Valuing Friendships for More Than Just Another "Like"
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Valuing Friendships for More Than Just Another "Like"

Chose Friendship, Not Popularity.

Valuing Friendships for More Than Just Another "Like"

There is this societal definition and expectation that is associated with relationships and new media. Especially with the evolutions in relationships, it is all too easy to become wrapped up in the superficial nature of relationships with their correlation to social verification. In other words, we like people who "like" our posts on social media. It makes us feel good when we receive that acceptance and appreciation. There is a fine line that we all walk though, and that is knowing who our friends are outside of an online profile and wanting friendship for more than social validation.

Relational dynamics have changed because of new media. It has become easier to make friends, but harder to further develop the friendship. There is a plentiful and easily accessible pool of friends that seem to “pop up” everywhere. Any kind of relationship can be formed so easily with a “follow,” “friend request” or even a “right swipe.” The network of people and possibilities for new friendships seems infinite.

Looking back to a time before cell phones and social media, it was much more difficult to contact, let alone pursue spending time with those, whom you didn’t already know. Instead of going out on a limb and asking a total stranger out, people utilize social media therefore narrowing the window for rejection.

To send someone a Facebook message after already receiving the validation that they “accept” your friendship feels much safer than going into the situation blind. Also, the mutual friends, interests or other similarities already known to the initiator because of a profile can allow for easy conversation starters.

Unfortunately, this ease of creating new friendships has put more of a strain on already existing ones. It is harder than ever to have a best friend relationship.

So is that it? If we have a yellow heart and a streak we are best friends?

It has become this unspoken norm that a best friend is the one who likes all of your posts on all forms of social media and texts you everyday and calls sometimes and then on top of all of that you hangout together. And when you hangout it is expected to be uninhibited by social media. [At the same time, if someone wants my undivided attention while we are together, then I have no idea when they expect me to find time to all their photos and stay socially up to date.] It is exhausting trying to keep up with your best friends in social media. Having close friends now means you must create validation on a social level among peers as well as have an individual connection. This is a significant commitment. How is iteven possible to have a best friend when these expectations are so high?

People on some level have given up. In general, more people find themselves concerned with the amount of followers they have rather than the people they actually care about following them. The idea of having many acquaintances has never been so desired and, in some cases, has been more desired to have these anonymous followers rather than a tight nit circle of friends. Although we are able to have more friends and keep up with the lives of many, this generation, whom is overwhelmingly inundated with technology, is expected to absorb it all. It is not right to assume everyone is just as obsessed with me as I am. To many, I am simply an acquaintance and the fact is the number of acquaintances people have nowadays is significantly increasing whereas the number of genuine friendships is decreasing.

Friendship, in its new definition is no longer confined to face-to-face interaction, but rather encompasses many other social expectations.

New media continuously proves to be more prominent in the development and natural course of relationships; however, by understanding these affects we can work towards a solution. If your friend happens to not have seen your Instagram post or Facebook message, don’t use that against them, rather than looking at a friendship for what they do for you, look at your relationship. Instead of getting caught up in this insatiable need for social validation try instead to focus on the genuine aspects of real friendships. This in turn will prove more rewarding than having a huge following, but having no real friends. Chose friendship, not popularity.

Because life is so much better with true friends. Shoutout to my besties- you know who you are.

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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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