Trying to understand friendship in today’s world may seem different. Back in the day, your friend was someone in the neighborhood, a classmate, or someone you saw (in person) on a regular basis. You shared everything from clothes and gossip to your hopes and fears. You passed notes in class, had sleepovers, and hoped you didn’t get a busy signal when you called them on their landline to make plans.
Today, the definition of friendship has completely changed, primarily as a result of social media and gaming. In fact, it is entirely possible to consider someone living on the other side of the world your friend. A friend can be someone you’ve never actually met in person. You share aspects of your life with them, usually after you’ve carefully filtered the pictures and removed any bad news from the post about your fabulous day. But are they really good friends? What’s the definition of a real friend? Let’s try to define friend.
A Broader Definition of Friendship
In the past, a true friend was someone that was with you through thick and thin and with whom you didn’t mind sharing everything–the person you ran to after a breakup and celebrated with after a promising interview for your dream job.
In today’s world, anyone can be your friend, including that person you never really liked in high school, the neighbor you’ve only waved at once, and a friend of a friend of a friend–you get the picture. After all, the more social media friends you have, the better off you are, right? Some may wonder, what about a casual friends definition. These are the type of friends you see from time to time but find it hard to get together with constantly.
The definition of friendship has become broader and increasingly vague. A friend isn’t necessarily someone you really know and see as a confidant. Instead, a friend can be any casual acquaintance, a person you’ve only met in passing. And, in the case of gamers, a friend can be a voice you know with a face you’ve never actually seen.
Friendship is a Word that Gets Thrown Around
As the role of friendships has changed, so have the words to describe them. For example, the words “friendship,” “friend,” and “BFF” are so often thrown around or used in hashtags that they’ve lost their meaning. At one time, calling someone, your BFF meant they were your “go-to” person, the one who shared the good times with you but stuck around when you hit bottom. Now, after spending one fun weekend at the beach, someone may be tagged a BFF on social media when they know very few details about each other.
Sadly, friendship isn’t quite the sacred term it used to be. Anyone can be your friend currently. It might be someone you met at work, or maybe even someone you’ve had a casual dating relationship with. In a few cases, people with a very intimate yet casual relationship may call themselves friends with benefits. There’s no one way to make a friend.
Today, friends are often social media friends or someone with whom you spend time playing online games. While it’s nice having social media and gaming friends, there is an important question to ask. What do you do when you are facing life’s darkest moments or celebrating its brightest days? Whose door can you knock on or phone can you call at 3 AM knowing they’ll answer? That is when you need a real friend.
The Definition of True Friendship Hasn’t Changed
To be honest, many of your social media and gaming friends are nothing more than acquaintances. They are not fake friends or bad friends. They may meet today’s broader definition of friendship, but they don’t meet the definition of a real friend. Instead, they are the “friends” you say happy birthday to or congratulate when they post about their latest amazing accomplishment. They’re never going to be that person you confide in. They’re not going to be that person you call in the middle of the night when you need someone to talk to. They are less likely to provide the mental health benefits of a close friend, such as relieving stress or increasing self-love. However, some online friends can become true friends with whom you spend time in person. You need and deserve a deeper level of friendship.
Thanks to social media and the internet, friendships are evolving. However, true friendship remains the same, though it is becoming increasingly rare.
Now, who wants to be my Facebook friend?