“Friends” (free write)

The word “friend” is thrown about far too often these days. “Facebook friends”. Please. Most of the people we “friend” are lying about something — and sometimes everything.
On Twitter, we have “followers”. As anyone who has had a real life stalker knows, having someone “follow” you can be rather creepy, if not downright scary.
But rather than it being a bad thing, people on Twitter actively seek out new followers. (#FF Fridays: Follow back these people.) On Facebook, we receive recommendations for “People You Might Know”, based on how many “friends” we’ve got in common.
If you look at my list of Facebook “friends” (700+), you might think I have a lot of “friends”. In reality, I have probably only met 10% of these people and the number I would consider actual “friends” is much smaller. I consider others “acquaintances”.
Yet there are bonds, however tenuous, between a lot of those “acquaintances”. Many have similar illnesses. Others are single parents.
My concern is for the generation(s) growing up believing that people on these social network sites are true friends. A true friend is someone you can count on to be there for you and one you would be there for. The ability to randomly block people on such sites gives one a feeling of power. When this seeps out into the real world, it can contribute to what I call “temporary friendships”. If there’s a problem, why work it out when you can write that person off?
I’m curious to see how this will affect divorce rates. I’m referring to people flirting over the internet and believing that because they get along so well online, they should dump the real person in their lives for the one online. When kids are involved, well, it makes things even more complicated.
When people sequester themselves in front of their computer, they often fail to interact with people in the real world. Thus making it more likely that if/when they meet that friend or follower in person, the real world relationship will fail.
(I’m thinking about a teenage couple who can text each other for hours, but have nothing to say when face-to-face.)
So I’ll sign off by confessing I’m a 67 yr old man with 3 wives and 21 kids. 😉


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