Well, the good news is that I have my internet back (finally). The bad news is that I had to talk to Verizon for just under three hours last night to fix it. Understandably, my brain is still nonfunctional this morning. But I’m trudging on… back to the blog.
A bit of a deeper topic today – I need to pontificate a bit before I get lighthearted on this theme. Set up the scene, if you will… I’m going to devote the next 2-3 posts on the idea of friendship.
To me, calling everyone in my life my “friend” diminishes the whole concept of what a friendship entails. I have always differentiated my friends from acquaintances. An acquaintance, to me, is a person that I enjoy talking to and/or hanging out with, but we never scratch below the surface. We’re as deep as a puddle… We may get into deep conversations at times, but it isn’t a regular part of our conversation. We hang out to have fun. Period.
A friend, however, is someone that I feel has my back. We may have started out as acquaintances, but our relationship has grown into mutual trust and companionship. We understand each other. I not only laugh with you, but we whine and moan about life together as well. I seek counsel and advice from you and vice versa. If we are separated by distance and/or schedules, we always start back up from where we left off when we communicate again.
In other words, you actually KNOW me… and in spite of that fact, you still like me.
In life, you connect with some people more than others. Some people become friends within two minutes of meeting each other; other friendships take years to evolve. It’s how the cookie crumbles.
Some people become insulted when I express my views on this topic, but truly, I do not mean to do so. It’s how “I” define friendship… I do not own the rights to Merriam-Webster, so everyone else is free to define friendship as they will. In any case, not every friendship is cookie-cutter – even within friendships, there are differing levels of intimacy based on the relationship with each individual. And I know that not everyone in my social circle considers me their “friend” either. Acquaintanceships can progress into friendship and vice versa. There are no hard and fast rules here.
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Social Media has definitely cramped the idea of friendship, eh? Let’s face it: Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and even email… while it has connected us to people that we wouldn’t have had contact with otherwise… has also eroded the idea of what it is to be a “friend.” Everybody you “friend” on Facebook is your “friend.” People that I’ve only met once are apparently my “friends.” I suddenly have more “friends” than I know what to do with at times.
I don’t like that “Big Brother” has appropriated the definition of friendship.
But not all of the blame should be shouldered by the technology. Even with my true friends, electronic media has made it easier for us to be lazy. Face-to-face conversations have been taken over by email, texting and status updates. And it’s scaring me that at times, I prefer converted algorithms to actually, you know… talking to people.
As a society, we are quickly squandering the concept and finesse of friendships as our relationships become more shallow. We are more lonely. And for many, they are forgetting (or never learning) how to develop true friendships in the first place. So we hide behind our internet connections.
And this is not a good thing.
More levity tomorrow.