Ann Cannon: Breaking up — with Facebook — is hard to do

First Published      Last Updated Jul 21 2015 08:50 pm

Dear Facebook,

How did it all come to this?

You know what I'm talking about. THIS. Me, clicking onto a Buzzfeed quiz ("Which Disney Princess Are You?") that a friend posted on her Facebook wall. So instead of writing a column right now—which I am supposed to be doing—I am answering questions about what my enemies envy about me and which talking animal I prefer.

Wait. WHAT?!

Why am I even doing this? It's not like I'm into Disney princesses. I'm not into any princesses, actually, although I will confess that like many women of my generation I had a girl crush on Princess Diana. My mother didn't understand my interest in Diana at all. No, she said. When it came to princesses, she'd totally vote for Grace Kelly. Grace Kelly was her generation's girl crush just like Kate Middleton is this generation's girl crush.

Anyway. Whatever. The point is I'm way too busy to be taking online Disney princesses quizzes, and also I'm too old. (But in case you're interested, my inner Disney princess is Mulan, which according to Buzzfeed means I am "outgoing" and "vivacious" and also I know a lot of sweet martial arts moves. Obv.)

So, OK, Facebook. We have a problematic relationship. In fact, it's complicated. You make it just so easy to waste time — to go down this rabbit hole and that rabbit hole and then another rabbit hole after that. It always starts up between us the same way, too. There I am, sitting at the computer, trying to get some work done, which is hard. Because you know how it is. Work is hard. That's when YOU show up like a bad boyfriend.

"Hey," you say, "why don't you take a little break? Breaks are good for you. I only want five minutes of your time. And then you can get back to work. I promise." So then I say, "OK. Five minutes. That's it!"

But somehow five minutes turns into 20. Or 30. Or 40. And meanwhile I haven't written a column. Or done anything else I'm supposed to do.

Here's the ironic thing, Facebook. I never meant for us to be in a relationship. I only became involved with you because I wanted to spy on my kids when they were teenagers —and even embarrass them occasionally, because what could be more fun than moms showing up on their teenagers' Facebook walls?

But then something unexpected happened. I started having a good time with you, looking at everybody's photos and reading everybody's opinions and clicking onto everybody's links until it's come to this: me taking quizzes about Disney princesses.

Clearly, something needs to change.

So. What happens next? Some of my friends have quit you completely. They kicked you to the curb and never even looked at you once in their rearview mirror. I'll admit that such an all-or-nothing approach seems like a good idea sometimes. I keep thinking about all the other things I'd do if I didn't spend time with you.

But the truth is I would miss certain things about you — like pictures of my granddaughter in Texas or updates on what Melissa in Arkansas is reading or news from Kari in England.

So here's what I propose. Let's break up but still be friends. OK? I'll check in on you occasionally to see how things are going and leave it at that. For a while at least. Meanwhile, thanks for understanding.