Facebook Friends Do Not Equal Lifetime Friends

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My heart was racing, my palms were clammy, my stomach felt nauseated, and tears were stinging the corners of my eyes. I was slowly walking with my union rep over to the administrative conference room because I was being questioned on something I had said to a student.

A colleague was being terminated and the students were so sad about this because they had the utmost respect for him. They wanted to start a petition but that didn’t go as planned. One student approached me and asked what she could do. My suggestion: “maybe bombard the administration with emails??”

This student, who I still love and respect today, wrote these words on her Facebook page: A faculty member says we should bombard the administration with emails.

Goodness…I didn’t even have a Facebook account and Facebook got me in trouble. 😲 Let me ask you…which part of that message do you think caused me heartache?

Fast forward 15 years. I have a private Facebook account with my husband. When I started the account over a decade ago, the plan was to have only family members be ‘friends.’ So much for that plan. 🙄 Today I am at 529 ‘Facebook Friends,’ and I’m not sure when I decided to accept more than family.

May I ask you a few questions? Jot down your answers, please. Ready?

What do you believe makes a true friend?

How many “friends” do you have on Facebook?

How many of your Facebook friends possess those qualities you just listed as a ‘true’ friend?

Got your answers??

I asked our teacher candidates those same questions. Compare your answers with theirs. The #1 friendship trait mentioned by 23 out of 27 teacher candidates (25 female, 2 male) for a response rate of 85% was:

Great friends are there for you no matter what.

Other true-friend traits mentioned were: someone who truly cares about you, supports you, accepts you for who you are, gently corrects you when you’re wrong, picks up exactly where you left off after not seeing each other for a while, and makes you laugh.

The teacher candidate’s ratios of true friends to Facebook friends will not shock you, or maybe they will? Below are a few answers of those who responded.

Mariah – 4/598, Danielle – 1/349, Amber – 50/1006, Hayley – 15/534, Maizie – 20/462, Shelby – 3/959, Victoria – 5/383, Kali – 5/653, Jenna – 10/311, Stacy – 40/651, Brendan – 7/681, Tah – 50/5000

Facebook friends DO NOT equal lifetime friends!

Teacher candidates…please remember Facebook does not give the full context of what is happening in your life. It’s all about perspective. As public school educators, you will always be under the microscope of the community you teach in. Your Facebook ‘friends’ may see a picture you posted and, not knowing the full story that goes along with that picture, those ‘friends’ may perceive it as you not doing your job, or you drinking too much, or whatever assumptions are made; which could then lead that ‘Facebook friend’ to report their speculations to administration.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s time for ALL of us to consider the ‘friends’ we have on Facebook and do a little house cleaning.

If you are going to post something on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat and feel a strong ‘nudge’ not to…listen to that nudge! (That is speaking from experience. I was nudged, didn’t listen to that nudge, and my picture post caused heartache for someone else). Keep in mind the possible ramifications of your social media usage.

Let’s return to 15 years ago. Which word do you think caused me heartache? If you guessed ‘bombard,’ you are correct! Maybe suggesting “email admin” would have been a better choice than “bombard admin with email.”

The suggestion wasn’t given with a ‘get-em’ attitude. It was just an idea. When it was read on Facebook, it was interpreted as vicious; which I am not.  All turned out fine. It was a learning experience, and no matter how painful they can be somethimes, we learn from our experiences, right?

I’d like to leave you with this Reason, Season, and Lifetime poem.

Blog friendship poem

Stay Calm & Be a Lifetime Friend,
Profs Dr. Wendy. & Dr. V.


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