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Chat with Pat tries Facebook
Face it - I need friends!

A good friend sent me an email asking me to be his friend. I thought I was his friend but the message said I had to join something called "face book" to be one.

I asked my children about it. My son reminded me he had told me about something called Facebook. He had been suggesting I get on for a while. He said "You are computer savvy and in our business you have to be on Facebook." I remember ignoring him; he always tries flattering me when he wants me to get involved in something.

I later found out that Facebook is what they call a social networking site. It lets you keep in touch with what people are doing, share pictures, join groups and other things that we used to do in person.

So there I was with this request. How do I refuse to be a friend to a friend?

I said OK and my daughter Debbie said I needed to put up a picture of me. She did it for me but I now see that some people don't. Then I waited. I waited two days and no one asked to be my friend. I cried.

I only have three friends and two of them are my children and now the whole world knows it. Debbie said I have to invite people to be my friend. How sad. How needy I am.

I invited a few people to test it. I invited my son-in-law. I thought that would be safe and hoped it would not show up on my page if people refused to be my friend. He didn't respond! I cried. He didn't want to be my friend. What have I done wrong to him?

A couple of days later at the office, I got an email. I shouted out "Tom wants to be my friend!" A real live friend was in the office. I think he felt sorry for me and said "I'll be your friend."

Oh no! A sympathy friend. How pathetic. A few days later he emailed my son asking: "Doesn't your mom want me for a friend?" It seems he was sincere so I quickly invited him. I didn't want him to go through what I did. We have been real live friends a long time.

I went to Facebook the other day because Debbie said I should put something on 'my wall'. That sounded like graffiti, something I would never do. Writing on a wall is as foreign to me as asking people to be my friend.

The wall even starts my sentence for me. It says "Pat is…" Then you are supposed to type a line or two. Now, I always have a lot to say but when they start the sentence for me and I have to fill in the blank I draw a blank. The people who wrote this program have a weird vocabulary and an even weirder way of doing things.

Plus, I would be more confident if I could suggest to people that they visit my page, with no long term commitment to our friendship.

I now have thirteen friends. I know people who have hundreds. I still feel odd about asking people to be my friend. I don't want to appear desperate.

I also don't want my thirteen friends to be bored but it is hard to know what to write when I am talking to such a variety of people: my young nieces, peers, men, women, young and old. Do any of them really want to read a wall telling them that I'm watching television or going to take a shower?

I must admit I do see this "Facebook" stuff really blossoming. Everyone everywhere is talking about it. Television news shows, business programs, organizations, charities, sports fan clubs, you name it, they are all on Facebook. The other evening I heard the people on QVC, on a situation comedy and news anchors all talking about their Facebook pages.

So I'm glad, in my small way, to be a part of it, whatever "it" is. People are baring their souls, networking, uniting with old friends and making new ones. Maybe I should bite the bullet and invite some more people in; thirteen is an unlucky number anyway.

But what if they say "no way"? Do I want the pain of rejection again? Will I resent them for life? This is tough stuff. I think my children are sorry I ever got involved.

And if I join, for example, QVC's Facebook will I have to write something on their wall that will interest all of them? Will they really care that Pat is going to watch the Cavs tonight?

My family said I should be a friend to CAP (Computers Assisting People), an organization I volunteer for. Dear God, if the old computers reject me I think I'll climb that wall and shout out something my family has warned me about. Pat is……!

To my thirteen friends I am sorry that I am boring you to death. I hope I am a better friend in real life.

My son says there are other social network sites like LinkedIn (mostly business) and something called Twitter. He tells me I should tweet on Twitter. Tweets are messages you are supposed to send that are 140 characters or less. I can't even get started in less than 140 words, let alone characters.

I think they are enjoying my stress. They laugh when I cry.

Today someone I don't even know asked to be my friend. Why? There has to be something I'm missing. Yes, I know about networking and such, but still!

Why are some people so at home on Facebook and I am so uncomfortable? I want to be involved.

Please if you understand it explain it to me. Maybe we could be friends - but I'm not doing the asking!

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