Why friendship doesn’t feel like it did ten years ago

Why friendship doesn’t feel like it did ten years ago

I see my friends as investments.

I don’t like to give them up easily, nor do I like it if they give up on me easily. I have been known to shed the ocassional tear when I lose friends, but thankfully that doesn’t happen too often. You may call me a bit on the obsessive side, but I call that deep respect for knowing what I truly have. I pick my friends for a reason, sometimes they wander into my life, other times I’ll have picked them. But for whatever the case may be I want them in there for a lifetime.

We seem to have wattered down the whole friendship experience in 2017. You can make friends at the click of a button, and lose them just as quick. I know, I’ve experienced it all before. I think we’ve forgotten, or find it hard to grasp what it’s like to walk up to a friends house, churning over and over in your head what you’re going to say to them and why you’ve come to the conclusion that you don’t want to be friends with them anymore, that you don’t want to be involved in their life at all. Nope, you just delete and block, and that’s complete social etiquette for “I don’t want to see you anywhere” no more explanation needed. And yet, similarly we can decide that we like the look of someone and hit the friend request button. People, determining their entire life story on who they interact with on Facebook. It just, it feels so emotionally numbing.

There’s no body language, there’s no voice tone, just damn words on a screen. No more intense arguing with your now ex-friend that they were a total cunt anyway and that you’re glad they’re leaving, no more long pastinkingly trivial building up the foundations of friendships anymore. I always played the long game, I don’t know about you, but I only determined a friend as a friend when we had built a significant foundation and spent a fair bit of bonding time. And now we click once and wallah! Instant friend! Woohooo.

Don’t get me wrong though, it’s been significantly good for those of us that struggle to make any friends. Those of us that struggle with language and social queues, or just those of us that struggle to be accepted anywhere. I’m all for that. But what we’re doing now is making the whole experience an instant gratification experience. And friendship certainly isn’t that. I’ve hung in groups before that people would ditch friends merely on others that they associated themselves with, just like that, at a drop of a hat. Boom, gone. I don’t know about you but that tells me these people don’t think much about themselves. All that time and effort they’ve spent working on their friendships, just to drop them like they’re hot.

I had a friend, who had known me since I was in my teens, delete me over Facebook because of an argument that we had. It sort of sucks to be me really, because all those moments we shared together, the experiences, the bonding, the helping, the sharing, just ditched at the drop of a hat. I struggle to come to terms with such behaviour. And I like to think of myself as worth more than that. I’ve also realised through deep reflection that the way one values their friends is a reflection on themselves. Because if all that personal time together, and the bonding, and the building clocked by them means nothing, then that is subliminally telling themselves that they, themselves mean nothing.

Rest assured this isn’t directly correlated to all friendships, I mean I’ve had to personally go out of my way to make sure some people could not ever contact me again, but those people were toxic, those friendships were short-lived, toxic people out themselves in surprisingly short times. I had a friend that I lived with once, in Scotland, that tried to turn all my other friends against me and suffocate my life options to mere nothing. Nah, not those types of friends. Because you don’t have them for long enough, and they have a surprisingly high rate of friend retention but never admit to being wrong.

We’re turning to a culture that favours instant gratification. It’s a case of I’ll have it now please or not at all. I try to influence my Son on his computer games that he can’t be a skilled gamer like me until he’s played for a few more years. I’ve been playing games since I was 7. That’s nearly 30 years. Like anything it takes time and effort to become good at anything. Time and effort to make anything worthwhile too. I didn’t just meet my partner and we lived happily ever after, it’s taken years of intense negotiations and heated compromises to get anywhere near the relationship we have now. And I say it’s the same for friendship. Friendship is a good thing to have, no, great thing to have. Please don’t mistake it for something you can get rid of easily.

And most of all don’t mistake it for something you can drop in and out of easily either.

I see a lot of posts on Facebook out there about,

“I may not talk to you much but I can pick up the phone and talk to you like it was yesterday”

To me that’s a cop out. What were you doing that was so busy that you couldn’t pick up the phone and say,

“Hi, we haven’t spoken for a wee while, how are ya?”

No-one is that busy. No-one. Not even the busiest person in the world. How do they keep in contact with their friends?

A friendship, like any other relationship needs nurturing. It’s an investment. It takes time, it takes bonding, it takes commitment. I fully expect to be arguing with the nurses at some random nursing home I’m in to be let out so I can see my friends that are still alive. I don’t want to see them as a commodity. They’re my friends.

Something Facebook promises you more of, but in the long term steals them away from you.

There’s no honour anymore, nothing is sacred. You can be bearing your soul to one friend whislt he jokes about it to his other friend at the same time. I’m not saying that’s a common thing but I have had it done to me before. Perhaps that’s my defense mechanism and whenever I have something important to say I take to my blog.

I feel there’s no two sides to this. Yes, it’s been great for connecting me with some wonderful people, because it has, but I feel I’ve lost more friends than I should have. I don’t feel connected like I used to. People are so close, yet far away, and incredibly happy, but false.

I dunno. Perhaps I just want to feel my friends again! Sit in a room with them and laugh and joke like I used to. Maybe I’m just married and too wrapped up in my own life to notice what’s actually going on out there. But to me, it just feels as if people are becoming more and more distant..

..until we only notice ourselves. No-one else. Wrapped up in an ever increasing world of falseness and distance.

Why friendship doesn’t feel like it did ten years ago

Why friendship doesn't feel like it did ten years ago

I’m a man that’s been through the pitfalls and elations of relationships in my ever growing quest to better my knowledge in the human condition. I’ve been in the game and around the Internet since 1996 and surprisingly I’m still using it today. I’ve definitely found myself in some weird and wonderful places and I hope to share all of this with you lucky people.

3 Comments
  1. Reply
    jeremy@thirstydaddy January 3, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    I worry about my teenager and her inability to make and keep close friends. I don’t see them much, they are spread out all over the country, but I still consider my earliest childhood friends my best ones.

    • Reply
      Raymond January 3, 2017 at 9:43 pm

      I wouldn’t worry about it too much. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life is that what works for me doesn’t necessarily work the same for my Son. For instance my Son doesn’t eat well, and I can’t understand that because I eat plenty, but just because I do, it doesn’t need to work that way for him. His sense of taste is off the charts. So what might taste good for me, might taste (and smell) like shit to him. On the topic of friends, my closest friend just lives a twenty minute drive from me, and he knew me from when he was 22, but he never hits up his old school mates. It’s just the way things are, but eventually people find their ground in the end. I’m sure she’ll be fine 🙂

  2. Reply
    Rachel A. Hanson January 4, 2017 at 2:08 am

    I have struggled with the notion of friendship throughout my life. We moved a lot when I was a kid, and in the days before social media it was a struggle to stay in touch. We could write letters, but what if our parents didn’t buy stamps? As an adult, I like having friends that I connect with through Facebook or Twitter. Especially as my friends and I are in the stage of life where we are raising our young families. I can see what’s happening with them, they can see what’s happening with me, but at the end of the day when it’s a debate between picking up the phone or going to bed and sleep wins we still have that connection and are supporting each other through the “likes” and the comments throughout the day.

    • Reply
      Raymond January 4, 2017 at 5:36 am

      Great take on it there. Yes, I can relate. As a young boy we were always moving. From pillar to post. I must have made at least three sets of friends before having to up and leave for the next. Unfortunately I lost contact with all of them – even the wonders of Facebook have yet to show me them again.

      But I definitely like your take on it. Facebook has a great way of connecting people, and for those of us that are busy in our own little worlds then it’s a great way of keeping in touch 🙂

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