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Friendships May 9, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, People.
30 comments

I read an article by Julie Beck in The Atlantic this weekend that got me thinking:

How Friendships Change Over Time.

The author addressed how our childhood friendships evolve as we head off to college, graduate, get married, have kids, start work, move across the country, care for parents, etc.

Increased responsibilities and demands on our time coupled with the lack of contiguity often mean that friendships, even longstanding friendships, fade.

We no longer see our companions on a daily basis to hang out, listen to records, play Frisbee, pop popcorn, and chat about anything and everything.

Instead, we make plans to get together . . . in two weeks time.

Friendships, like ships, diverge as we chart our life course.

Years ago, we “stayed in touch” with our compadres with annual missives at Yuletide which recounted the highlights (or low lights) of the year.  Now, with the advent of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, we are able keep tabs on each other year round . . . without ever really connecting:

If you never see your friends in person, you’re not really sharing experiences so much as just keeping each other updated on your separate lives. It becomes a relationship based on storytelling rather than shared living—not bad, just not the same.

Via social media, we give our followers a “heads up” on the happenings in our life and they give us a “thumbs up” to acknowledge that they saw what we said.

But is that enough to maintain ties?

Probably not.

Friendships based solely on storytelling aren’t apt to have the same depth and dimension as those based on getting together on a regular basis to do something . . . together.

“If we only have the Facebook tie, that’s probably a friendship that’s in greater jeopardy of not surviving into the future,” Ledbetter says.

* * *

Social media makes it possible to maintain more friendships, but more shallowly. And it can also keep relationships on life support that would (and maybe should) otherwise have died out.

Oh, for the days when we “hung out” with our friends every day.

Not in chat rooms, but in person.

Without having to “tidy up” first.

Aah . . . that’s better!