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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Column: Facebook me maybe

When I was a kid, we had these things called yellow books. They were mundane, archaic-looking items that people would use to contact their local pizza joint, orthodontist or occasionally the guy they met once at a party whose number they were too afraid to ask for.

As I approach adulthood, I realize we’ve traded in our yellow book for a more up-to-date novel —  a Facebook, to be exact. A yellow book was fine and dandy when people still used their phones for communication — but in the age of sparkling technology and the ability to contact people with the click of a button, Facebook has become the obvious bestseller.

But with great power comes great rejectability. Now the mystery of dodged calls has turned into the mystery of dodged friend requests — a familiar but equally aggravating sequel.

As we ask ourselves where our friend request has gone for the past two weeks, we only have one question left: Has Facebook become the new rejection hotline?

I once knew this girl in high school. She was this strong, independent type who wouldn’t take crap from anyone. She was a tough cookie — up until she liked a boy.

One summer she traveled to Cancun and surprisingly fell into a deep infatuation with a Chilean accent and the boy who spoke with it. All was going well — she even added the boy’s brother on Facebook. She left the South Pacific cheerful and optimistic, believing that the romance she experienced while on vacation would continue once she returned to the States. Apparently, no one warned this poor girl that though she left the country, the devastation of rejection was still international.

She added the boy on Facebook within the following week of her return. When he hadn’t replied two weeks later, she added him again. And a third time. Eventually she attempted to message the brother to find out why her Chilean romance hadn’t accepted her friend request yet, only to find out that the brother had deleted her as well. She began to say the same lines all daters say when they take a trip down denial road.

“Maybe it just didn’t go through. I’ll just try it again.”

“Maybe he just wasn’t online that day, or week, or year.”

“Maybe he doesn’t even know how to use Facebook.”

No matter how many maybes she said, she just couldn’t face the fact that maybe he just wasn’t that into her.

Along with the delusional rejection that Facebook has to offer, Mark Zuckerberg forgot to mention this newly added feature that wasn’t included on his social network’s terms and conditions.

Let’s pause for a second and imagine a moment when we are miraculously added as a friend and become accepted into our love interest’s elusive inner circle. Are we entirely free from the wrath of rejection?

Not quite.

With Facebook, an entirely new realm of rejection takes place. In this day and age, nothing is private. His, yours and everyone else’s answering machines are broadcasted to the world in the form of wall posts, where one can read an untouched message for days all while experiencing the slow pain of lunacy.

If the transition into psychotic isn’t painful enough, we’re also no longer free from the anonymity a guy gives us when he deletes our number off his contact list. A removed friend off Facebook can be even more menacing than not being accepted as a friend at all.

Why do we continue on in this crazed cycle of perpetual denial, when we know the answer lies right in front of us? Is our hopefulness actually what makes us hopeless?

History shows that while technology evolves, the behavior of daters has been able to withstand the test of time.

With history seemingly about to repeat itself yet again, maybe this is the generation where this behavior stops.

Maybe instead of wondering where our friend request has gone, we can log off Facebook and look for someone who’ll actually accept us. We can finally be able to face the facts that maybe if they’re ignoring you, it’s maybe because they don’t like you. And if they don’t like you, then maybe they’re not worth your time.

Then, after all is said and done, maybe, just maybe, we can stop using the word maybe.

Email JASON PHAM maybe at jpham@ucdavis.edu.

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