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Who to friend?

A friend of mine mentioned something on her facebook page, and it got me to thinking – should you “friend” people that you don’t really know?

Her dilemma was this: people she knew back in high school were adding her as “friends”, yet she never heard word one from them afterward. They were obviously just wanting to pad their “friend” base, but at what cost?

I’ve been very lucky in that regard. Several people I went to high school with (almost 28 years ago!) have found me online and reached out to say hi. Considering the school we went to was a tiny rural high school in west Texas (less than fifty in our graduating class), I had honestly never thought I’d see or hear from anyone there again, considering who I am today.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised.  I suppose I shouldn’t be – the people who have reconnected with me were good people then, so they really haven’t changed much. And that’s a good thing.

Maybe the reason I was caught off-guard by their decency was that my last trip to my old home town wasn’t the best it could be. I took my partner back to show her where  I came from – after all, the small-town mentality has made me what I am – for the most part. It wasn’t the most welcome of experiences, and we cut our trip short – I haven’t felt that uncomfortable in my own skin in over twenty years.

Were we harassed, picked on, or bashed? No. But at almost every turn, I was given a very stark reminder of why I left. Neither one of us are flag-waving, in-your-face type of lesbians. We’re quite boring and ordinary, but were glared at and given more dirty looks in half a day of sightseeing than I can remember being faced with in a long time.  Even in our suburbia, we never see this kind of behavior. Of course, the suburbs of the D/FW area are quite a bit different from west Texas, but still – you’d think that people would realize this is 2009 – not 1959.

That’s why, when I started getting friend requests from people I haven’t seen or heard from in over 25 years, I was a bit leery. But it’s been very nice to connect with old friends, and I’m glad I took the first step. I hope my friend who’s worried about just this very thing has half as good of friends as I do.


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