Defining Friendships Today

Here I go again, blogging about friendships. I promise I’m not here this time to have a moan, and I will try to keep things somewhat positive. I just want to have a discussion. As I think a lot of young adults do, I contemplate the state of my friendships. I have some friends I see fairly often in person because we live near each other. I have some friends I don’t live near but we still communicate fairly regularly. I have some friends I don’t really talk to that often, but I’d be game to hang out any time, though I’m aware of the fact that for some, we never will and eventually the friendship will end. I have some friends I only know through the internet. And then I have some acquaintances.

For me personally, I separate friends from acquaintances/strangers/people I know of based on a mutual voluntary willingness to interact on one’s own time. When I was in university and on the Quidditch team, I one day said something during a conversation at practice like, “oh, I don’t have many friends” and then someone pointed out, “well there’s like fifteen of us here; what are we?” I replied that they were mostly acquaintances. No one was on the team because they personally liked me. They were there because they wanted to play Quidditch and would be doing so regardless of if I was there or not. Showing up to the same practices I do does not count as friendship to me if I never interacted with them outside of those few hours of structure and we never were particularily close while there anyway. I got razzed for this belief for the rest of the year, but I do stand by it (though I probably shouldn’t have said it).

i said what i said gif.

In the blogosphere, I often see tweets asking “Are we Instagram friends yet?” accompanied by a link to the person’s Insta account, and that lowkey bothers me. I’m not hating on anyone who does this, but I personally don’t think that following someone on Instagram counts as friendship, and even throwing out the option of that is ridiculous because it’s so unlikely. There are more genuine ways to garner followers, I think, than pretending you’re building meaningful relationships. Because to me, that’s what a friend is: a meaningful relationship.

Everybody wants friends and everybody likes friends, but friendship and how we approach it has changed a lot in the past few years. Because of social media, it’s easier to keep up with people far away, but is liking a post enough to maintain friendships? Sometimes I’ll see a tweet like “I don’t care if we haven’t talked in a year, you can call me and we’ll be the exact same as we were, I love friendships like that!” Is this sentiment true for you, because I don’t know how I’d react if some person I haven’t talked to in a year for no reason showed up and tried to pretend nothing changed.

It’s interesting that the media puts so much emphasis on having one close friend group. From Friends to The Bold Type to even Supergirl, Blindspot, and The Big Bang Theory, these ‘squads’ of close, family-like friends are seen as the ultimate goal of life. Find your tribe, and all that, which is great, but I think most people don’t have that. Most people have friends from various points of their in life. But shows like Friends rarely show other friends who are just as loved but not living in the same city or part of the squad or whatever.

FRIENDS.

Though interestingly enough, the people these shows are targetting seem to have neither. There are a bunch of articles stating that though Millenials/Gen-Z are the most connected, we’re also the loneliest. Is this because the friend focus is being put on the wrong people? Or because we’re content with a just few Likes? Or because we’re too poor to actually go hang out with friends? Or because we don’t know how to talk to people?

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t thrive in a lot of social settings. I sometimes have trouble talking to new people and I do fear that I’ll never make more close friends because everyone knows that making friends as an adult is hard. That’s why I’m even more grateful for the friends I do have now. I’m so glad we voluntarily interact and lift each other up and laugh together.

As much as we’d all like a squad of our own, it’s more important to cherish the friends you have and ensure that those relationships are as strong and healthy as you want them to be, even if they’re not Instagram-perfect. Don’t be fooled into thinking follower count = friend count, unless you choose to define it that way and are content with that.

squad goals gif.
The Squirtle Squad is the only valid squad

How do you define friendship and what do you think about the media’s portrayal of friendships?

 

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8 thoughts on “Defining Friendships Today

  1. Can’t smash this like button hard enough! I so feel you. I do think how you define friends depends on your personality; I knew people in college who were more like your Quidditch teammates in that they called everyone they politely interacted with friends, so I guess it’s a perspective thing. But I resonate much more with yours. (And I also think adulthood friends who might not be as close as childhood friends are just as important.)

    • I think it’s great that there are people who see everyone as friends. I think that attitude makes it easier to get closer to people! But are all those friends going to wish you a happy birthday or be there when you need help? If people are okay with that answer, then good for them!
      Newer adult friends are so important, yes! And they’re also perhaps more interesting because you didn’t grow up in the exact same life so you have so many stories to swap.

  2. I am a millennial, who does not mind just having only a few friends. For me, it is hard to find friends who share common interests so it can be hard to make new friends. I am not a typical millennial: to love the classic books; to love musical theatre the most instead of rap/hip-hop/pop: that is what millennials seem to love the most; and with not liking some of the same series/genres of movies. So- that can be difficult. I believe friends are important at any age.

    I am not lonely at all as a matter of fact: I have found a young-adult group called Club Blume just last year who loves musicals. So I am trying to find people in my city who shares that interest. It does allow you to go to informances about the Season Shows and can give you an discount on each of those shows- you do go to a pre-show party before each show.

    • It’s great that you’re happy with your social situation. I can relate that sometimes I feel like no one around me shares my interests, but there are people out there who do, and finding them can be hard, but it’s worth it. It’s cool you found that group!

  3. My school bade my friends and me farewell today. And, what a hard day it was to not cry and be rock solid. If I open a social media account, perhaps I can reach out to everyone but I am certainly sure that there won’t be a speck of friendship. What’s harder is accepting changed friends in the later parts of life. But then, life goes on

    • Yes, I even still struggle with the fact that friends have changed right before my eyes. That’s life and as you said, it does go on. There are other ways to keep in touch without social media, though, so don’t close yourself off to the possibility of maintaining anything with your school friends unless you genuinely want to start fresh socially (and that’s valid too!).

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