I am one of those people who was FOMO before that was a thing. Like, early on in our marriage, Robbie and I would be driving down a street and we’d pass a house where there was clearly a party in progress.
“Just look at all those cars,” I’d say. “Slow down. Look at the lights in the windows…”
Robbie rarely looked. Or slowed down. He usually kept driving, while I craned my neck. And then, as the house slipped out of view, I would lean back in my seat.
“I wish we’d been invited.”
“Jodie,” Robbie would reply, drawing my name out the way you do when you are trying to explain something to a particularly low-wattage person, “We don’t know the people who live there.”
“I know,” I’d sigh. “But we could meet them. And I am pretty sure that they’d like us.”
I want to be liked.
Last week, for instance, I went to the grocery store, and the checkout gal was not very nice. I gave her my best “Hey there!” smile, but it was obvious that she did not want me in her line. The only thing she wanted was to scan my Klondike Bars and get me out of there.
“I bet you’re not gonna go back there anytime soon,” a friend laughed, when I told her about the experience.
“Are you kidding?” I countered. “I’m going back there tomorrow! I’m gonna get back in her line every day, until we are friends!”
All of this is to say that you would THINK I would have been the first person on Facebook, back when Mark Zuckerberg brought it out of his basement or whatever. Say what you will about the social behemoth; it is clearly a place to find friends. In fact, I did a video series about friendship a few years ago, and I found a website where you could even buy friends. For $200, you could get 1000 of them. Seriously. And these were real people—people who would actually follow you and post comments about your life.
(What’s not to love?)
You would think I’d be all about Facebook…but you would be wrong. Maybe it’s the idea of buying friends that was kind of a turn off. Maybe it’s the whole “look at me” thing. Maybe it’s that I’d read all these studies showing how people actually get depressed after looking at Facebook, since their friends are laughing and drinking and dancing in Paris or wherever, while they’re sitting home watching Netflix. As one of the founders of FOMO, I knew I’d be taking a risk.
Or maybe my Facebook aversion has more somber roots. Maybe it’s that I was brought up in a highly evangelical Christian home where we were warned, from our earliest years, to avoid “the mark of the beast.” Nobody ever explained what the mark actually was, but anything that had the power to lure billions of people and capture what felt like their every waking moment certainly, I thought, had potential. There was a reason they called it “The Web.”
(And when Robbie reads this blog he will tell me that Facebook is not the same thing as the Web. And I will say, “That’s what They want you to think.”)
Change happens. And in my case, change happened when the marketing team that HarperCollins hired to help promote my new book (Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children releases in just a few weeks!) discovered that I was not yet on Facebook.
“Jodie,” they said (again, speaking slowly), “You need an account. Facebook is where your readers are.”
“Yes. All of the demographics agree. Facebook is where the older women hang out.”
Ahhh, yes. The older women. My people.
And so, despite the potential for depression and my fear of the beast and all that, I jumped in. The marketing folks (who, if you need marketing folks, are actually amazing; you can find them at C. Grant and Company) designed a big, beautiful page and then set up my training.
(Seriously, y’all. I had Facebook training. Over the phone. And, about 20 minutes into the first session, Robbie—who was in the other room listening to me try to upload a photo, while the poor C. Grant person tried to coach me through the process—finally decided he couldn’t take it anymore. “Do I need to come in there?” he yelled, loud enough for the marketing lady to hear. #Marriage.)
I finally got the hang of it—at least enough to log in—and I put my account into the Facebook search bar: Jodie Berndt Writes.
And here’s what came up:
Can you imagine? It’s like the entire Internet was looking at me, saying: You have no friends.
Not knowing what else to do (I didn’t want to ask the marketing gal how I could find friends; there is only so much stupid one person can take), I did what all of the other old ladies do.
I reached out to my kids.
(You can’t like regular people? Lord, help us.)
I don’t really know what I am doing. But if you are already on Facebook, you probably do. And if so, will you like me? Or follow me? Or maybe even share my page with any geriatric people you know? I hope if you click here it will take you to the right page; here’s what it looks like:
I think the C. Grant folks did a great job. And honestly? I feel like I did when my Dad gave me that really nice tennis racquet for Christmas one year. He was a good tennis player, and that present made him so happy.
I wanted to be happy, too. I just needed to figure out how to use the darn thing. And I’ll figure Facebook out, too. It might take me awhile (tennis sure did), but I’ll get there.
And in the meantime, I will be going back to the grocery store, trying to find my cashier. I don’t care if she doesn’t like me. Because Jesus, the best friend a gal could ever hope to have, never said anything about “likes.” He talked about love, the kind that is patient, forgiving, and faithful. The kind that puts other folks first. The kind that would do anything – anything – to show someone how much she is loved.
So here’s the plan. I’m gonna load up on the Klondikes, put on my very best “Let’s be friends” face, and go show that lady who loves her.