Count Your Friends on One Hand

September 2, 2018

There is nothing social about social media. Yes, Facebook, I am talking about you.

People brag about their vacations, their kids, their accomplishments or even their misfortunes. They post pictures of what they eat, what they drink, what they wear, what they buy. Their so called “friends” comment to the pictures and the posts, and pretend they are so happy for them! Most disrespectful of all, they simply “like”!

On one side, you have the show offs. On the other, the stalkers. Then the stalkers compete with the shows offs and who was the show-off yesterday becomes the stalker today.

They call each other Friend. Do they visit each other on a weekly basis? Do they call each other and talk for hours? When one needs to repaint a small room, can these friends be bothered to help? When one feels low and needs an ear to listen, are the friends available? Do they invite each other for dinner at home? Are they going on vacations together? Can one trust that what has been said in confidence will not become social news before the day is over?

Maybe my definition of a friend is quite different from yours. But maybe, born in this new “social media” generation, you were robbed of what friendship truly is and believe that what you have is what should be. That friendship really is those watered-down relationships that mean nothing.

My grandmothers used to tell me to be careful. To keep private my happiness as it was human nature to envy others more fortunate. That it was ugly to brag. To be grateful to have true friends and not to expect to have many. That if I could count my true friends with the fingers on one hand, I had enough; on two hands and I had way too many.

Social media dictates that the more friends one has, the better. The most popular that person is. It is a competition. A social network in the triple digits is recognition of obvious qualities. A grand validation!

What I see? A lot of very lonely people on their phones. At restaurants, they do not talk to each other. Do they even know how by now? They sit in front of one another and post pictures of that little umbrella in their drinks. What is the point of spending hard-earned money going out with people if what matters the most is bragging? Or is bragging the point?

It takes a lot of time to start, build and keep a fulfilling friendship. It is not so much different than start, build and keep a good marriage. If time is consumed posting “news”, and making “friends” envious along the way, there is no time for real interaction, real face to face with people that could potentially become a close-knit entourage. No time for a friend.

Katrin L.





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