• Keeping Friends

Concerned about a friendship that’s been reduced to a Facebook relationship

Published: November 6, 2011 | Last Updated: August 23, 2022 By | 19 Replies Continue Reading

Having a Facebook relationship might be a way to remain friends and give someone space

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

I am not legally married, but live with a wonderful man who has given me amazing children. We don’t have the perfect
relationship, but we enjoy our family life, set time for ourselves, and balance things out to keep the relationship alive. We’ve gone through many ups and downs and are still together.

I’ve always had time for my friends, my other half, and children, but I am sad because I don’t see a good friend of
mine as often as I did before. It also makes me sad that I sense envy on her part.

She is legally married, but her husband lives in a separate home and doesn’t spend much time with her because they are “giving time for each other” to make things better. I find that whenever she sees pictures of my “hubby” and me together she gets jealous. If I ask her to join us and other couples for dinner with her husband, she gets insulted.

She has also tried to detach herself from our friendship by not having enough time to spend together as we did in the past. She is always busy and doesn’t even have time to talk over the phone. We only communicate through a Facebook relationship, and that makes me pretty sad.

I know my relationship is not perfect, that I don’t have the same amount of money she has or the same material things that she owns, but I feel happy having my partner and living the way I do. It would just make things better if she could share that joy with me instead of feeling envious.

What should I do? Should I just let go?

Signed, Rosa

ANSWER

Dear Rosa,

From your note, I can’t really be sure what’s going on with your friend and why your friendship has been downgraded to a Facebook friendship. A few thoughts came to mind:

1) If your friend has recently moved away from her husband and has also distanced herself from you, it could be that she is trying to make changes in her life. She may not be at a point where she feels comfortable discussing these changes with others.

2) It is understandable that given her current situation in terms of her husband, it may be difficult for her to feel demonstrably happy with you. She may be feeling despondent and down, in general.

3) Since it can be uncomfortable to socialize with other people when someone is not getting along with his/her spouse, this may explain her reluctance to get together as couples.

4) Finally, your relationship with your friend as you describe it sounds pretty competitive. You and she seem to be preoccupied with comparing yourselves along various domains (e.g. marriage, money, and material possessions).

Right now, I would suggest that you step back and give her the space she seems to need. Perhaps when your friend has worked out her own personal situation, it may put her relationship with you on more of a more even keel.

Let her know that you still care about her and miss spending time together (if that’s how you feel). Remaining friends with her on Facebook will leave the door open in case she and you both want more from the friendship at some future time. That may be all she can handle right now.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Category: KEEPING FRIENDS

Comments (19)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Rosa-I am empathetic to your post. I am so sorry you are going through this. In my opinion, if we are over a friendship, we would not need to be posting on this blog. This site provides a great forum to express the hurt we are feeling. It’s ok to not be “over it.”

    I’ve had a personal experience with a “distancing” friendship that has resorted to just FB. It started with decreased phone conversations and email. She made a new girlfriend and bragged how they were “soulmates.” I found it strange that I was never introduced to this new soulmate. Anyhow, my friend was going through some major changes in her life. When I tried to initiate contact, she would be so passive-aggressive. “Oh, I am SOOOO busy.” “I’m SOOOO sorry. Someone must’ve deleted your email.” Please. Give me a break.

    Personally, I think I bring up to many memories of her “old life.” Generally when people “improve”, they tend to distance themselves from people that knew the old them. Too painful perhaps? I’m no therapist; but that is my take. I have set boundaries. I give to the friendship what she gives; which is basically nothing. I am not going to make a fool out of myself reaching out, to hear the cliche “I’m SOOOOO busy.”

    Good Luck Rosa!!! You sound like a nice person that can make many new friends!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I haven’t seen any discussions here about how YouTube and blogs have been bad for friendships.

  3. Anonymous says:

    People typically start to froth when they are told the same thing over and over and over again in regards to their posts. Funny how that works.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I don’t share your enthusiasm for facebook but I appreciate the thoughtful, intelligent, non hysterical way you presented your point of view. Thanks for not referring to those of us who are repelled by facebook’s effects on friends as “frothing.” Obviously you don’t take it personally that others don’t like facebook when you don’t.

  5. Liz says:

    I don’t hate facebook – it just isn’t something that I personally enjoy. My mother does, my best friend does, and they are friends to each other. They call me and I hear about any news that I’d be interested in. Yes, I’ve even (on my daughter’s account) looked up past boyfriends and other friends a few times. It was very interesting! It is great for some people – not for me.
    Liz

  6. Anonymous says:

    Just want to put a plug out there for FB; it’s not the medium but the people using it. Facebook is not a replacement for human interaction but rather a supplement to it.

    I love Facebook. The best part is getting updates on the adventures of far-flung close friends and family in between the few times each year I see them. It lets me root for them in their competitions and endeavors. I love the photo-sharing features. And our family Facebook group is a fantastic way to disseminate information without clogging up my email inbox. Thing is, I have 29 family members to whom I am truly close… and then there are (fewer) friends. I call and email about half of them – generally infrequently – but I’d have to quit my job to maintain individual correspondence with all of them! Or at the least forego all laundry and housecleaning. FB lets me spend 10 sec posting “here is a hilarious video I know you’ll love” on someone’s wall as a way of letting them know I’m thinking of them, even if the calls or emails are infrequent. And then when we do see each other – we laugh together about it and share with whoever didn’t see it on FB.

    Then there is the more distant circle of friends… people I was always friendly with but never went out of my way to see or stay in touch with. They are a great source for new recipes and interesting articles… and of course I am happy to hear of and congratulate them on their life milestones.

    Facebook is only a problem when people choose to entirely replace other forms of interaction with it. And then we are forced to face the fact that we are not the highest priority in each of our friends’ lives (which was always the case; we just didn’t have to be hit in the face with it before).

  7. EagleWings says:

    Those threads are scattered through out the forums here-
    https://www.thefriendshipblog.com/forums

    There’s one thread in the “Rants & Raves” forum called “Is technology causing the downfall of quality relationships?,” and I think there’s a similar thread or two elsewhere, with the word “texting” in the subject heading.

    Most folks in that thread (the “Is technology causing the downfall of quality relationships?” thread – or maybe it was another thread) seem dead set on blaming technology for the downfall of friendship, and that is not a view I share.

    I wonder if the real root of the problem isn’t so much technology, as it is people began freely airing their dirty laundry and over-sharing on those tawdry TV talk shows that became popular in the 1980s, such as Oprah, Geraldo, Sally Jesse Raphel, Maury Povich, etc?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thank you. This was funny! I really agree with this writer.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I haven’t seen the other postings here that talk about blogs and YouTube and the internet. Can you tell me where they are? I’d like to read them. (. I’ve only seen discussions here about Facebook and its impact on friendsihps. ) Thank you.

  10. EagleWings says:

    You said

      “People can misrepresent themselves and their lives on Facebook so easily these days.”

    I made this point before on the forum, but people can just as easily misrepresent themselves without Facebook.

    Men in singles bars have been doing it for ages to pick up women :oD

    My family used to get annual Christmas (snail mail) letters from this one couple with three kids that my parents had known for decades, and every year, each letter would brag about how successful the kids were.

    When we moved to the same neighborhood as this family a few years later, we found out the truth – the daughters were flunking out of college and had other problems.

    I think I read a study that said that many people have a tendency to only post positive things about themselves on Facebook because they’re too embarrassed to post negative things, which has the consequence of making their friends think they have perfect lives.

    But no matter what you do, you can’t make everyone happy about how and what you post on Facebook, because I’ve seen scads of people complain about the reverse, they complain about their friends and family who complain about their jobs or lives on Facebook and who air their dirty laundry.

  11. EagleWings says:

    I suppose I’m in the minority on this site, because I don’t have a frothing hatred for Facebook, blogs, You Tube, and the internet that most folks here have expressed in other threads.

    I find the extreme hostility towards using technology for communication in friendship a little odd (and very ironic!), given that we’re all expressing these feelings… on a blog on the internet.

    I still maintain the issue isn’t so much technology, but how people use it.

    If a friend wasn’t staying in touch with you by Facebook, then she might have drifted away completely – that’s pretty much how things went before the internet was in widespread use.

    In the old days, when people didn’t want to be friends at all or not be close friends, they would stop visiting in person, no cards via snail mail, no phone calls, nothing, or you might only get a call or card once every few years…

    or you’d be demoted from “friend I call every week” to “friend whom I only send a Christmas letter to once a year.” I’m not sure how that’s too different from being primarily FB friends.

    I can take Facebook or leave it. I’m not one of those people who lives on it 24 / 7, but it can be fun to participate on every so often.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Facebook HQ is a mere 30 minute drive from my house. I am not sure of there is a link between popularity of Facebook in my community and distance but it sure seems that there is.

    I have encountered so many people who spout the phrase “you didn’t see that post on Facebook??!” in complete seriousness. I had “friends” who would spend so much time typing paragraphs on their walls, status updates, etc. but claim they don’t have time to plan an actual outing in the real world. I just don’t get it.

    And yet, I am treated like I am the weird one for not participating in what can best be described as “digital high school.”

    You are not the only one who feels that “facebooking” seems to be an acceptable replacement for real communication.

  13. WonderWhy says:

    I have to agree with Liz’s post. How do you justify spending all day long posting status updates on your Facebook account when you could use that time to return a friend’s phone call, or respond to their text or email? There is simply NO excuse for not keeping in touch with your Facebook friends outside of Facebook itself. I chose to delete my Facebook account for this very reason: I had two hundred Facebook friends whom I NEVER interacted with outside of Facebook. I don’t need nor want cyber friendships because those simply aren’t real. I prefer real friendships that require reciprocation and face to face interaction. Facebook is an anti-social network medium because the connections between people are filtered through the internet which isn’t real communication. People can misrepresent themselves and their lives on Facebook so easily these days. I get that people love Facebook because it helps them stay connected and in touch with friends and family who live in different places. But that’s what email and the phone is for, isn’t it? I think it’s very awkward to read a friend’s intimate post about their life when they never call me or talk to me. It seems very narcissistic on their part to publicly post about their lives, when in reality they rarely talk to or see any of their Facebook friends in real life. I had no problem defriending people who chose to end their friendships with me too. I cannot justify keeping Facebook friends whom I”m no longer friends with. Why would I want those people to know what’s going on in my life if they don’t want to be friends with me? If a friend downgrades you to just Facebook interaction you can consider that friendship over, in my opinion.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Levine. Give her some space and work on finding new friends, but leave the door open. When her life settles down, she may circle back around.

  15. Liz says:

    I agree with you – but that is easier said than done!! For me it was just not that simple, they were too busy to call me back yet posted their activities & it was a slap in the face. You are right that people need to get on with other activities. I did, but not with those “friends”. Maybe now that I’ve gotten past the hurt feelings mostly I’ll give it another try!
    Liz

  16. Anonymous says:

    Liz,

    I don’t mean for this to sound harsh, but rather than be bothered by all the wonderful activities you see others doing and cancelling your account, why not create and start wonderful activities in your own life? Then you would have something to share. Rather than being a negative in your life, it could spur you on to making your own life more interesting. Just sayin’.

  17. Liz says:

    Hi Rosa,

    It is so hard to watch a friendship drift away or end. My advice is to just do nothing right now, put the facebook on whatever “hide” method there is so that you don’t see her updates. Don’t look her up, but I’d leave her on for a while as a friend. You can always unfriend her later. I actually cancelled my account after only a couple of weeks as it bothered me to read about all of the wonderful activities everyone did & I really didn’t have much that I could even share. I don’t miss it.
    Liz

  18. Anonymous says:

    I’m in a situation like this too, so I know how you feel. I have considered unfriending the person because it makes me sad to see her on there but I know that would most likely be permanently closing the door. I don’t have any advice. Just wanted you to know you’re not alone. Facebook definitely complicates life as we once knew it.

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