Facebook, Privacy, & Friends – It’s Not A Numbers Game

fb friends A friend of mine brought up a good point about Facebook and our friend’s list on it. He was a tad annoyed because quite a lot of people have their friend’s lists hidden and couldn’t understand why they would do so. He was curious as to how many friends these people had, mind you, and felt frustrated because this aspect of the people he wanted to know was kept from him.

I can totally understand his frustrations. Most people see another person’s friend’s list as a means of making new friends. Others see a person’s friend’s list as means of competition, in hopes of accruing an even larger friend’s base than the other person. When that’s not available to them, they seem to take it as a personal slight against them which is far from what they person who’s kept their friend’s list hidden intended.

With all the privacy issues that abound on Facebook, we, as people, take our privacy seriously. There are things that we only share with those we truly know, while others keep their lives totally in the open for everyone else to see. Which is fine, as we all live our lives as we see fit.

Sadly, some don’t seem to understand that a lot of people hide their friend’s list as a means for privacy. This doesn’t mean that they’re keeping people out of their lives. Far from it. They just prefer to give those that they have on their friend’s lists further privacy.

I want to know who you know! Sure you do. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll catch a glimpse of that person’s friend’s list.

I heard you know this person or that person! Did you? Often times, a person will also hide their friend’s list if there’s a high profile person with whom they are friends with. This doesn’t mean that this applies to every one, mind you, but it is a plausible reason for the hiding of their list. Perhaps, the person felt that it was best to keep their list hidden so that the person in question wouldn’t be bombarded with friend invites from people he/she does not know. Not everyone is this respectful of the people they befriend on Facebook, but keep in mind that this is one of many reasons why someone may hide their lists from others.

Are you still friends with this person? Who knows? Most times, people hide their lists to prevent people that they’ve had bad experiences with from bothering friends and family if they still have some beef with you. Trust me, this happens often and it’s not pretty. Keeping a friend’s list hidden from these type of people will make it harder for them to insinuate themselves into your life again. Mind you, this method doesn’t always work. There are ways in working around Facebook so that you can try and get in touch/find someone who doesn’t want to be found. It sucks, I know, but it’s true.

For whatever reason it is that a person has kept their friend’s list private, I think we should at least respect their wishes. They haven’t done it to keep you from knowing who they know. Nor are they being spiteful. They’re just respecting other people’s boundaries as well as theirs. It’s truly not a numbers game. Most of us are not competing with those that we befriend in hopes of having a bigger friend’s list than they do.

In this day and age, privacy is a big deal. You never know who’s watching/keeping an eye on everything you do. Every step you take, everything you say and do, people want to know. This is why we try and set those boundaries here online. While we may want to know every aspect of a person’s life and who they know, we have to realize that these lines are set for a reason. There are many reasons why we restrict portions of our profiles from those around us and we should respect the fact that not everyone shares everything online.

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