Tuesday questions, Heigh Ho, the Holly edition

This week’s question comes courtesy of NaPP‘s own Will Truman (who is taller than I had guessed):

A few weeks ago, an old flame Friended me on Facebook. This was a surprise on a number of fronts, not the least of which was that I’d always figured that if she remembered me at all, it was with a shudder. It didn’t go well. It didn’t end well. It only barely started well. What the heck would she have to say with me on Facebook?

I accepted the invite. By morning, without a word being said, I had been unfriended.

The only one that competes with that is a guy that I actually was friends with in junior high. When high school rolled around, we drifted apart. I saw him at the high school reunion and he had no idea who I was. No idea at all. I slunk off awkwardly and nothing more was said between us. A couple months later we were Facebook Friends.

So to you Facebookers (or social networkeers) out there, what is the oddest Facebook friend request you have gotten to date?

For those of you who don’t Facebook, what is the weirdest reconnect you’ve ever had? Back when I used to go to live country music shows, I’d run into people I knew in high school. More often than not, it was someone that I didn’t really get along with. In some cases, it was people that were antagonistic. People I was on friendly terms with – were not, I suppose, the kind of people who went drinking and listening to steel guitars on a Friday night.

Yet every one of these people I wuld run into remembered me fondly. Every one of them remembered me as a friend. Only one of them made any sort of allusion to having given me a hard time (retroactively declared good-natured ribbing). It actually came across as sincere and not avoiding some elephant in the room.

There was one case where a young woman was telling her gentlemen friend this story of a guy and a girl who both were very fond of one another but for whom things tragically never quite came together. I was confused on two points: first that I did not recall having strong feelings about her one way or the other, and second because had the conversation not started with her saying “Hey! It’s Will Truman!” I would not have known that she had ever known my name.

Does this sort of thing ever happen to any of you?

Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.


  1. One of the bullies friended me. Now, he wasn’t my own personal one… but he was the personal one of a friend or two of mine. In wondering “why in the hell did you friend me?”, I looked at the comments he left for others… they were all variants of “you look completely different!” or “you haven’t changed at all!” (I got a “you look completely different!”, for the record. He, of course, hadn’t changed at all.)

    I think he got on facebook, looked up our graduating class, and friended everybody in it in his first 20 minutes.

    • I got a request from my personal 4th-grade bully (well, one of several, to be fair). It didn’t come with an apology or explanation or anything — just a request.

      I declined, also without explanation. I’m still not sure if it was the most gentlemanly thing to do.

  2. I have a suspicion I’m far more likely to be the person making odd friend requests than the other way around…

    • So YOU are the person whose requests I keep denying!

        • If you consider me posing in a cowboy hat and jorts “sexy”, then I just might have to make that change…

  3. Back in high school, I had a standing crush on a couple of guys. Other fancies (none of which ever came to anything, alas) came and went, but for two or three I was quietly smitten the whole time.

    Years went by, and I lost touch with almost everyone from high school. (This used to be the norm, right?) Then came Facebook, and suddenly I was back in contact (of a sort) again. And eventually I got a “friend” request from one of my standing crushes.

    Time had… not been what you’d call “kind.” But, as we actually were friends back in high school, it was nice to see him again. I posted some kind of “nice to see you again!” message on his wall, along with a joking reference to his tendency to sock me on the deltoid for fun. (He was on the football team, and it wasn’t actually all that funny. But I told myself it was. See above re: crush.)

    The next day, I had been un-“friended.” It was the only time that had happened to me, and I was completely clueless as to why. It was still on my mind when the Better Half and I got together with another old friend from high school for dinner: she was my “date” to the senior prom. (We had also reconnected through Facebook.) I told her of the friending-unfriending, and wondered what it meant. Apparently he had gotten married to a really socially conservative woman, and had also unfriended someone from high school because (it was speculated) he liked to drink on occasion. Our only guess is that I was a wee bit too obviously gay for his taste.

    And then, after a few years, I got another friend request from the same guy. I decided “what the hell” and accepted, and we’ve been “friends” since (with admittedly no real communication) despite my relationship status being unambiguous.

    I have no idea what any of this means.

    • I will say that I unfriend people all the time. I’m 28, so I was in college when Facebook came out and before it was open to non-college students, meaning everyone friended everyone without repercussion. I got drunk one night and friended anyone from my home town. I ended up with several hundred “friends”, a small percentage of which I had any real interest in maintaining a relationship with and the vast majority of which our “friendship” would be at best neutral and at worse could lead to, er, incriminating information being leaked out. So I regularly purge folks, going through the list and defriending mass quantities of people at a time. A handful of tried to re-friend, which I tend to just ignore, and one person called me out on it in person, which we had a good laugh about. She remains unfriended.

      The other problem is my “News Feed” or whatever got so clogged that FB became useless to me. I’m sure there are other ways to filter it, but it was just easiest to delete the random kids from high school I sat next to in class and otherwise never talked to, since I really had no interest in knowing where they got a burrito from or how many kids they were popping out.

      • I regularly tell my News Feed to ignore certain people. Given where I grew up, it’s not surprising that a lot of people I knew in high school have the political opinions they do, but I’d still rather not have to deal with them.

        • Few of my friends put much political stuff up, but that didn’t really bother me. It was the girl I barely knew posting 87 times a day about pop culture or every damn thing she did/thought/thought-about-doing/did-without-thinking.

  4. Yeah… I had a woman friend me on FB once, acting like a good old friend from HS, and I could never for the life of me figure out who the hell she was. It’s not like I went to some giant suburban school either; we had 25 in our graduating class and only 125 or so in the school total.

    I even asked a couple of other friends of HS that I keep in touch with, and they couldn’t figure it out either.

  5. No weird Facebook friendings, if only because the whole phenomenon is in and of itself weird and so new that I don’t know that there is an agreed upon decorum yet for it. Nothing really stands out because they’re all sort of weird and goofy.

    As for reconnects, I had an ex-girlfriend resurface in the strangest of ways. We dated for about a month in high school. Between my timidity and her awkwardness, things never moved beyond sitting together on a couch (oddly enough, this would be the first of two relationships I had in this manner). We broke up and remained within overlapping social circles and eventually lost touch, as she spun out into weirder and weirder awkwardness (she was the kind of girl who picked up and moved to a farm commune on a whim). Anyway, during sophomore year of college, I get a phone call that goes like this:

    Her: Hi, Kazzy? This is so-and-so. We used to date in high school. Do you remember?
    Me: Yes. What’s up?
    Her: Well, I was thinking about you recently and I realized something.
    Me: What’s that?
    Her: You’re gay.
    Me: Is that so?
    Her: Yea. It explains everything. And I think it’s great.
    Me: Are you serious?
    Her: Yea. My brother is gay so I’m totally down with it. And now you can be gay and happy.
    Me: Is this really the reason you called? (Note: I would not have put it past her to make such an awkward greeting to talk about something entirely unrelated to my sexuality.)
    Her: Yea. That’s all. I just wanted you to know that you’re gay.
    Me: Thanks? Okay. Bye. [click]

    I don’t know that we’ve talked since then. I wasn’t offended at being mistaken for gay… in my line of work, it tends to happen. But that she had the temerity to think this was something she got to decide for me, based on the fact that I never made a move on her 3 years earlier, and thinking that if I was a closeted gay man, such a phone call would be appreciated. Seriously?

    Interestingly enough, later that same week my roommate’s friend dropped off a book with me, which I forgot to deliver to my roommate. When the roommate questioned the friend about it, he replied, “I gave it to your Asian roommate”. Note: I am not Asian.

    We combined these two cases of mistaken identity into a nickname that still surfaces from time to time: The Gaysian.

    • Putting this in context with my Butt Stuffer story, I’m wondering if I should simply stop giving out my phone number…

    • …thinking that if I was a closeted gay man, such a phone call would be appreciated.

      Speaking for myself only, back in the days when I hung out with the mothballs, any suggestion than I was gay was met with “Oh, NO I’M NOT lalalalalalalalala I can’t hear yooooooooou!! lalalalala check out the rack on that chick!! heh heh I AM TOTALLY HETEROSEXUAL!”

      So, um… I would not have appreciated that phone call.

      • I’ll take that off my “To Do” list for today then…

    • Me: Is this really the reason you called?
      Her: Well, kind of. I’m on the committee for out 10th reunion, and I realized you’d be great with the decorations.

        • This reminds me that the league needs a like button so that I can just click like instead of drunk commenting. I always regret that in the morning.

          • a like button so that I can just click like instead of drunk commenting. I always regret that in the morning.

            Meaning the like button provides much less value to other readers.

          • Patrick – I figured. I can’t be the only one to have thought of that with all of these smart people around.

            James – Those comments have little to no value, I assure you. You would think they would be funny at the very least, but no.

          • To be sure, we bloggers would always rather have commentary.

            However, it’s pretty evident that we have a significant population of watchers-and-readers-who-don’t-comment, so we’re hoping to get some level of communication out of ’em by giving them a thumbs up option.

  6. My kid’s syndrome is so rare (usually 50-60 born per year in U.S.) that many parents friend each other on FB. I’d say I have at least 150 syndrome friends. It’s great for a couple of reasons: seeing so many other people with it makes it seem like we’re not alone in the world. You can also throw out a question (how do I stop my kid from biting himself?) and get tons of answers.

    The other thing that’s sort of interesting is that the syndrome is completely random. Every ethnic group, and the incidence does not increase with age (it’s usually, not always, paternally derived). So, I have 150 friends that are completely random, except that they have a kid with the syndrome. Which gives me a sense of a slice of life from people I have absolutely zero in common with. Tea partiers, loony liberals, rich, poor, uneducated, highly educated, teen moms, everything. Makes for a more interesting feed, although I did end up hiding a couple of constant posters.

  7. I have had some odd friend requests, but apparently I feel kindly enough toward all of them that I do not want to describe them even pseudonymously.

  8. Your intro gave me the impression that Will was an inspiration, not the author. As a result, I read the post thinking it was Russell and surprised he had so many girlfriends. Once I got to the end, I had to go back and read it all thinking of Will.

    To answer the question, I’m like Ryan in that I would be the one making odd friend requests. I’m facebook friends with a few people who weren’t nice to me and a few old boyfriends who I think are a little freaked out about how friendly I insist on being. Although, there is this one woman who keeps sending me messages like we were/are best friends and I have no idea who she is. None. I humor her hoping she will give me a clue.

    • Yeah, I have for sure friended several people who are friends of friends just because they were attractive enough that I wanted to see more pictures of them. I am the person this post was written to make you all talk about.

      • “I have for sure friended several people who are friends of friends just because they were attractive enough that I wanted to see more pictures of them”
        Seriously?! People don’t really do that, do they?

        I’m more likely to make a person say, “why is this person friending me when I teased her mercilessly in school?” Or some comment about our unpleasant breakup.

        • I’m pretty sure a significant percentage of straight men friending women they don’t know well is in order to check out pics of them online and… well… you know. There is a funny gag song on YouTube that I can’t search for at work.

          • That is sad. My facebook photos are some of the worst photos of me ever. I’m much less ugly in person, I swear.

          • You just want to know what pretty people do and look like in general or is there a specific demographic you are interested in? Is this a fetish thing?

          • I don’t think there’s anything terribly specific about it, beyond the general quality of “I find you attractive”. It’s virtually always friends of friends, so they’re not total strangers. I don’t know; it gives me some small amount of joy.

          • My husband said he does that sometimes, too. Scratches some itch, I guess, without the whole brou-ha-ha of porn.

          • This brings me to one of those questions that I’ve never been able to get an answer on…

            Women, if you found out that a guy you knew was, well, you know, doing that with you in mind, either via photos or just memories… is that a compliment?

          • Hm, well, at the risk of taking this conversation even further down the sewer drain, I want to be clear that my intent when friending random Facebook hotties is not to sit in the dark masturbating or anything. It’s not a (hardcore?) pornographic interest.

            As for Kazzy’s question, I’m somewhat curious as well. I know my own reaction is perhaps not representative (not that people tell me they do that w.r.t. me particularly often anyway…), so I’d like to hear some female perspectives.

          • Personally, I would never friend someone just to get access to their pics. Just want to set the record straight on that. But I will sometimes check our photographs and I know guys who do explicitly friend “hotties” to add to their spank bank.

          • Just great. Now on top of every other insecurity manifestation in my life, I can add the paranoid question, “why aren’t more people friending me so they can pop the weasel to my pics?”

            Thanks for that.

          • “… is that a compliment?”

            Technically yes.

          • Um, this is maybe the wrong thread to put this in, but your name being as common as it is, I couldn’t find you when I looked. Would you care to initiate a friendship with me?

          • Tod-

            I imagine you like the people at the end of those Trident Layers commercials…

            “Nobody ever masturbates to online pictures of ME!”

          • It’s not masturbation for husband either (although what do I know? but it doesn’t seem to even occur to him that one might want to hide such things from one’s wife, so I usually take him at his word). That’s what I meant by without the whole porn brou ha ha.

            I would take it as a compliment unless there was something really creepy about it, like someone was checking them every day or something. But I do tend to be less sensitive to this sort of thing than I gather other women are, per the conversation on compliments by straight men at work.

      • Mary & Ryan,

        When I get an unexpected request, one of the first things I do is see the Friends count. If it’s high, I just assume that the person has a comparatively low threshold for who to Friend with and I don’t think it’s odd. My first major crush sent a request, which had me feeling all honored, but she had 400-something friends. The above-mentioneds had below 200. Porky (the old flame) could have had more by virtue of her attractiveness (one of the reasons I think of her thinking of me as something to roll her eyes over is that she was ridiculously out of my league), and Luther (the guy) graduated with me in a class of almost 1000 in a school of 4000.

        • I only have 109 “friends” so some of mine probably seem odd. I will friend with anyone (that sounds dirty), except people I work with. All they get is LinkedIn. If I’m friending with everyone, shouldn’t I have more friends? I must get unfriended a lot and not know it.

          • How I would interpret it would depend on historical context, I suppose. If I teased them mercilessly or we had a bad breakup, it might warrant a submission to Tuesday Questions. Absent that, I’m as likely as not to be flattered (as I was with the girl from the honky-tonk) as baffled. I was added last year by someone I met at a wedding and thought “Wow, I must have made a better impression with them than I thought!”

  9. BlaiseP doesn’t do the Facebook thang. I have G+ which serves my needs entirely. Facebook is just too intrusive and snoopy.

    • I need more information on G+ and Twitter before I am willing to subject myself to them.

      • Ditto. A couple of LoOgers have recently sent me Google + requests. I don’t mean to be rude to them, but I don’t know what the hell it is or does. Of course I don’t do much social media. I allegedly have a Facebook account–I think it’s been a couple of years since I logged on.

        • >I don’t know what the hell it is or does.

          It’s an electronic cerebrectomy. It turns the brains into guacamole.

          • I share an office with a man who is this close to committing me because I have randomly laughed out loud a few too many times. Thanks, Pat, for making his decision easier.

        • G+ is a better model. Da Vinci tells us when we’re faced with a design problem, always look at nature’s model first.

          The Iroquois said there were five fingers on the hand because nobody has more than five deep friendships. So make up a circle for those friends. Similarly, we all have those past friends who deserve at least some respect but less intimacy than those five friends. Then there are all those folks from work and school who shouldn’t get told anything but the barest details.

          Since the topology of everyone’s life is different, G+ gives you the option of creating circles and migrating people around in them. It does require some thought but it’s possible to move someone into a less-intimate circle rather than defriend them entirely.

          I don’t do Twitter, either. I couldn’t fit anything I’ve ever had to say into 140 bytes of text. I didn’t like Blackberry back in the day, though I wrote some of the first drivers for the RIM modem on which it’s based.

          Google Docs is a fine thing. My photos are all on Google Drive formerly dba Picasa. I can control shared access to everything as I wish.

          Facebook is a fundamentally insecure pain in the ass. It reminds me of the early days of email, when everyone seemed to CC everyone on everything. Fire up Wireshark sometime and see what Facebook is doing under the covers. You won’t like it. It’s a stupid model to its core.

          • Only Facebook has lists which you can use as your privacy settings for posts, photos and comments. They work ~exactly~ like Google Circles.

            I don’t think Google is any less snoopy than FB. It’s just not as well known for it, yet.

          • Facebook has tried to emulate the G+ circles metaphor. I know what Facebook network traffik looks like at low level and do not approve of it.

            I support OpenID through Janrain for some of my clients. If people prefer to use their Facebook or Google or Twitter or Yahoo IDs, that’s great. Less of a security risk for my applications, fumbling around in encrypted user lookup tables and LDAP and all that registration and lost password crapola. OpenID doesn’t close the door on security entirely.

    • I use Facebook for Metcalvian reasons, but it’s definitely been getting pretty pushy lately about signing up to spam my friends’ newsfeeds with every single thing I do on the Internet.

        • It seems like more and more websites are using FB logins as their way of posting/commenting/ interacting and then pushing what you did there back to your news feed. I’ve seen a lot of major news sites/ blogs require you to use a FB log in to comment.

          • It’s certainly that way with Spotify (which I just joined, and kind of love). But at least with it apparently you have to choose to share, rather than it being the default. (Dear God, please don’t let me be wrong about that.)

  10. no book of the face for me, but i have had a few people run across me in unrelated forums, etc, just from my username. most of them have been ok, or even interesting. only one was puzzling, as he blew off the little music sewing circle/jam group/informal label thing we had going on a bunch of years back with virtually no explanation.

    worse than the above is the vendors i deal with once or twice on inquiries who then send me a friend request on linked in.

    • Everyone talks about Facebook, but LinkedIn is the real enemy. If you think the most annoying thing in the world is people telling you about the minutiae of personal life, there’s a whole other world out there to be glad you aren’t experiencing.

      • LinkedIn is the only social medium I do. (My name isn’t close to unique, but I’m the only one who used to work at Chevron.)

        • Do you find Linked in useful? I just quit it because I found the only effect of participation to be an increase in emails I didn’t want to deal with, but it’s possible I missed something.

          • It was useful when I couldn’t remember that person’s name from that conference last summer, but I needed to reach her for that thing she presented on.

          • What Mary said. It’s great for getting hold of people I otherwise have no contact information for. And I schizophrenically enjoy the number of people who have checked out my resume, and then get annoyed when they send me unsolicited e-mail.

          • I use LinkedIn a fair bit. I have a paid subscription. It’s my primary source for probing a potential client.

    • I’m pretty sure I remember a friend of mine pointing out some posts by you on another forum several years back. Do you remember a Psiga? Or he may have gone by Jagger back then.

  11. Somewhat tangentially, I’ve picked up a number of new Facebook friends from LeagueFest. I am pretty super excited to see how they all react the first time there’s a Michigan sporting event and I post 45 updates during it.

    • I have no idea why this is the comment that compelled me to friend-request you on Facebook. But it was.

      • Lucky for Ryan, that only works because you met. There are tons of Ryan Bonnevilles and Noonans on facebook so not just anyone could hunt him down.

        • The number of Ryan Bonnevilles is totally weird. That last name is not what I would call common in the least.

        • I searched Ryan Bonneville and got Ryan Noonan as the second hit. From there, it was pretty easy to confirm it was him.

          And thus begins my career in stalking.

        • I’ll see if anyone friends Russell, and then friend him or her with my real name.

          • I have to be the only person with my real name. I have a weird spelling on both; however, there are two of me because when I was in college I had an account that I totally don’t remember the email I used or password to. I had to start an all new one when I actually started using FB and I lost all of my dorm-mates 🙁

          • Go for it, Jonathan! It’s like a weird scavenger hunt. The only consolation is I can unfriend Ryan at any time.
            Will I one day regret liking the league on FB?

          • Jonathan –
            Neither. That is a coincidence and more of a hobby. The only reason I use a name on the league other than my own is because of a little stalker issue I had for a while. Hell, I might still have. Who knows.

          • Anyone who wants to use me as a vector for connecting with other people should probably use Google +, which I’m using exclusively for LoOG stuff. I hardly ever get around to checking Facebook any longer, and mainly use it was a platform for Words with Friends.

    • the first time there’s a Michigan sporting event and I post 45 updates during it.

      I’d unfriend you after the first one. 😉

  12. None strike me as especially odd, but I have been surprised at how seemingly popular I’ve become among those who comprised the “in-crowd” in high school.

  13. I believe he mentioned weighng 280lbs, either now or previously. I imagine he is actually Karl Malone.

  14. If anyone gets a request from a strange woman with the initials EP, that’s me.

  15. I got a friend request, which I ignored, from a high school classmate I distinctly remember as being a bit of a jerk in general, and to me specifically on a couple of occasions.

    I also got tworequests from women with very tenuous connections to me—one who had gone to the same college as me and one who had worked at the same company, neither of whom I had ever met before. Presumably from the suggested friends feature. I assumed that they were just big Facebook sluts, but neither had more than a couple of dozen friends. I did a bit of a double-take when the name of the second one showed up on in my work email as the author of a widely-broadcast email, at a completely different comany (Not as big a coincidence as it sounds, as these companies are the primary employers of software engineers here). I asked her why we were Facebook friends, and she said she didn’t know, either. Eventually they both defriended me.

    Oh, and I got a friend request from my best friend in kindergarten, about three months before she offed herself.

  16. Back when I was on Facebook, I got a friend request from someone I’d never met based on a shared last name. Not a case of mistaken identity, nor even a suggestion that we might be related but not know it (at least not closely; it was determined that both of us had ancestors in the same country, so it’s possible, but 4+ generations back). Just thought it was interesting that we shared the same (admittedly quite uncommon) surname.

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