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Opinion

Commentary: To Friend Or Not To Friend On Facebook

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http://66.225.205.104/1216facebook.mp3

Is it better to be friended and then unfriended on Facebook than never friended at all? Maybe. She actually unfriended me, my twenty-six-year-old daughter who moved so far away that a hug will have to wait for the holidays. Unfriended? At least she 'fessed up when I asked. I hadn't seen any posts from her lately, and when her birthday came and went without even one happy wish in my newsfeed, I got suspicious. Some of her friends post things she doesn't want me to see, she said. She hadn't unfriended me, just blocked me from her friends. Unfriended, blocked - they feel the same to me. When I told my daughter I wanted to friend one of her buddies, whom I like very much, she thought I'd overstepped the bounds. Other than that one discretion, I'm pretty quiet. I don't often post comments. I primarily read what others write. Folks put stuff out there. They want an audience and I'm willing. My daughter doesn't like that either. In fact, she once called me a Facebook lurker. But blocking me? It hurt. I started to understand how young kids must feel when they are dissed online. Bullied kids, blocked moms - we share pain the Internet world sometimes doles out. When I shared my story with a 40-something neighbor, she said, as much as she loved her, she would never want to be Facebook friends with her mother. Yet I see another of my friends merrily conversing with her daughters. I guess my daughter is like my neighbor, deciding being total Facebook friends with her mother wasn't such a good idea after all. I've learned that since Facebook has added a mechanism to create separate categories, I can now access her Facebook page, but only by way of her family group. After a lot of thought, I realized her Facebook page is her world. Our being friends is like me hanging out at the bar with her and her buddies till dawn. Some things are meant to be kept separate. The truth is I'd forgotten what it was like to be twenty-six, when your world is your friends. My mom was an afterthought for me at that age. When kids are little, people say you should be their parent, not their friend. Should that change as they grow up? If someone were to ask me about being Facebook friends with their kids, I'd now say, "Don't you do it. Let them decide if it's right." As for me, wanting to meet my daughter somewhere in the middle, I asked her to at least email the photos she posts on Facebook. I miss the little window to her world that her posts provided. I'm fine with regressing to email. I see that my daughter wasn't trying to hurt me. She was just making a course correction. Maybe when her pals are less raucous, when she's a mother, anxious to brag about her kids, we can be full-fledged Facebook friends again. Commentator Mary Struble Deery is a retired advertising executive in Charlotte.