Friday, February 25, 2011

Faceless Facebook Friends

I know that everyone who has a Facebook account encounters this problem: Strangers requesting to be added to your list. Not just any strangers but some with names that are obviously not their real names.

I can’t help wondering why they have to hide behind pseudonyms. Could it be they’re wanted by the police? Or hiding from the loan sharks? Or are they ashamed of the names their parents have given them? I can understand if their given name is Sangkati bin Sampikul (like two of my great uncles*) or even Kojak bin Ontolu. But if they have perfectly normal names, why discard them for something that are (in some cases) completely ridiculous?

Some of the requests for friendship that come my way are from people who named themselves Kinabatangan Hero, Fair and Square, Baldi Bocor. You get the picture. Their photos could show anything from a daisy to an eye to the back of a bald head.

I used to be at my wits’ end because, being the good person that I am, I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings by refusing to kawan them. But how could I be sure that these people really want to be friends and not just trying to see my reactions? Like some guys—always males, by the way—who send messages beginning with: Hi dear, I saw your profile and liked what  blahblahblah. You know right away that he has copied/pasted the message and sent to you plus, perhaps, dozens of others. But that’s another story.

I confided to my sister: Suppose this Proboscis bin Burok has read my book and is a 'fan'? Not accepting his offer of friendship, even if it’s only virtual, can be a slap in the face. And I really don’t want people to think that I’m the kind who goes slapping people in the face.

My sister said: Ignore them. And she took the opportunity to tell me horror stories about stalkers.

I think the right way to go about ‘collecting’ virtual friends is to send a message telling who you are and why you’d like to be added to somebody’s list. Maybe you admire Glen’s photographic skills and want to learn tips from him. Or you have a common interest with Robin. It’s only courteous to tell the other person a little about you, don't you think? If you have mutual friends on FB and have actually ‘met’ and chatted, so much the better.

The other thing I find annoying is when somebody asks to be added and then ‘unfriends’ you for seemingly no reason. For example I had this Scrabble buddy from half a world away who asked to be added. Maybe she didn’t like my defeating her at almost all our games. (She is good but it’s not my fault if I’m a better player, people!) Anyhow, one day I discovered she had deleted me from her list. Several weeks ago, long after she had kicked me out of her list, she sent me a message: I don’t know why your pictures are on my page. I can’t remove them and...

OMG! Now she didn’t even want to have some harmless pictures to remind her of me. I had tagged her to some pictures of local plants because she was interested in gardening. Anyway, I went tippy-toe to her page and removed the pictures. No hello and no bye-bye.

But to go back to our subject… Isn’t it annoying when after you’ve added someone, he just keeps quiet and doesn’t even say hello? Despite posting several somethings there’s no reaction from him. Not a ‘like’. Not a :-) Not a :-(   Nothing.

 I was telling a friend that it’s like after asking for an invitation to dinner, he just sits quietly at your table while the rest of your guests chat and socialize. Call me traditional but I don’t see any point in being friends if the other party just ignores you.

You probably can’t expect everyone to take part in conversations they find boring. Some people will like you and some will find you a pain. Most people are in FB so they could keep in touch with friends and families. Some are in it to see who can collect the most friends.

* Kati and Pikul (measurements of weight) were probably new words when my great-great grandfather’s sons were born. Another brother was named Bandaran and my great grandmother was called Ringgit!

Pictures from Google Images


  1. I am totally agree with you! I face the same issue with this Facebook thingy and sometimes bikin gerigitan hehe. Btw aww after reading your book, you know i really, like, have this picture of Ringgit in my head as a very beautiful Sumandak, and it feel like, i-don't-care-whats-Ringgit-means, it's just beautiful. :D

  2. YUP! Sick of fake FB accounts asking to be added. Having said that, I AM guilty of using my nick name instead of my real name. Hehehe. My real name is Alice :)

  3. Hi Tata and Lizee!
    Looks like very commmon this problem of 'fake' people with fake identities.

    Tata, I like the name too. I think the moyangs were very imaginative... their using new words as names for their kids!
    I just read yesterday that someone named his kid "Facebook". Itu budu lah!!

    Lizee, I'm more frustrated with stupid names like Tiang Negara and such. Lizee is so harmless and innocent by comparison! Hope you're doing OK in CC!

  4. Speaking of Facebook, I just realised I haven't requested to be your Facebook friend yet. I'm going to do that right away.


  5. Hi Tina.. I agree that it's so annoying when people use senseless nicknames with a creepy picture. It's still acceptable if it's one or the other right? Even if the use nicknames at least use their own pictures so that people will know who they are.

    Nice blog by the way..

  6. Hi Gunaqz, we're friends. Finally!

    Thanks for visiting, Phoebe! Yes, every Facebooker's fav gripe: senseless nicknames and creepy photos.