Imagine you're at a party. Someone approaches and engages you in a one-sided conversation. It goes something like this:
"Hi (YOUR NAME), haven't seen you in awhile. Of course, I haven't seen anybody, considering I just returned from my oceanfront timeshare on Maui. Hey, you won't believe what happened. I was on the deck, grilling a delicious Mahi Mahi with garlic mustard sauce and a side of fruit salsa, when who do I see walking along the beach? George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon! So I say, 'yo guys, how about me and you take a selfie?' And they say, 'Absolutely!' Well, I got so nervous that I nearly dropped my son's Princeton acceptance letter, which I'd been reading. My boy hasn't seen it yet since he's off in Central America, building Habitat for Humanity homes with other representatives from the Outstanding USA Youth society." I can't wait to see him. Neither can my wife, the love of my life, whom I've been married to for 27 wonderful, blissful years."
At this point you're probably looking for a trap door, fire pole, rescue chopper or other means of escape from his narcissistic blathering. Unfortunately, he isn't finished.
"Hey, did your healthcare premiums go up this year? I told everyone this would happen if Obama got reelected. That's why I'm voting straight Tea Party in 2016. Have you seen that video from Fox News that spells out why Obamacare is the worst thing for this country? I'll send it to you."
Now you're wondering if it's possible to self induce a seizure. Or at least a fainting spell. But you can't. Meanwhile...
"Speaking of healthcare, you'll be happy to know my prostate exam was negative. Would you mind walking around the room and sharing that information with at least 30 other people? And when you return, remind me to tell you where my cat and dog slept last night. It's so adorable."
Seizing the moment, you leave.
Now ask yourself... would you like a person like this? Would you call him a friend?
On the contrary, you'd rather stick toothpicks in his eyeballs. Or maybe your own.
And yet, all he was doing, for lack of a better phrase, was "speaking Facebook."
Therein lies the irony of the largest social media network. We reach out to people in hopes they will friend us and like our posts. But if we constantly verbalized all the glorious events in our lives, we'd have zero friends. The human race would despise us.
Now I'll admit, I've been guilty of "Facebook-speak" on several occasions, begging my friends to "like" or "share" my columns. Recently, I even had the gall to post my view from a Jamaican beach chair while a blizzard pummeled two-thirds of the United States and its victims could do nothing except say, "Darn that polar vortex!" My photography choice prompted a stern rebuke from my wife.
"Why don't you just post our address on homeinvaders.com and let everybody know we'll be gone for a week! Don't forget to include a map to my jewelry drawer."
Point made. No more bragging. On Facebook, good news should be balanced with bad, or even mediocre news, once in awhile. That's why I've been scrolling through my Facebook account, casually un-friending those who do nothing more than tell me of their amazing existence, their celebrity encounters and their dinner concoctions. The cruise ship entertainer whose 2013 posts consisted of nothing more than his weekly itineraries ("Aruba today, Cozumel tomorrow!)? Delete.
The frat brother and hockey Dad whose son, if you believe the attached video clips, scores multiple goals in EVERY game? Delete!
Then there's my old high school buddy, a global business traveler who uses Facebook to pine for the companionship of his wife and his children ("Staying at the Ritz but really missing my family.") DELETE! But not before I sent him a message: "Wrap yourself in a Ritz bathrobe for 10 minutes; you'll be amazed how fast that loneliness disappears."
I'm not swearing off Facebook in 2014. But if we connect, just promise me you'll occasionally post that you lost your job, slipped on the ice or got sued for divorce.
Then you'll need a friend.