I mentioned how I have been having fun on Facebook...reconnecting with old classmates and people from my past. But there is also a downside I've discovered lately that's been disappointing.
Americans are friendly and act interested when they meet you (or meet you again after a long absence) but it's not really a genuine interest--it's superficial. And FB is really superficial...totally surface, without depth.
I can't tell you the number of people who've asked me to write and explain how and why I've ended up in Japan, and I laboriously write it all down and send it off but no one responds to the story. Or someone will insist they are interested to hear how I met my husband and decided to marry him, and I oblige and then no reply is forthcoming. Time and again I try to continue corresponding with someone and they put me off and then NEVER come back to me as they promise to. I wait, maybe send a little reminder a month later after their big event or school obligation (or whatever it is that got in the way before) has long passed. But they aren't interested in continuing. The initial spark is gone (except somehow, I have kept it alive in me) and all I can do is feel abandoned yet one more time, wishing someone would be willing to be a more active friend.
It's like email and cyber communication has corrupted the very basis of good manners and common sense in relationship maintenance. People are so busy keeping everything superficial and NOT face-to-face anymore, that they have no idea how to act politely or exert a little effort in honing their online friendships.
One example of this happened to me just this past week on Facebook. My association with one old high school friend was erased (by her, not me), when she decided she'd had enough of me. Had we lived near each other, or worked in the same office, she wouldn't have been able to just clean me off of her slate with one swipe (and no official goodbye or opportunity offered to work on or repair whatever mishap was the last straw as far as she was concerned), but the cyberworld allowed her to do so: "Slap, whack and don't come back!"
A younger version of myself would have been so upset by this I wouldn't have been able to sleep, and would have shed some tears. But the current me just feels sorry for this woman, who is done with a relationship that had provided both of us many happy conversations and relived memories in the past eight months or so. I would have introduced her to you as one of my dearest new FB friends made despite our being only sort of surface friends in the past.
But there's the rub. I was trying to scratch through the surface this time, while she wanted to keep it firmly in place and undisturbed.
I don't suppose we'll ever get a third chance to become real friends at last. Personally, I will continue to look for others who are willing to help scratch through the surface.