I asked strangers on my Facebook how I knew them

They were all really rude to me


This is the description that I was met with when I Googled “What is Facebook used for?”

‘Facebook is a social networking website that makes it easy for you to connect and share with your family and friends online.’ 

I first got Facebook when I was about thirteen. I wanted it because everyone else had it and that was the only reason. There was nothing on the website that I needed. I didn’t need to connect and share with my family and friends – I saw everyone I knew everyday.

Instead, I used Facebook as more of a game. I added everyone I saw and then added their friends. It was just something to do and more of an audience to beg likes from.

I was definitely what you would call a “Facebook wanker” and I’m not proud of it.

Anyway, when I grew up I began to realise that there is more to life than being a Facebook celebrity and stopped begging for likes – I decided to delete as many of these strangers as possible to get my profile back to something that was personal to me.

It recently came to my attention however, that my friends list still stands at 2,655 people – I’m not exactly sure how many it was back in my “Facebook wanker” days but it is extremely unsettling to think.

I definitely do not know anywhere near 2,655 people, so I decided to message some of them. I just wanted to find out if I have ever had any connection with these people or if they really were just complete strangers.

I came across Harriet. She was from my area and had studied at a school near me. I thought it’d be best to start close to home.

Me: Hi – I was going through my friends and I was wondering how I knew you?

Harriet: No idea, haha weird! Delete me.

Okay, thanks Harriet! Was great speaking to you. 

So it started off well, the first stranger I messaged had no clue who I was and obviously did not want to keep me on her list. I had gone in with complete confidence that everyone would just be friendly, but this had been shattered by Harriet.

At this point I was just going purely by profile picture trying to pick out the friendliest face.

I came across Charlie. He wasn’t from my area, but not far away – he looked about my age and I’d been scrolling too long to turn back now, so I dropped him a message.

Me: Hi – I was just going through my friends list and wondered how I knew you?

Charlie: I think I remember your name from somewhere, mutual friend? I’ve probably met 99% of my Facebook friends at some random person’s house party lol

Me: I recognise yours as well – have we met at a house party?

Charlie: Yeah I think we have… You’re not Chantelle’s cousin are you?

Me: I’m sorry, I don’t have any cousins named Chantelle.

Charlie: Hm

Me: Okay – quick guess, about four years ago did you go to some huge house party that got shut down by the kids mum after she threatened everyone with a baseball bat?

Charlie: OMG. I know who you are!!!!!

Me: How?!?! How do you know me?

Charlie: I met you at that exact party, we met as it was ending and we was all getting kicked out. I remember adding you afterwards because I was like ‘he’s the kid who was at the party’

Me: Can’t believe I actually guessed that.

Charlie: You really look like Chantelle’s cousin lol

Pretty sure this was taken before that party

This was amazing! Although I had no clue who Chantelle was, I was honestly shocked that we managed to figure out where we had met four years ago.It was one of those parties where over 2,000 people are invited – although it’s destined to be an absolute disaster, everyone always has a shred of hope that it will be the real life Project X.

Okay, I had a bit more confidence again – I did a large scroll down the list and messaged the first person my cursor landed on.

Me: Hi, I was just going through my friends list and I wondered how I knew you?

Jack: What?

Me: I was wondering how I knew you?

Jack: Is this a joke?

Me: No?

Jack: Okay Kurt

Me: I don’t understand? I was just wondering if and how I knew you?

Jack: You know how you knew me you freak

Me: …. I don’t think I do

Jack: Have you hit your head?

Me: Okay, how do I know you?

Jack: You’re weird as hell

Me: Can you just tell me! I honestly don’t know?

Jack: We went to school together ‘:/‘

Me: Oh my fuck. I am so sorry hahahaha

Jack: wow

I felt awkward – I completely disregarded that I had ever known this person and I’d spent a long four years in school with him. I’m pretty sure we spoke quite a lot in most of my classes.

The reason I couldn’t remember him was probably because I’ve learnt to suppress all memory of senior school. I was a prick back then.

This is how much of a prick I was

I figured I should probably start thinking a bit more before messaging these people. I scrolled through and found someone who wasn’t from my area. She looked friendly enough but I couldn’t work out how old she was. I dropped her a message.

Me: Hi, I was just going through my friends list and I wondered how I knew you?

Amber: You know you don’t know me

Me: If I knew that I wouldn’t have asked?

Amber: Looooooool

Me: So I don’t know you?

Amber: Obviously not, what are you trying to achieve

Me: I was just seeing if I knew some of the names I didn’t recognise on my friends list

Amber: Lol ok

I was beginning to feel a bit embarrassed – it felt like the girls I was messaging thought it was a way to slide into conversation. I have seen some bad conversation starters before, but I think “I was going through my friends list” might be up there with the most cringe.

Felt like I was becoming a bit of a keyboard warrior

I figured it wouldn’t hurt if I did one more: I did my usual large scroll and chose the first guy I saw. He looked strangely recognisable but he hadn’t got his location on show which was a bit strange – I dropped him a message.

Me: Hi, I was just going through my friends list and I wondered how I knew you?

Dan: Oh hi! We met at Reading 2015 after Foals secret set remember?

Me: As if! Why can I not remember this?

Dan: Who knows! We were all pretty drunk aha!

Me: What so we legit just met drunk and exchanged names hahaha?

Dan: Nah man I asked you for a lighter and we got chatting, then realised we’re both from Essex! Was a pretty weird coincidence aha!

Me: YES. I remember! That’s so sick. Are you going this year?

Dan: I think so yeah, we’ll have to meet up!

This was a delightful end to what has been quite a traumatic experience – I am happy that I could end on such a high note.

It just isn’t safe to have an intense conversation with everyone who asks you for a lighter, but ah well, anything goes at a festival. Dan seemed nice enough. I don’t know if I’ll be meeting him again this year though – I can’t remember him that well.

Reading 2015 – Foals secret set

That experience was horrific. I have definitely grown up. It might sound weird to some people but when I first added all these strangers I would have easily been able to message them and ask a question without feeling like a freak.

This was probably because I was 14 years old and didn’t understand how bloody weird and sad it was to try and make friends with a bunch of people over the internet.

How times have changed.