Social Media Has Drastically Changed the Face and Meaning of Friendship

I don’t believe the current generation  understands what friendship really means, partly because of their attachment to their phones, computers and gaming devices.  Part of the blame is squarely  on the shoulders of the culture they are living in. Part is also due to parenting, in my opinion. Instant gratification is an element  of the problem as well.  I think they have never felt what old fashion friendship feels like or how those friendships developed.  There is a big difference between an acquaintance and a friend.  I wish Facebook called their “friending process”  something else.  Their view of a “friend” is far different from mine.  How many have hundreds of “friends” but can’t remember anything about who they are or even why they accepted their request.People looking at phones

True friendships don’t happen over night.  An attraction can instantly be sparked, then the seed is planted for a possible friendship.  Trust is the basis for a long-term and lasting friendship, and that takes time and effort.

Real friendships have some common elements.  Trust is the biggest component, but understanding boundaries and the needs for both parties to be respectful comes in as a strong second. Then quality vs  quantity plays a role.  Everyone we  like can’t be a close friend.  That is unrealistic. Some friendships occasionally have toxic elements,  so a little dose of  boundaries comes in very handy until the friendship is changed or mended.  Lopsided friendships can spring up, but can often be repaired when the problem is recognized by both and their bond is worth saving.

Social media  waters down communications terribly.  Words can come across differently over a text compared to a face to face conversation.  Friendship is a staple in a good marriage.  What if the couple only communicated by text or email?  Horrifying.

There is probably not room for a huge number of close friends for anyone.   Friends and relationships  are often fluid because of circumstances.  I have moved thirteen times and lived in three states.  Every move I made was difficult in maintaining my friendships, and new ones had to be foraged.  Social media would have helped me maintain friendships, but being hundreds and thousands of miles apart changes the fabric of relationshipsphone and families

Then there are motives for friendships.  I had an acquaintance that I wanted to be friends with.  Turned out she only wanted my friendship to further her business.  She was a fabulous artist and was warm and friendly, but I only heard from her when she was having a sale of her special gems. And when I called her to plan an outing she was always too busy.  I wasn’t offended when I figured out that our friendship was not ment to be.  She only had so much time and had all of the friends she could handle.

After a fifty year high school reunion  in Texas, which I was not able to attend, I reconnected with some of my classmates and spent  months exchanging emails with some past friends.  I still follow two of them on Facebook. Social media enabled that to happen.

The instant gratification that smart phones provide is not a good thing in my view.  I remember we had one phone at home when I was growing up in the fifties. If we needed to talk to someone we were not destroyed by having to wait until we got home to telephone them. It taught us patience. This, ” I gotta have it now”, is a form of childishness and immaturity to say the least.

Some people have died walking off cliffs while reading telephone messages.  One girl fell off a bolder while snapping a selfie and did not survive.  It is common for a room of friends to be texting each other when they are  a few feet away from each other.  Go to a restaurant and look at the people glued to their phones.  No meaningful sharing or conservation is happening between families. There are even laws to prohibit anyone from using their phones while driving, to no avail. Some councilors are even offering sessions via texting or emails because their clients are uncomfortable doing face to face visits.  This is sad.

One horrifying consequences of social media  involving “friendships” are the scammers who feed on  people’s trust.  These crooks  “friend” victims just to take money.    Some “fall in love” with strangers and are bilked out of money using social media and the promise of friendship.  The day time shows are full of these sad stories.

Smart phones have their place.  Kids use them for research in school, to keep in touch with parents when out and about.  They are valuable when their safety is an issue when they need assistance.  Keeping connected with friends and family is a great use for the Smart phones and social media.  But there is a heavy social price  when it comes to  daily heart to heart experiences.  When kids are growing up parents need to limit time on all devices and have meaningful experiences with them.  Nothing creative comes out of a kid staring at a gaming device or Smart phone.  Thinking becomes lazy, and the phones and computers become crutches.  Kids learn what they see so parents need to put their devices down as well. When they go out to dinner take only one phone for emergencies.  They need to stop trying to be their kids friends and step up to the plate and be parents.

This generation needs to step back and figure out how to learn to talk to each other and learn to debate and listen to many side of the issues affecting their future.  Learning to go beyond superficiality and figuring out what is going on beyond their phones in the world just might wake a few people up and help Make America Great Again.

About Martha (Marty) Dickson Patterson

Marty: Retired from sales and management near Seattle, Washington.
This entry was posted in Cause & Effect, Family, Friendship, Generation, Parenting, Snowflakes, Social Media and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Social Media Has Drastically Changed the Face and Meaning of Friendship

  1. Reblogged this on Sigrid's Blog * America Then and Now and commented:
    How true, Martha! I am trying my best to put politics out of the equation when with my liberal friends, one of which I love dearly and have known for almost 40 years. I am determined NOT to jeopardize this friendship and others less important. However, it is a bloody shame that America has become this. That is not what I found, when I became a proud American citizen in 1984. As far as generations are concerned: They are spoiled beyond believe. They have gadgets to interact with friends and foes, they have totally lost this interpersonal relationships and they have become a M,ME,ME society, that will not be able to sustain any great problems or tragedies in life. Us, the older generation, I was born during WWII, my father was already drafted and tied in Russia when I was 2 years old. My support was my mother, who was working 60 hours a week plus doing all the domestic work, but she gave me great start regardless, trusted me always and I did not abuse the trust. I became a better person who learned VALUES.


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