Sunday, April 1

My FB friends analyzed

It’s a pity that you use the blogger to analyse the composition of FB friends. I don't like FB notes; it isn't half as literary as a blogger. I have about 400 friends on facebook, an eclectic mix of friends from school who are doing me very proud , the people I made centre of my universe at college, excuse of a B School called TISS ( it was a very fun place) , work colleagues, school teachers ( long ago I used to be their pet) ex- bosses, blog friends, some lost souls I confided in on drunk nights at Bandra ( near strangers who became friends without any web of references) , folks who took the poetry course with me, script writing group. (I haven't sent or received FB requests from the salsa class mates, I guess embarrassment on both sides was considerable or for that matter my gym, you have to hang out long enough or be moderately successful there to earn a request).

 Before I get into my behavioural categorization here are some revealing statistics 

  • I have an astounding number of friends who are HR professionals, an astounding number of friends who are from my town (and I thought I embraced diversity!)
  • I have precisely 3 close friends, one who I am very close to and the other 2 who I am very close to in my mental space, who I think know what I am thinking and feeling and what I meant when I said " I hate spinach" ( what I meant was I hate my bland spinach - like life)
  • I have 8 people who would qualify as family on FB and so that I don't divulge what a mess I have been ever since I let them go, I stick to updating on UP elections, weight loss and hectic work schedules. If they read between the lines they are perceptive.
  • I have like few friends I have never met physically and we are connected due to mutual interest in poetry and Literature
  • Most women friends have beautiful relationship with their mothers, they post their pictures with them with a frequency that should worry the others around them, may be its one peace that one eventually has to buy.
  • Few friends from school and college who I haven't met in a decade or so look like their parents who I remember very vividly from the Parents Teachers Association meeting - What happened to them?
  • My junglee jawani moment ( the most shocking thing I have ever done ) - er actually...... those drunk night friends are happily married and peer through their family photographs like near strangers, the tenuous bond formed over booze and loss long forgotten.... they are someone else. They hang on to their jobs and EMIs, their brick like stability worries me. Is it possible to live like 3 different people in one life?
After careful analysis (mostly demographics and appearances and deep observation of posted photographs) I have come with few categories of friends. (I should be forgiven for any sort of generalisation, stereotyping etc. etc. it’s not you, it’s the life you lead. I am sure there is a real person with real issues underneath all our happily posted snaps)

 The Virginal friend (also the effortless) ---This is a friend who hasn't changed. No greying temples. No sagging arms. No puffiness under the eyes. There isn't an extra layer of fat or a freaking tyre despite two happy children who burst out of their arms. What's more is they are the same too. They remind you of how funny you were once. They state  how you were the teacher's pet without any pang. They didn't have a pang then, they don't have a pang now. They want to talk to you because you are a friend! It’s almost that all these years, these professionals’ ups and downs, the success, the lack of it, marriage, children, life left them uncontaminated. I call them virginal friends because’ their core remained intact. Mostly people who didn't take too much efforts or who did their assignments not to "win" but because it had to be done fall in this type. They meet their parents because they love them (not because they want to wash some acidic guilt stuck to their bodies). They have a concept of “spending time" with friends, family and more importantly themselves. These are those classmates who were not the first benches or the last benches in class, neither the pets nor the habitual offenders but somewhere in – between. They enjoyed school, college and life. They may or may not be successful but they enjoy themselves. They look fab because they are !

The picture perfect --- This friend is always on the verge of being unfriended. The friend’s life is a painful reminder of what your life isn’t. This is every face booker’s nightmare. She is the coolest dudette in the class and she makes a habit out of it every single time. Countless boyfriends, drinking binges, pregnancies and stretch marks apart, she’s stayed thin because she wants to. She goes and gyms. She has a genuine arm candy embracing her like the proverbial shrug that protects her from the chilly-night like life. She has healthy children tugging at her wafer thin waist who make you want to embrace motherhood. She has a job that you know you can never have. (Face it; you were not that bright ever!) Her FB status gyrates from – “my loving hubby made me dinner tonight” to “can’t believe – got promoted again “! Or “they just awarded me happiest face on (where else FB!!) This friend takes off to an exotic holidays (2 of them) a year, tries cuisine that makes you grab the next bread- like  thing you spot. They are successful invariably because that’s most important for them. The FB is their bulletin board where pedestrians like you and I read successful updates of their lives.They remember your birthday and that’s all they remember about you because for them friendship is a process, it’s not a stolen cup of tea at a run-down taprri.

The celebrity friend – The celebrity friend are of two types. One who would be in touch with you because they are effortless - they would love you to hang around or if they are the  picture perfect celebrity friend - you can only subscribe to their FB page.

The Mafioso – The Mafioso friends are people with very happy families. The FB updates are generally about relatives who flew in the town or flew out of it. They make you feel like an orphan. On an average they attend about 8 weddings in a year across the globe. The snaps they post are bursting at the seams with cousins who are look alikes and wear the same content smile on their faces. Their FB updates are usually –“sigh! Little girl bitti gets married” “ oh holidays are over, time to drop off my gorgeous aunt.”  I am sure these friends have personalities of their own, also dreams and desires but they would do something about it if they weren’t dropping or picking up folks. It may be a choice to subsume your identity for the family wedding but that’s what Mafiosos are all about.

Fence   face bookers – These friends have an FB account, they post a picture or two as well but they don’t hang on FB often for anyone to profile them but sooner or later they would succumb to its charms. They are usually apologetic about their maiden appearances on FB.

Heavy face bookers – These are people who hang on to FB all the time (and I did some research and realised that they are not always single). They never get tired of posting. They just live on FB. Everything is up for public consumptions. What they ate, where they want, what they got. “Rains, yet again. “Shit rains and bathroom pipe broke.” ‘Shit rains and more shit” such updates usually come from such people within 3 hrs.   Heavy face-bookers are either closet extroverts or people who are genuinely lonely. Facebook is their way of connecting to the world. They need to connect, all the time.

The lost lambs of Facebook – They make for most interesting FB updates. They are people who have a great job, reasonable families. They are people who are neither effortless nor perfect pictures. They often feel conflict within because they are looking for something on FB, the updates usually reads – “painted after a long time….I still have it in me.” Or they post pictures of the last kathak performance at school – “wish my dancing feet came back to me”. Or “ate octopus, man I have to try this recipe.” The lost lambs of Facebook make Facebook nice, interesting and readable.  Because they continue to look for things, they help us look for things, recipes, paintings, dance performances, social commentaries that we would have missed in the information junk. They push the FB update race. Only the lost lambs are people who are lost. Their FB updates don’t have a fixed pattern or method and they can keep you either intrigued or exhausted with their lost behaviours. Exhausted – when the lost lamb is depressed. She would really update all kinds of things to seek attention. “ Marathon drinking session… feeling hung over. Taj Mahal – is it possible to love so deeply? Or “Octopus dinner really is too much. “
You get the drift, right?
The follow –my- heart -brigade – The follow- my-heart- brigade are generally lost lambs who have gone to the flock they belong. When a friend leaves her corporate trappings to start an ostrich farm (?) because that’s what she really wants to do then you get hourly updates of

The ostriches’ are here.
The ostriches’ love being here.
I feel like a bit of an ostrich today.

I have loads and loads of friends who are posting about this one specific thing that they think they have been born to do. Baking, petting, writing, reading, dancing. Anything. But they would give up everything they had to follow their hearts. The follow – my –heart brigade is a specialist and reading her or his updates would make you one. You are lucky if your follow – my-heart brigade is not interested in pesticides. Darn lucky.
There are many more types on facebook. The dormant volcano that erupts on weekends. The silent stalker who goes on everyone’s facebook to know what’s happening in their lives. The hermit who logs everyday but doesn’t say a word but eerily remembers everything you said or did. The social commentator who thankfully reads newspapers and thanks to him you get updated on the happenings around you in a succinct way. Like they say it takes all types to make the (Facebook ) world.