We seek to "friend" people on Facebook (and be friended) not only to connect with our current circle of friends and reconnect with friends from our past, but seemingly to prove our popularity by how many "friends" we have. Who isn't delighted when dozens of friends "like" an item we've posted? It is affirming. We feel listened to. We feel as if we've made a connection. We feel liked.
But, how many of our "friends" are genuinely friends who truly like us?
This reminds me of Pinterest, a sort of Facebook in an idea-sharing, virtual scrap-booky kind of way. Don't we all want lots of fellow-Pinteresters to like what we like and re-pin our pins? Don't we secretly wish for an extensive list of followers oohing and aahing over our boards, admiring our taste and virtual creativity?
Twitter, Instagram, blogs, who know what else taps a secret place inside of us that craves affirmation? Whether we receive it from friends or strangers, does it matter? They like us, they really like us!
Few, if any people, go out of their way to try and persuade people not to like them. And, really, there's nothing wrong with wanting to be liked. But should it matter so much? Will our birthday be ruined if 45 people don't post birthday greetings on our Facebook wall?
Will we still view ourselves as worthwhile people even if no one follows our Pinterest boards?
A strong sense of self, liking who we are and being comfortable and happy in our skin, is of more worth than having 700 Facebook friends. And a deep connection with two or three people is much more fulfilling than 60 "likes" on our newest pin or post. Quantity is not quality. So let's all try to put the brakes on our obsession with being "liked". Instead, let's work on forging strong bonds with a few authentic friends who we can touch skin-to-skin and see if we can stop craving so many virtual (((((((((hugs))))))))).