Someone you barely know works in the building in which you work, and requests that you make them a pal on that facebook machine.
Though not what you would conventionally term friends, having barely been colleagues for a week, you know them well enough to know that they have a face, as do you, and on this basis you faccept them.
(Im working on the basis that if stupid words about blog-related activities (or blactivities) can be coined by adding bl to the beginning of a word, it follows that it must be possible with facebook and the letter f, yes? Yes. Or maybe no. Whatever)
Within twenty minutes you are alerted by The Facebook. The Facebook wishes to break the news to you that your new colleague and sometime friend (firm pal of around 18 minutes standing) has just broken up with the girlfriend you had no idea that they had in the first place. This is the type of information facebook knows we want to know about our dearest friends, and so we are finformed.
But now what do you DO? You are a friend of this person. You have written confirmation of the fact you are friends in the form of a small message with tickboxes saying This person is now your friend, please confirm how you know this person – so you must be close in some way, so what do you do?
Because those first few minutes are the hardest, obviously, because you know that theyre going through serious *feelings* over there, and youre, like, number one friend on the scene – which makes you their number one friend FULL STOP, ostensibly, so what do you do?
So whats the correct fetiquete here? Do you go over there and say
Hey Joseph – Or do you go by Joe? Well, whatever. Anyway – listen, Im really sorry to hear you split up with with hang on, I just need to look at my screen. Kate. Things must be tough for you right now, buddy. Well, Im here for you, yeah?
Or do you wait for the perfect moment, honing your first all-important words as the hours, days, weeks pass. Until its been too long and its just too awkward and far from being the best-ffriend you should have been when they needed you most, youre now avoiding their eyes as you pass in the corridor and walking up five flights rather than catch the lift with them.
You should have been more than ffriend to them, and you know it. Just when they needed you most, you should have been brother, sister, kin to them, and instead you were a franger.
Its a fkin nightmare, this fetiquette, fffrankly.