Friend, Foe or UFO?

Written by: Lianne Castelino

Published: Aug 3, 2011

by Lianne Castelino,


Funny how the internet can by the catalyst for reflection on some of the most basic of topics.  In this case, a subject that has never previously required much analysis.  Either it fits or it doesn’t and we all move on.  But now in the expanding, limitless world of technology, such questions must be asked.


What is a friend?


You heard me.  How do you define a friend?


Every day I receive friend requests on Facbook, Linked in and other social media and I swear I have no idea who these people are.  Now, to be fair, I come from the old school of “I need to have meet or spoken to you, at the very least” to CONFIRM friendship.  Otherwise, I feel uncomfortable.


With my increasingly unreliable memory, I regularly forget names.  I’m better with faces.  However, even in my most amnesia-filled moment chances are I will not forget both.


Still, I cringe when I receive requests and for the life of me cannot remember ever being introduced to these people.


Is this rude?  Not in my estimation, however, there are arguments to be made both ways.


A friend of yours is a friend of mine.  That may hold water in some cases, but…

As a parent who drills the dangers of be-friending random strangers to my social media-savvy kids on a regular basis, I have to walk the walk.  Hopefully the repetition reaps results.  Who knows if they are listening.  I check from time to time and am sure they don’t know all those people.


It’s such a slippery slope and for kids can be such a dangerous one.  I like to air on the side of caution with them and myself for that matter.


I know people who will befriend every Tom, Dick and Harry that beeps them.  Twitter, in particular, throws the whole question of “what is a friend” into a tailspin.  It makes me ask:  ‘do I want to know this person?”  among other penetrating questions.


Til someone makes a compelling argument otherwise, I plan to continue to think twice before I confirm friendship while dusting off the cobwebs of my mind to place people that send me invitations, just in case our paths crossed in a past life.


Better to be a Friend, or Foe rather than an Unidentified Friendly Object!

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