Wednesday, November 06, 2013

I'm baaaack....

I’ve decided to revive Coaster Punchman’s World, not that I ever took an official reprieve.  But I miss writing, and CPW was a convenient outlet.

Things have gotten shaky on the family front, with my elderly parents having a variety of health and other problems.  The stress I’ve felt from dealing with it is now settling into a semi-debilitating depression.   Not the kind of depression (yet) that keeps me from leaving the house, but the kind that slows down, significantly, my ability to tackle anything even remotely challenging.  The thing suffering the most is my work. 

I am almost completely unable to concentrate, and the effort that would be required to do the things that I know would help (exercise, bathe, declutter my surroundings) feels overwhelming. 

I am able to get myself out of the house for non-stressful socializing, for which I am grateful.  For the moment I’ve just lost interest in almost everything else that requires any amount of planning or effort.

Enough whining about that for a few minutes.  I just wanted to get that out of my system.

Next on deck:  some of the quandaries of Facebook and its implications on social interactions. 

I read with interest the following Miss Manners submission, and find it fascinating.  People do have different takes on Facebook.  With the exception of a few odd celebrities, I generally do not friend or accept friend requests from people I wouldn’t care to socialize with in person.  Not everyone feels that way, though.  I’ve noticed not a small number of people who merely enjoy some of the online banter, and who want to know what people are up to, but who otherwise don’t really want any kind of relationship to speak of. 

I’m not sure how I feel about that – but, thankfully, decisions don’t need to be made every day on that front.  I’ve made peace with the quandary by interacting with people I care to interact with, and not worrying too much about the rest. 

Some people actively “unfriend” people they find annoying, but I don’t see the need to do that since it’s easy enough simply to remove someone from your newsfeed so that you are not bombarded by posts and images from a person you’d rather not see. 

Still, what I find rather problematic about Facebook is having “friends” who live nearby.  For a while I had a policy of not friending people in my own city, since it can make social interactions awkward.  For example, not everyone in a particular circle is always invited to every dinner party or outing – which means it is not a good idea to post photos of local events for fear of insulting the people who were excluded. 

Same goes for major events like big parties and weddings.  When these things are made public on Facebook, it becomes obvious who is valued enough to an individual to warrant an invitation and who is not.  On the one hand, it’s useful information to know where one stands with specific people, but in my opinion it’s easier and certainly more convenient to do things the old fashioned way.  If Billy is having a birthday party and Bobby is not invited, the party should simply never be mentioned to Bobby.  The kind of stuff we (should) learn at a young age about basic manners.  Facebook complicates all of that to a maddening degree.

On to the Miss Manners letter and reply to which I referred earlier in this post:

Dear Miss Manners:  I joined Facebook when I had cancer, as a way of posting my current status. I was following others’ suggestions and did not like it for this use. I do, however, like it for other reasons. I can keep an eye on my daughter, as well as my nieces and nephews.

I can also reconnect with old friends and, as a nostalgic person, I enjoy this. I also enjoy the ability to share photographs of said friends. I befriend only people I have fond memories of, or whom I just liked.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean I actually want to resume an old friendship! As a mother of young kids who works part time and volunteers, I have a hard enough time finding time for my friends and myself as it is.

Now an old friend in a nearby town has befriended me. While I enjoyed her company in my 20s, the friendship ended when I realized how badly she was an alcoholic. Still, there were things I really enjoyed about her.

Now, 15 years later, she mentioned on Facebook that she would like to get together. I don’t know if alcohol is still a problem, but I just can’t extend myself that far, both in terms of where she lives and the potential for toxicity.

Can you think of a polite way to tell her (or others in similar situations) that I really enjoyed hearing from her and seeing her occasional posts, her family, etc., but that I don’t particularly want to reconnect with her in person? Am I kidding myself about the possibility of a polite way to convey such a message?

Gentle Reader: No, there is no polite way to tell someone that you want to know their personal business but don’t actually want to talk to them. This phenomenon used to be known as gossip, and in Miss Manners’ opinion, Facebook has ruined its fun for everyone.

When you want to avoid human contact, the usual social rules apply. Tell her that this is an extremely busy time for you, but that you hope to connect in the (unspecified) future. To make it more convincing, for goodness’ sake don’t post your social life on Facebook for awhile.


jin said...

(About you being back... not the depression and bitchiness on fb. ;-)


Dino said...

Ditto what jin said :-)

Dale said...

I love avoiding human contact! I almost posted something on my blog last weekend. You beat me to it you whiny bastard! Don't Punchman me - you may well be the impetus I've needed. If not, I'll blame you on Facebook.

Coaster Punchman said...

Always willing to take your blame, Dale.

Jin, so where are you blogging these days? I could probably figure it out myself with a bare minimum of cyberstalking, but, you know, I'm lazy.

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

Yah!! It's really you : )

FB and I have a love/hate/mostly hate thing. It's the primary way that I stay in touch with my family, otherwise I would have to call and talk to those weirdos.

Also, where else am I going to post all the pictures of fabulous meals and cocktails I'm consuming?

I automatically block everyone's 4-Square posts, and have had to stop myself from driving cross country in a diaper to strangle someone who keeps sending me Candy Crush requests. Die.

It's been nearly a year since I wrote on my blog, and I have nothing more to say, which is precisely why it's been so long.

Anonymous said...

Yay!(Tis Old Lady)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Sorry to hear you've been depressed. It's good that you can talk about it, but keep an eye on yourself, will you?

I get a delicious sort of rage at some of the stupid things some of my facebook acquaintances say sometimes. I would block their feeds, but then I would miss the rage. What can I say? I am a rageaholic.

jin said...

I'm all about now, although I'm wickedly behind there. I need to keep on top of it more, since I'm averaging 300 hits per day (and happen to know that a few of the local paid reviewers hang on my every word ;-).

I have been thinking about posting again at jintrinsique, if only to plug my holiday sweetboxes. For now. I may just pick that up again too... we'll see.

As far as my jinfamous personal TMI blogs... there are none left. I miss them sometimes, but when I do, I work on typing like mad, everything in detail from the pastry shoppe days, so once I decide how to proceed with that I'll have it at the ready.

I appreciate that fb keeps me in touch with people like you, but it never has been, and never will be, Blogger.

Coaster Punchman said...

True (to all your comments!)

Mnmom said...

Great minds indeed! I was getting sick of the ads on Facebook. And I also missed writing. So here we are!

I learned a lesson this late in life that I wish I'd learned many years ago. Treat yourself the way you'd treat someone ELSE going through this. As if you were you're very own personal coach who uses positive words and encouragement. LORD I could have used this in my 20s.

SkylersDad said...

Welcome back, so great to see you!

I wish you well in your battle with depression, I am presently dealing with severe anxiety issues due to problems with work and lay-offs. Best wishes.

Megan Cahalan said...

Welcome back! Sorry to hear about your folks.

I really enjoy Facebook. But oh my, have we had some "why weren't we invited" moments!

Thymm Symmz said...

I'm glad to see you're blogging again. Writing is good for the soul and I enjoy reading your mind. I'm also glad that you're depressed, because it makes me feel better that I'm also depressed because of dealing with my aging parents. It's exhausting and relentless. There, I said it. Should I seek therapy?