Well, it's really not just been "lately" as it's been going on for a while - pretty much ever since I got hooked up to Facebook. I fully admit that I am fairly selective about who becomes my online "friend."
For one thing, I refuse to become online "friends" with anyone I work with. If they leave the company, sure. If they want to connect with me via online business-networking sites, maybe. But if we are currently working together, no. There are simply some lines I don't want to cross.
I don't necessarily need people I work with to see photos I post of family events. I don't need them to know what TV shows I watch. And I certainly don't need them to read my "personal" (in quotation marks since we all know that anything online stops being truly personal) comments about life and/or work.
But there are other people in my life who also don't show up in my Facebook feed. These, for the most part fall into two groups: People I've only met once and really haven't spent enough time with to know whether or not we might be friendly offline; and people whom I've met more than once and have never considered to be friends of mine in the offline realm. Unfortunately, this has - over time - resulted in a number of contact requests being left un-dealt-with, which keep popping up as "reply to this request" notices in the margins.
For the most part, though, I'm okay with this. If I know - at the time of the request - that we have nothing in common and would never spend time together over dinner (whether we've only just met or have known each other for decades), I simply don't feel obliged to say "want to be my friend?" to the person - or to reply "gee, I'd love to" when asked.
The trouble (of sorts) comes in when people who seem to know a ton of my/our friends show up and say that they want to connect. There's that weird gray area of "Did we meet at a party? Were we introduced 5 times, and I just don't remember?" mixed with "I'm pretty sure you don't know me, but it might be rude if I don't reply." But, with more sophisticated spam out in the world, it's becoming harder and harder to know for sure.
Oddly enough - for me, at least - it's causing me to throttle back the big, wide Internet and narrow my window. Making sure that my "friends" are truly my friends. Which, when you come right down to it, probably isn't a bad thing. It's just a thing.
To make this less of an odd downer of a post, I decided to include the following video by Garfunkel and Oates. I debated between this one and another one, but this one seems to work best, here. Enjoy. (Though you may want to send any kids out of earshot, since it's wonderful, but does include some adult language.)