Facebook started about the same way MySpace did back in its day - filled with teens and young adults with entirely too much time to waste and a knack for sharing everything with everyone at all times. Myspace was a website where I could go and post dumb things to entertain my friends without the knowing constant watch of my parents. But, as time went on, older adults started infiltrating MySpace and us fringe-ridden, heavy eyeliner, neon highlight, woe-is-me punk teenagers no longer had a space to live-post our emo days.
This is when I, personally, saw a surge in Facebook users. It started with friends trying to escape their families on MySpace, and low and behold, Facebook appeared in the nick of time. We know history repeats itself, and it was just as frustrating when the family left MySpace to connect on Facebook as it was when it happened the first time. Now, MySpace lay abandoned and Facebook takes the lead as the new platform to share your life with absolutely everyone you did and now know.
We all have the same thoughts when we see that notification of a new friend request and it's a family member, or when you see their picture pop up in the 'People You May Know' section you've tried to disable a million times. Here are the 15 thoughts that immediately cross your mind when you notice a new family member has joined Facebook.
1. "... Well, sh*t."
The first immediate thought, throwing your head back and groaning as you realize it's just one more person to watch yourself around.
2. "Maybe if I don't add them, they won't add me."
We call this the bargaining phase of the grief process, and although we go through all of them in a time like this, we tend to bargain a lot with ourselves as we try to convince nobody but us that they'll leave us be on social media.
3. "Have I posted anything weird lately?"
My first step to adding family is going through my own Facebook wall and deleting all content that could be, A.) used against me, B.) interpreted wrong, or C.) start an unnecessary argument.
4. "It's time to update my privacy settings... Again."
I can't begin to explain the amount of changes my Facebook privacy settings have gone through over the years, especially when we were finally allowed to disable people from finding you via phone number. There's also a setting on Facebook where you can specifically select people to not see your statuses or shares and I use it to my full advantage.
5. "How do I even know them? Have I met them?"
You find yourself squinting at the tiny profile picture, trying to comb through your mind of where you've seen this person before and if so, how they're related to you. I have a lot of family on Facebook that I haven't seen since I was small, and I almost question why I've added them in the first place.
6. "It's not that serious. I should just add them."
We're almost at the acceptance phase. You catch yourself debating over something as minor as social media or a friend request, and you start thinking there's something seriously wrong with you. So, you go to add them in a moment of civility...
7. "... Except, there was that one time..."
... Until you remember all of the messed up things they may have done or known about. We all have our family secrets and our own baggage, and there are just some people who have baggage that don't work with mine and we spend all of our time bickering. So, I pull my hand away and continue the debate on adding them or not.
8. "Great. Another person to drag me into petty Facebook fights."
My family is known for dragging our personal fights onto Facebook, splayed open and bare for the world to see and criticize. Adding a new Facebook friend, one that is family nonetheless, is just more of a chance to be dragged into stupid arguments I have no business being in.
9. "Ten bucks says they'll call for help on how to use Facebook."
It's inevitable; I get a call from older family members who need help navigating Facebook. It's not an issue and I don't mind helping, it's just a common trend and older folks seem to think I'd be able to help them figure it out over the phone rather than in person. It can become quite frustrating rather quickly.
10. "How were they even able to access Facebook?"
Whether they be young cousins or old grandparents you find online, it always brings the question of how they were able to access and make an account by themselves without messing something up. I'm always in awe, and even a little impressed.
11. "Another profile? Seriously?"
We all have that one cousin who makes a million profiles of themselves because they either keep getting removed by Facebook for breaking the rules or because they keep forgetting their login information. For me, I have two of those cousins. At this point, I have stopped adding them when they create new accounts because it is only a matter of time before I get another request.
12. "Maybe I should block them before they can block me."
Ah, yes. The family you don't get along with has joined Facebook and neither of you are making any first moves. You could potentially hold out the olive branch and try to be civil online, or you could do the much more satisfying option and block them before they choose to block you first. Now you get to decide when and how they can view your stuff.
13. "They better not tag me in ugly photos, I swear to God."
My family is a group of people who enjoy taking pictures of each other, and quite frankly, it's kind of cute. But, my own insecurity makes me immediately ready to fight at the idea of people tagging me in unflattering photos of myself. The will to fight is immediate, especially because coworkers, friends, and future employers are all seeing what people tag me in.
14. "Why do I even go on Facebook anymore?"
At this point, Facebook has turned into MySpace and started the cycle over again. You now have no choice but to watch what you say or risk fighting with family you probably don't even like in the first place. No more shitposting memes to your friends timelines and no more statuses about getting shitfaced at 11 in the morning. You are now a responsible internet user and your whole family is watching you.
15. *confirms friend request* "I shouldn't have done that. Sh*t."
Most times I accept the friend request regardless. I often friend them and then immediately set it up so that their posts don't show up in my News Feed, but I also immediately regret my actions as soon as I hit the 'Confirm' button.