I’m sure I’m not the first person to have thought of this. But here’s the problem with Facebook friends.

Real friendships take work. They take investment. You usually have to maintain them over time. Keeping someone as your friend is an active process; you have to, like, spend time with people and talk with them. On the other hand, to lose a friend, all you really have to do is…nothing. Just don’t keep in contact, and over time you’ll drift apart.

Facebook friendships are the opposite. They take no work. They take no investment. You don’t have to maintain them over time. Keeping someone as your friend is a passive process; you’ll stay friends forever as long as neither of you does anything. On the other hand, to lose a friend, you have to hunt for the obscure “Remove from Friends” link on their profile page, click it, confirm that you don’t want to be friends anymore, and then wait for the other person to send an angry message demanding to know why you removed him or her from your friends list.

Notice how that’s not the way real friendships work.

For this reason, it’s impossible for your “Friends” list on Facebook to accurately reflect your real friendships, even if you do your best to maintain that list (as I do). Facebook encourages a false and shallow model of friendship. And that’s why Facebook is singlehandedly responsible for the decline of Western civilization. Yeah, that’s gotta be it.

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