING TO DO THIS IN A REALLY REALLY PUBLIC FORUM SO YOU WILL LOOK LIKE A JACKASS IN FRONT OF YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY IF YOU DON'T RESPOND WITH TONS OF TEA AND SYMPATHY"?

Because, y'know, MY MOTHER IS DEAD INSERT SOCIETALLY-APPROVED PLATITUDES HERE is just... guaranteed to re-connect you and get you what you want from people you last hung out with in the 1980s. I think I can guess why I de-friended you the first time. Captain Awkward is that way =>>>. She can help.

EDIT: Double urgh. I inserted societally-approved platitudes, carefully omitting questions or anything that could be construed as inviting furtherance of the topic. She has responded with MOAR DETAILS plus a complaint about how her bro and sis didn't make it to see ma before she died, and are "taking it out on her". Sooo, she actually does expect venting space and emotional support from a 30-years-of-silence schoolfriend. She says she's off on holiday to get over it all. There will be a quiet re-de-friending while she's gone. *washes hands*

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Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
ankaret
Jul. 30th, 2014 04:37 pm (UTC)
That is... odd and socially out of tune, yeah. I feel sorry for anyone who's bereaved, but she's reacting as if you marched up to her at her mother's funeral and started chatting about architecture, whereas actually it's obvious to most people who use social media that
you were doing something a lot more like including a photo spread feature in Rock_chick_333 Lifestyle Magazine.

Whether this is just her brain on grief or something a bit more general, I think I'd probably reply with a platitude along the lines of 'That must be tough' and then disengage, because distant acquaintances who make you grind your teeth are better off going and finding someone who doesn't grind their teeth at their approach to help make them feel better. It probably looks just as bizarre to the rest of your friends and family reading that post as it does to you.
rock_chick_333
Jul. 30th, 2014 05:24 pm (UTC)
Your suggestions are always sensible, measured responses - thank you, I think platitude-then-disengage is a good way to deal. My what-do-they-WANT-from-me meter has a slight hair trigger when it comes to people I don't know well; with very good historical reason, but sometimes a laid-back mental response would be more appropriate, and I need to remember that she lives 100+ miles away, so it's not like I have to see her.
ankaret
Jul. 30th, 2014 05:32 pm (UTC)
I know the 'What do they WANT from me?' feeling well. I always tell myself that having a hair-trigger sensor for needy people who might want more of my energy than I can give them is a useful thing, because think what life would be like with the reverse.
rock_chick_333
Jul. 30th, 2014 05:49 pm (UTC)
Needy vibes have long triggered a Pythonesque "Run away, run away!" mental response in me, but for a long time I was operating on the You Should Help People model trained into me by my indefatigable mother, and I've only lately come to understand that I have way fewer spoons than her in the first place, and "no" is a thing I'm allowed to say. Retraining myself is an ongoing process, and my initial reaction is still I DON'T WANT TO, followed by guilt and conflict.
ankaret
Jul. 30th, 2014 07:24 pm (UTC)
Oh, God, having fewer spoons than one's mother. I just rang mine and mentioned that aella_irene was coming to visit and we were going to just hang out and watch DVDs, and she responded with 'Why don't you get a bus to St. Ives?' BECAUSE I WANT TO HAVE A NICE TIME WITH MY FRIEND, NOT EXHAUST MYSELF FIGHTING CROWDS OF TOURISTS. Bah.
rock_chick_333
Jul. 30th, 2014 07:31 pm (UTC)
Hanging out watching DVDs is one of the best possible activities to undertake with visiting friends. Have a lovely, lovely time! (Is it this weekend?) I have BiCon in two days and I'm packing All The Things, including lots of knitting, because knitting is one of the other best possible activities to undertake with friends. Yay!
ankaret
Jul. 31st, 2014 01:01 pm (UTC)
Yes, this weekend. I have been threatening to introduce her to Highlander. :)

As for the update, that does indeed sound lacking in boundaries, and I think re-defriending her while she's away sounds like an excellent plan for everyone concerned.

Have an excellent time at BiCon!
embroiderama
Jul. 30th, 2014 09:46 pm (UTC)
YIKES. Yeah, awkward. I have some sympathy for her if she doesn't have friends around here and is reaching out for support, but that's pretty ham-handed. :\
rock_chick_333
Jul. 30th, 2014 10:15 pm (UTC)
I did a lightening swing-by of her Facebook and she seems to be married/partnered, so she ought to have at least some emotional support. I'm now leaning towards "incredibly awkward attempt to update me on her life, made in an inappropriate place", rather than a manipulative demand for sympathy. It just rocked me back on my heels to have that angst-bomb dropped into the middle of a squee-filled comment thread about beautiful local buildings and how much my friends-list loves them. Ah, well. I guess there really are people out there even more awkward than me!!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )