Friends or Nah?
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Politics and Activism

Friends or Nah?

Are Facebook friends and Instagram followers really that important?

Friends or Nah?

I was recently removed from someone’s Facebook friend list by a friend I used to be very, very close to, someone I never thought I would grow apart from. Yet, we did. Not necessarily by choice but because our lives pulled us in two different directions. We didn’t talk often but that doesn’t mean I didn’t value her any less or wouldn’t have done anything to help her if she needed me. One night, when I went to go tag her in something on Facebook and couldn’t pull up her name to tag her, I got suspicious. So, I went to her profile and whoop there it was, that button, “Add friend.”

Suddenly, it made sense why I hadn’t seen her name pop up on my feed in a while. Then, for some reason, I got upset knowing I’d lost that connection and friendship with someone I value so much. In a way, it felt like I’d lost her completely as a friend. I suppose that’s how she may see it, I’ll probably never know. The worst part of it was not knowing what I’d done to get myself removed like that. I clicked the button to try to add her back but have yet to get an acceptance notification after a couple of weeks. Knowing said friend, I doubt I’ll get one. And yes, it does bother me, more than it should for something that means so little in the long run.

No matter how much I tell myself a social media “friendship” doesn’t hold much value, it bothered me for a while and it still does on occasion. But the situation made me really contemplate the value we place on social media “friendships,” even the friends we’re not really real-life friends with. Once you look up from your phone, you realize that being someone’s friend on Facebook and having them as a follower on Instagram and/or Snapchat means very little in real life.

Social media is great for keeping up with friends that you don’t get to see often, as well as those family members who don’t want to miss a thing. But as a society, we place too much value on those connections we have through social media, especially younger generations. What really matters are the people you have by your side in the real world, not the virtual one; no social media platform in the world can replicate the bond friends share or give you the same type of memories a night on the town with your closest friends will. Likewise, a conversation via text will never carry the same significance being able to hear someone’s voice through either a phone call or in person will. This is just another testament to the way social media is changing social interactions in a not so positive way.

The fact of the matter is, we’re all guilty of wanting to be friends with that cool person on Facebook and trying to keep up with everyone’s hourly activities; we’ve all done it more than once, probably several times. Your phone lights up notifying you that “so and so” accepted your friend or follow request, making you feel a little bit cooler and more loved than you had before. If you’re like the average person, a little digital stalking of several of those people happened not long after. Then you probably felt like you knew them a little bit better, even though you just met them, may have only had one or two conversations with said person, and aren’t sure when or if you’ll see that person again. Once your request is accepted, it’s just getting a notification that so and so liked your picture or status or viewed your Snapchat story that makes you feel like you mean something to that person.

Strange, isn’t it?

What’s even more strange is the value we place on calling someone a Facebook friend or follower on Snapchat or Instagram. Sometimes, we don’t consider a friendship legitimate if the two friends aren’t connected on every social media platform that exists; until we have that ongoing connection where we can follow a friend’s every post, we don’t consider ourselves true friends. Then we get anxious when a friend doesn’t like or comment on a status or picture we post. Heaven forbid somebody remove you or block you. That only ensures World War III will follow. We value likes, witty captions, banter within comments, and this ongoing connection to the outside world more than we value spending time with a friend.

What happened to treasuring a friend’s character, our daily interactions with them, and the bond between the two of you more than a social media connection?

Having a friend you can tell everything to, who will stick by your side in the zombie apocalypse, knows exactly how to counteract a bad day, can read you like a book, finish your sentences, and would go to the ends of the earth for you is entirely more important than approval of a Facebook status or a Snapchat. Being able to hang out with said friend, laugh for hours on end, and act like the crazy people you really are is where your memories will come from, not a funny comment on a picture.

Likewise, scrolling through your news feeds when you’re out with a friend isn’t how you’ll make memories; instead, put the phone down and enjoy their company like true friends would do. They're the ones you should value anyway.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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