This week I turned 35. About 150 people I have never met and have never talked to, but who added me on Facebook for some reason (it can’t have been for connecting since they never talk to me and rarely if ever comment on anything I share) wished me a happy birthday. Even though I don’t know them and they don’t know me, I appreciated the gesture.

Equally weird is that more than half of the people I consider to be close family or good friends did not take the time to say anything.

Is this because they assume I don’t really care about these things anyway? Possible, in some cases.

Is it because they’ve moved on?

I think they’re just too busy and don’t really care about birthdays, which is fine, though I think it’s a nice, kind tradition.

It made me wonder though, why do I have 4,000 Facebook ‘friends’? I think there must be about 3,000 people there whom I’ve never met, have never interacted with. I’ve never even visited their profile and I suspect they never visit my profile either.

It started about a year ago. I started adding people who had at least ten friends in common. Then I added people who had twenty friends in common. What we had in common was that we were all fans of a show called London Real, hosted by Brian Rose. A show I’ve stopped watching.

Soon I got tired of adding random people as it made my newsfeed practically useless, I didn’t see posts by ‘real’ friends anymore.

But then the reverse happened, other people stared adding me, and unless I though they were totally fake prostitute profiles I always accepted. This made my ‘friends’ total go from about 800 people to over 4,000. This doesn’t take into account the hundreds that unfriended me later. Without ever exchanging a word.

Have we started collecting friends like we used to collect baseball cards?

Oh, funny thing, of the thousands of people that either randomly added me or that were randomly added by me, about three people became something like friends, albeit purely digitally.

Humanity never ceases to fascinate me.