Two days… Is that the shortest friendship ever? No, actually it’s not, not even for me.
I’m talking about FB friends, just one type of cyber-friendship. Those wary of the Internet will tell you not to give away too much personal information to people you don’t really know. Those who are cyber-savvy will second that bit of advice. Over the years, most cyber-friends I’ve met have chimed in now and then, or simply read some of my posts without ever responding, while others have become good friends, best friends, even lovers.
That’s a story unto itself that begins before there was an Internet, back in the days of BBS’s. That’s where I met the man who became my husband. We were young and both members of the same BBS. The first time we chatted, I annoyed him. That’s wife material in the making! You see, he’d been playing an online game on the boards, and I wanted to chat with someone. Due to the old fashioned dial-up modems and smaller numbers of participants on BBS’s, there weren’t too many people online to chat with that afternoon, but I looked up his profile, and he sounded interesting, so I badgered him into leaving his game and coming to chat with me. No, it wasn’t love at first chat. It was, in fact, half a year later before we decided to go on a date and two weeks after that before we’d tell anyone else we were dating. Even then, my parents had taught me to be cautious. The first time my husband and I met in real life was at Pizza Hut where a group of members from that BBS decided to get together one afternoon for a (gasp) Face-to-Face meeting. It was fun and led to some great friendships.
Two days… On Saturday, a man I’d never met sent me a FB friend request. After an initial check of his page, I learned he is a fellow author who is “friends” with many of the same authors I know, at least online. I then double checked on Amazon and saw that his books are not my preferred genre, but that’s beside the point. To be clear, I accept a multitude of friend requests from other authors as well as fans. I’m willing to talk with a lot of different people about a lot of different topics. A few have creeped me out by sending some odd personal messages, while others raised red flags right from the start. This one fell somewhere in the middle.
His first message to me was a basic greeting followed by, “How’s the Windy City?” One small red flag went up, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt after I saw that he had visited my blog. I thought perhaps there was a chance I had mentioned Chicago in one of my blog posts. I know I’ve mentioned Wisconsin because I no longer live there, and I know I’ve mentioned wanting to live in Canada so I clearly do not live there. But this person did not reference either Wisconsin or Canada.
So with Spidey-senses tingling, I wrote back and asked him to explain himself. He told me he has an app on his blog that lets him know where his visitors come from. A much bigger red flag flew into the air, and this is why. His first message, the one about the Windy City, appeared before I visited his blog in response to seeing that he had visited mine. So, in just two days, I made a new “friend” and then “unfriended” him.
For the record, this S.L. Wallace does not live in Wisconsin, Canada or Chicago.