Streaks Are How We Measure Friendship In The Age of Social Media

Streaks Are How We Measure Friendship In The Age of Social Media

It's okay to disconnect.
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We live in an ultra-connected world: between the speed of technology and the ever-present stream of content from social media, it is difficult to ever really be alone. Texting, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook—even email—are all platforms on which we are always reachable. Modern technology has totally altered communication--it is so easy in today’s world to stay in touch with friends and family, no matter the distance.

The flip side of living in a world in which we are always reachable, however, is that we are EXPECTED to always be reachable. The challenges of friendship have changed; severing a streak on snapchat is akin to breaking a promise. Miss a text or turn your phone off for a couple of hours and suddenly people assume you’re ignoring them. This change in attitude isn’t the fault of any one individual.

It’s just how it is.

Social media has become so ingrained in our everyday lives that many of us have unknowingly accepted these new ‘rules’ of friendship. We apologize if we don’t see a text for a few hours. The first thing many of us do when we wake up (including myself) is check our phones. We participate in continuous group-chats, we snapchat daily, we document the everyday occurrences of our lives on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, et cetera, et cetera.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing—I am not anti-social media. I love being able to talk to my friends away at other colleges. Half of my family lives on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean—I want to stay up-to-date on their lives and accomplishments. I share plenty of pictures and updates on various social medias. I do believe, though, that this significant societal change begs the question: how do we deal with it?

How do we adjust our attitudes towards friendship in a world where alone time doesn’t really exist? How do we gauge what an authentic friendship is? What is the limit?

The answer is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. It is up to us to set our own boundaries; we have a right to object to these unspoken rules of modern-day society. Friendship is not a contract that requires us to check in with every important person in our lives daily; real friends do not just disappear overnight. Choosing to take a break from social media or even deleting it should not be the equivalent of ‘going off the grid’ or refusing to adapt to a technology-driven world.

We have a right to demand alone time; we should be able to disconnect when we so choose. Taking time to recharge our social battery makes actual real-life interactions much more enjoyable. That is only possible if we are really, truly alone. Social media was designed to facilitate communication and make seeing friends easier; it is not meant to be a replacement for legitimate relationships.

A real friend is one that exists in the tangible world as well as the digital one.

Cover Image Credit: Jean Jullien

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To That One Friend Who Deserves The World

Since I can't give you the world, I hope giving you this article is enough.
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My wonderful friend,

You deserve love.

You deserve to marry your best friend.

You deserve appreciation.

You deserve that no matter who comes in and out of your life, every selfless thing you do for someone is acknowledged.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You deserve kindness.

You deserve to have the nicest people in the world surround you all of the time.

You deserve support.

You deserve to have someone there for you at the beginning of every good day and at the end of every bad one, to have someone who wants to fix all of your problems.

You deserve hope.

You deserve to always be optimistic.

You deserve laughter.

You deserve to never stop smiling and actually mean it every time you do.

You deserve forgiveness.

You deserve to be able to be given second chances because without a doubt you are worth it.

You deserve friendship.

You deserve to have a friend who can be just as good of a friend as you are.

You deserve honesty.

You deserve to always be told the truth.

You deserve motivation.

You deserve to never want to give up and always push yourself.

You deserve success.

You deserve to have everything you have worked so hard for.

You deserve faith.

You deserve to always know it will get better.

You deserve loyalty.

You deserve to have that one person who will never leave and always be there for you.

You deserve happiness.

You deserve to be genuinely content with your life.

You deserve the world.

If I could give it to you, I would.

Yes, life gets tough sometimes. The unthinkable happens and your world feels like it is crashing down but you can get past all of this.

Thank you for being so selfless. It amazes me how you do it sometimes, but thank you for always making everyone your main priority when they need you.

I know I may not say it enough, but truly thank you for all you do for me. I don’t always know how to show how much someone means to me, especially when it is someone as great as you because I don’t know what I did to deserve you, but thank you.

I love you.

Cover Image Credit: Liz Spence

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Shoutout To My Parents For Giving Me My Best Friend In The Form Of A Younger Brother

He's not as bad as I first anticipated.

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This is a story about my best friend.

I was lucky enough to have a built-in bestie from the day he came home with my parents and I immediately questioned who they stole the "creature" from.

My brother's name is Andrew and he and I have always had a catty but close relationship, which has developed into something I wouldn't trade for the world.

When we were younger we were the most jocular kids you could find and spent our days running around with our school friends shooting each other with nerf guns, hiding in every corner to leap out and give the other a heart attack.

We would hang out for hours until someone antagonized the other (Andrew was always the trouble maker) and yelled for our mom to intervene, or took out our ager by practicing our yellow belt karate skills on each other until our fake punches got to be too much and we would die laughing.

I never realized how special my relationship with my brother was until I heard how my friends talked out their siblings. My friends would endlessly complain about how much they hated their brother or sister and wished they were never born; and me, being who I am, would be shocked that they used the h-word, and tell them that they must still love them which they would relentlessly deny.

Seeing these failing relationships taught me to cherish what my brother and I have, and that is honestly the most important responsibility, and gift, I could've ever been given.

Looking back, the best childhood memories I have include him, and I wouldn't have it any other way. From founding the science club (his closet that we would do experiments in, and give our friends golf balls with their name on it as a key), to sledding down a three-foot hill in our neighbor's backyard for hours, to surfing and boogie boarding until we turned to prunes, to the endless games of HORSE we played (I don't understand how I'm still terrible at basketball), he's been with me.

Since then, our relationship has blossomed into much more than snow wrestling and movie binging; now as an adult, coming home from college is the most stress relieving and exciting time, because I know I get to hang out with my brother and talk about the most obscure things until he makes me get out of his room (because teenage angst, you know!!).

Thankfully, the required familial love has turned into a never-ending love for my best friend and little brother, and I can't wait to keep growing up side by side and to see what the world has in store for us.


https://www.instagram.com/andrewgmphoto/


ANDDDD HE'S 17 (as of the 15th)https://www.instagram.com/rebecca_miller38/

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