Can’t get enough over-analysis?

I’m going to assume you know about my neurotic tendency to over-analyze things. Rest assured that it doesn’t stop at text messages. As many readers commented on the texting article, any kind of communication that’s not face-to-face opens up the opportunity for misinterpretation. And I’m well aware. I planned to write this post before the texting one exploded, but I figured I had to wait a while, so it wouldn’t look like I was just trying to re-do that.

I LOVE this. So me.

I think the only form of technological communication I over-analyze more than texting is interactions on Facebook. Facebook presents the opportunity for so many more subtle, silent “body language” stand-ins, causing me, at least, to analyze my creeping to the max.

I’m guilty of contributing. I often have cryptic statuses, straight from the depths of my latest favorite obscure indie folk song. But I would never put up a cryptic lyric status unless it related in some way to what I was feeling that day, or my current life situation. There’s always a “hint hint” factor in hopes that whomever or whatever it’s directed toward over-analyzes.

Okay, so this one's not from an obscure song ("Flake" by Jack Johnson) but it's been a while since I had a cryptic status and this was the most recent.

If anyone ever gets the reference, though, they don’t tell me. I always make sure to say something if I sense an underlying reason for someone’s quoted status. Sometimes the person is like, “Wow, you got that? That’s totally what I meant!” But, most of the time, they either don’t respond (To me, that’s Facebook lingo for, “You’re totally over-analyzing, but I’m not enough of a jerk to call you out in front of the world of Facebook and make you look stupid”), or they call me out in front of the world of Facebook and make me look stupid.

This girl got called out. But she was totally asking for it.

On my inaugural creep of a new Facebook friend, if I find they have 400 profile pictures and 396 of them are MySpace-style self portraits in the mirror making the duck face, I judge. I don’t know if that’s entirely out of the ordinary — I think it’s safe to say most people will get the impression that user is pretty self-absorbed and really likes the way they look. Maybe that’s just general analysis.

Why? You're fooling no one. Your cheekbones don't look like that unless you're making that face all the time ... which I guess some people are.

While we’re on the topic of profile pictures, there’s always the “hidden meanings” in them, as well. If you’re in a relationship with someone, it’s not uncommon to set your profile picture as the two of you as a happy couple. But God help you the second you change it to a picture of, say, just yourself, or you and some friends. People will start wondering if maybe you’re mad at each other. Rumors will fly that you’re having relationship problems. Maybe one of you is cheating. It’s ridiculous, I know. But, believe me, I’ve seen it happen.

I try to limit my Facebook friends to people I actually interact with in real life (or used to and want to stay in touch with). But leave it to the one thing you don’t want that random acquaintance to see, and they’ll comment on it.

That always makes me wonder just how much of my personal stuff they’re actually creeping on. I like to imagine that only the people I have in mind when I post things see said posts but, of course, that’s not the case on Facebook. It’s times like those I wish Google+ would just catch on already, with their Circles. After worrying which things Random Acquaintance could have possibly seen in the past, I usually end up placing them on my no-no list in my privacy settings … for a little while, at least.

This was likely a hack, but if it wasn't ... Well, then I guess you're asking for it by posting it on Facebook.

Say it’s your birthday. (“It’s my birthday, too, yeah!“) Everyone and their mother will wish you a happy one on your Wall (literally). And if you have a close Facebook friend who doesn’t (which I would define as someone you know in person and interact with on Facebook a lot), it’s on.

See, your birthday is the one time of the year people will creep out of the shadows and post on your Wall. Even if I agree 100% with a post of someone I never talk to on Facebook, I’d feel like a creep if I commented on it. We’ve all got to admit, there are some people we’re friends with solely to “silently” creep on. But that inhibition dissolves on someone’s birthday, where you’re almost obligated to write on their Wall, or else you’ll look like a jerk. I admit, I still hold it against at least a certain person who I know purposefully didn’t acknowledge my Facebook birthday. It’s ridiculous, I know. But it’s like a virtual slap in the face.

I always try to avoid statuses asking if “anyone” wants to do something. (Although, I did, out of desperation, ask who was up for sushi last week because I was craving it and Chris isn’t a fan of the raw fish. It led nowhere. I never got my sushi.) These statuses are traps: Either no one will comment on it, making you feel like a loser who has no friends, or all those Random Acquaintances from before will comment on it, leaving you in an awkward situation.


The “liking” option is sometimes dangerous, too. “Liking” something is usually a way of saying, “I agree casually.” Unless you write something about how bad your day sucks and someone “likes” it with no explanation.  (A suitable explanation could be: “‘Liked’ only because I agree — Not because of your situation!”) Or unless it’s one of those “Bobby went from being “In a Relationship” to “Single” notifications. Those are always fun for attracting the wrong kind of attention. The only other acceptable case for a “mean like” is if you’re good enough friends with the “liker” that you know they’re just messing with you. An unexplained “like” on a depressing status is like kicking someone when they’re down, and is grounds for unfriending.

This is boyfriend Chris, so I know he's messing with me.

On the topic of “liking,” “liking” one’s own status is almost never okay. It says: “I don’t know how to use Facebook,” or, “I’m that much of a loser.” Exceptions, of course, apply in the case of intentional situational humor.

Acknowledged, rendering it situational humor.

Then, there’s the lingering friend request. You request to be someone’s friend, and they don’t accept or deny, but they just never confirm either way. This is a polite way of getting around things. You don’t want to feel mean and deny them, but you really don’t need them creeping on you. So you just let the request linger there in Friend Request Purgatory. I admit, I currently have over 20 of these — People I haven’t talked to since eighth grade who request to be friends with me, people I have never met in my life that come here for oilfield work and see I’m from North Dakota, and people I’ve unfriended because everything they post makes me want to vomit who just don’t get the hint and keep trying to re-friend me.

Straight from my page

I thought I was crazy with my over-analysis of texting, but with the responses I got, I know I can’t be alone here, too. Or maybe I can. Feel free to let me know if I just need to take an extra dose of my happy pills with this one.

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7 thoughts on “Can’t get enough over-analysis?

  1. Sorry for the triple post, but I totally just remembered another thing that is related to this. Why is it that people who either never talked to me in high school, or HATED me in high school will try to add me on Facebook? So confusing!

  2. P.S. Why I wasn’t following you yet, I have no idea. XD I think I was wanting to catch up on all your posts, but I know I’ll never have time for that! Will read a few here and there when I can, and am following now, so I’ll see your new ones! Yay!

  3. Yes, I totally agree!

    I really hate when people post super passive-aggressive Facebook statuses that are obviously directed at someone, or that are complaining about how much their life sucks. I think we all do it at least once, but I have some Facebook “friends” who do it on almost every update.

    Or when people post really personal stuff that they obviously don’t want you to know or to comment on. Why post it then?

    I do the lingering friend request a lot. >_> I have a hard time denying them because I’m such a bad decision maker that I always think, “What if I decide I do want to be friends with them, but I’ve already declined it?” I’m not good at declining them, but I also don’t want to be friends with everyone on the planet. haha

  4. hey, you surely are quite analytical 😉
    but really nice post, read it completely, and agreed with every word of it 🙂

    keep writing, want to read more of your analysis
    mohit

  5. A suitable explanaion could be: “‘Liked’ only because I agree — Not because of your situation!”

    Typo alert!

    Anyway, the other day I accepted a bloke who got expelled from my school, who used to bully me – just to see through his statuses how unsuccessful and fail he was. Mission Accomplished? Yes. He is entertaining.

    My aunt made me accept her while she was standing behind me. So did her daughter. Sort of stuck with them now…

  6. “A friend request? I didn’t get a friend request. Resend it or something…” Heheh. Also: it’s annoying when you want to shout your happy news on Facebook but can’t because it’s going to offend certain Facebook friends. Extreme Awkwardness ensues if you add your boss or teachers (yeah, capital A).

  7. haha another great post! you defining the mean like is hilarious! my thing with facebook is that if i wouldn’t approach the person and say hi if i saw them in public, then they get deleted during my annual facebook cleanup. only exception is, if they are extremely entertaining to follow… but it’s gotta be good, lol. so the people i met once at a party in college in like 2005, and never saw again are no longer my fb friends. As for the birthday thing, I use to but now i dont feel as bad because i only check facebook on my iphone these days, and the app doesn’t tell me who’s birthday it is. And finally… I have the longest ignored friend request list ever! i just feel bad, but dont want my old MBA professors to be up to date on all of my day to day statuses on important things like the Bachelorette! i might have to create a new privacy category for them… Google + style.

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