The year was 2008. I was in Year 7 and had just returned from my family vacation in Europe. (I found myself, thanks for asking).
As I booted up Dad’s Dell computer and logged onto Myspace, I was eager to update my page. After all, it was definitely time to code a new layout and change my profile song from Janet Jackson’s “Feedback”.
However, as I was deciding which song to change it to (leaning towards “Crank That (Soulja Boy)”), I realised that the girl I’d been dating at the time had removed me from her ‘top friends’ list.
That’s how I found out we were over.
As tears rolled down my face, I hulk-smashed the play button for “No Air” (Jordin Sparks feat. Chris Brown), closed the study door and swore that I would never love again.
She would eventually put my best mate as her top friend – him doing the same – and that’s how I found out they were now dating.
Whoever says it was a simpler time a decade ago is forgetting about the absolute savagery that was Myspace’s ‘top friends’ function.
For those of you young seedlings who aren’t aware of Myspace’s ‘top friends’ function, it was a hierarchical display of your favourite people at any given moment, customisable to your heart’s content. It served as a visual reminder of those you currently liked, wanted to impress or were trying to bone – a function that literally helped to strengthen friendships and sprout relationships.
However, as stated by @showerthoughts on Reddit, “being removed from someone’s top friends list on MySpace hurt more than any breakup.” It could be used as a tool to spawn life-long enemies – a virtual playground for the petty, the hurt and the scorned.
me in 2007 after moving my friend from #1 to #2 on my MySpace top friends list pic.twitter.com/Ez8BORoRiH
— Erica ???? (@EricaPecore) February 25, 2019
The politics of having ‘top friends’ consumed my mind throughout school.
Would I display a top 40 – an indecisive move which would inevitably pit everyone against each other – or display a top 8 – an even bolder move resulting in obvious culls and bruised egos?
If you were number 2 on my profile, for example, it was absolutely imperative that I was number 2 (or higher) on yours. If you demoted me from number 3 to number 4, you best believe that I’d retaliate.
Sometimes when I’m really mad at someone, in my head I pretend that Myspace is still a thing and I move them down on my top friends list
— Rodd Farhadi (@RoddFarhadi) March 23, 2019
Some have brought up the argument that being added to the ‘close friends’ group on Instagram is the equivalent to Myspace’s ‘top friends’. Now this would be true if you could see who else the respective user had added in their ‘close friends’ group… and then if that user had ranked you all against each other in terms of closeness.
Doesn’t that send shivers down our insecure spines?
Now, when you’re going about your day and you’re feeling a little stressed, just think back to the time of ‘top friends’ and breathe a sigh of relief that you don’t exist in that vacuum of anguish anymore.
*’No Air’ plays softly in the background.*