I look at my Facebook friends, and I currently have 284. When I look closely, and whittle it down, there are probably literally just a handful that I actually consider to be “close” friends. Just a few that I would call up with news, or share private things with.
Some of those 284, I haven’t seen since school. The majority didn’t bother to contact me when I had a cancer diagnosis, and then some hadn’t seen me for years and years, yet came to support me by doing Race for Life with me whilst I was half way through cancer treatment.
Some of them I thought I used to be quite close with, and now I don’t really see them any more, and when I do, I feel awkward. Some of them are new friends, some of them old.
Some of them, I haven’t ever met, and we have been brought together by cancer, or just by chatting over Twitter. Some people don’t get that, and that’s fine. It’s not for everyone, just as Facebook isn’t for everyone.
I love Facebook. I really do. I reconnected with one of my best friends from school on it about four years ago, and we have become best friends again. She was the only one of my friends that remembered that while I had chemo on Wednesdays, it was always the Friday I would feel the worst, and I used to get text messages on the Friday to tell me she as thinking of me. That let me know that I was loved. (Yes, Bill, this means you!xxx)
People texting me to wish me well when it was a chemo day made me feel loved. I am grateful for every single one of those texts. I am grateful to every person that came to see me in hospital, or sat with me in chemo, sent a card or flowers.
I know it wasn’t possible for everyone who wanted to visit/come to chemo with me to do so, and I am totally fine with that. Life and distance gets in the way.
But equally, I hate Facebook. It makes friendships so public. It has caused me on more than one occasion to be upset because I’ve seen something that someone has written on someone else’s wall.
But, you know what? Some of the loveliest support I got, was from these people that I hadn’t met, and had actually found on Twitter. Does it make them any less of a friend because I haven’t met them? No. Absolutely not.
I got to meet some of these people at CyberMummy, and it wasn’t awkward, or stifled. It was comfortable. It felt like we had known each other for ages. And I am looking forward to seeing them again.
“Good friends are like stars…. You don’t always see them, but you know they are always there.”