Facebook AA: addiction and attachment


The addictive Book of Face (and Ego) is creating new psychological minefields, dilemmas and, quite possibly, dysfunctional attachments to people and places.

The Book of Face's logo

The Book of Face's logo

In one week, I had two people use Facebook as a symbolic gesture that they did not want me to be apart of their cyberworlds anymore for whatever reasons.

The deletion of me, a “friend”.

The deletions made me consider the definition of friendship and how Facebook is changing that definition.

Friendship on Facebook is categorised into two distinct groups: the friend (accept) and the non-friend (ignore or delete). In the real world, there many scales of friendship. Relationships are never static. They waver — sometimes two people are close, sometimes they are distant.

I actually considered the deletees to be flesh-and-blood friends. True, at times, there were tensions. Nevertheless, when people are befriending people online they barely know, I was put into their non-friend category.

It made me question my attachment to people and, subsequently, my psychological attachments to places.

Here are my scattered thoughts.

Attachment to people:

My Facebook friends list includes people from primary school, high school, clubs and people I met while overseas, people I would, in reality, have grown apart from. But I now I roughly know, or can know, the goings-on of their day-to-day lives.

Attachment to communities:

Do I really need to know what is happening in the lives of people I will never see in the physical world again? Today, virtually my entire high school year is connected through Facebook — an attachment to a community that ended eight years ago with graduation.

Attachment to places:

Being in another country, Facebook has become a useful to stay in touch with close friends back home and a way of finding out what events are going on in my new hood. But this means psychologically I have never left home. In the physical world, I ride on the back of ojeks and eat tempe, yet in the cyber-world I am still at home, chatting to my close circle about relationship problems and checking out the photos of the parties I have missed.

And yet, I am still addicted.


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5 Responses to “Facebook AA: addiction and attachment”

  1. georgedarroch Says:

    I’ve had the same experience. Living in another country, connected in a myriad of ways through the internet, it can feel like you’re living in two places simultaneously, and still dabbling in the lives of people you will never see more than a few times ever again.

    It could just be that they’ve deleted everybody they don’t have a strong relationship with. I’ve done that a while ago, but now I’m just happy to let people be there, and only communicate as much as I want to.

    And what of the dozens of friends who’ve left, or returned to their home countries, spread across the world? That is hard, because you would still be friends if you were in the same country, but there is no obvious moment when the connection fades…

    Ah, the multiplicity of identities we have to negotiate in this post-modern world!

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