(This is part 1 of a 3 part series on Friendship.) Does anyone else feel like they’re failing at friendship?
Do you know why I think I’m failing at friendship? Social media. It has made friendship SO much easier but also SO much harder.
- You can retain all the friends – Remember that jerk Kimmy from high school that you swore you would never look, think or talk about again? Or that kid you met in summer drama camp who you only befriended because your options were limited? Well now, it ain’t so easy to shake these people out of your life. Unless you have good boundaries between social media and actual life. I do not. So instead, I’m/you’re still talking and checking in with Brenda even though it was only one damn summer and not even the cosmos of friendship expected communication to continue this long with Brenda.
- Every time you look, you see another friend you’re neglecting – I’m currently in what I like to call the “Under The Radar” phase of friendship where I love my people, but I just have too much going on to socialize. But you see their happy shiny faces on the inter-connection-device and you remember that they tell the best in-person stories and you never did hear how their bowel transplant went so maybe you should stop radaring this one and connect in the really real world. Because if not, you might suffer from the…
- “I know you’re in there!” – This is the equivalent of a nosy neighbour, peaking through your front door curtains, spying for your shadow because you didn’t answer the door. Your friend Tom KNOWS you saw his message. That damn avatar says so. If you don’t respond within the next 24 hrs, you’re basically the Queen of Jerks – Friendship Division.
- One conversation – now best friends – Seriously. I only sold you a bike via Kijiji. I’m truly sorry if you’re lonely and just looking for a pal, but that one joke we shared, “Man. I don’t know if that will fit in your trunk,” was not flirting or an invitation to be-friend me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all the other social media platforms I am ill equipped to manage. We transactioned. It’s just transactioning.
- There is no grey area. The grey area is gone. We’re all BFF’s – We speak at hockey practice, swimming lessons, the grocery story line and the pick-up section at school. Does that really make us friends? Why does social media not just have a site for acquaintances? A safe space that expresses “I do like you as a person, and have no desire to hurt your feelings. I just don’t want to speak, interact or think about you on the regular. Let’s solidify this relationship on the social media platform called ‘Not Friends For Real’. Cool?” Can someone please make this?
Where am I going with all this jibbamajam? While the lines of communication have become easier and smoother to keep up friendships, I think the quantity of people, friend or otherwise, we feel is “in” our life has grown exponentially. I simply do not think that humans were meant to juggle that many relationships at once.
Or maybe I’m just too nice.
Next week: Quitter and I argue about the proper number of friends any one person should have, in reality and virtually, and why.