Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Social Media: A Friend Unseen

Aristotle once wrote – Wishing to be friends is a quick work but friendship is a slow-ripening fruit.

We all use the word “friend” to describe almost everyone with whom we are vaguely acquainted.

With the advent of social media platforms, the concept of Friendship has taken on new dimensions. We started making friends with people we had never met before. People argue that online friendship lures us into a false web of intimacy and makes us believe that we really know this person well.

Is it so?

I am fully familiar with the fragile nature of virtual friendships, but the point is to make sure that we do invest our time and honesty in relationships that have the potential to last a while. Yes, there will be frauds and people to shake the trust along the way but if you have even a handful of lovely friends that makes life worth it.

Friends are friends no matter how you make them. Building friendship in virtual world frees us from embarrassment and awkwardness when we release personal emotions and share our secrets with them. It’s difficult for your online friends to ascertain how you exactly feel because your feelings are hidden behind the constant barrage of emoticons, LOL’s, ROFL’s but they will always be there to listen.

Online friendships seem less real than offline friendships but often more successful because what brought you two together are similar interests and passions and not proximity. The more similar an online friend is in gender and interests, the stronger is the social tie.

The weird but cute fight that you generally get involved in with your friend is amazing. With real friends, you drag your fight for years because you are too lazy, or too proud to make the first move. But with online friends patching up is easy. It generally requires the awkward commencing of “ I love you” texts or “heart“ emojis.

Online friends know all about your relationship drama and boy/girl crushes because you’ve been asking them for advice for months. And the best thing is they never welcome you with a weird look on their face. They are more understanding, less judgmental. They put their efforts to make your birthday a memorable one. When they can't show up in those places, they send flowers and chocolates.

They are always there to share your social addiction to Social Media platforms. You are not the only one online at 3 A.M. Only your online friends understand the sheer joy of sharing posts and tagging you in hilarious photos. They always reply with something snarky and fun, making you snort laugh at your computer.

No matter how far they live, they will always be “one call” away from you. Distance ain’t got nothing on you and your online BFF. The constant talks about the things you guys would do when you finally meet is magical. And when you finally meet them in person, it feels like seeing a long lost friend.

To sum up, I am not against online friendships. I am actually tired of online friendships being belittled. During the transition from “teenage” to “adult” phase of my life, I had a sick obsession to be a part of that cool group, have that feeling of belonging and be with a bunch of people who would “be there for me”. I soon realized that the notion of such friendships is seriously flawed and unconvincing.

Friendships need investment, time, care and love in order to flourish and a little bit of that goes a very long way. I don’t see social media as a disease. I see it as a cure. It’s like the oil that keeps the wheels of our friendship running.

People perceive online friendships to be unreal, yet I’ve shared a lot of personal experiences and it felt like there was a mutual respect between us. Couldn’t that be enough to label us as friends?

This is a common mindset of youth that Social media makes people Egocentric. Yet it seems to be exactly the opposite. People are now able to join others in their triumphs, give them sympathy when needed and share laughs. That’s worth something and if celebrating yourself and others is self-centered, I hope to see more of it.

The value of friendship isn’t changing. The horizon of Friendship is expanding. 

I don’t know where that all will lead me, but given the new people and ideas I’ve encountered online, I am all for it. And if nothing else, I’ll be in a good company.

Written by Anmol Jain
I love to write unapologetically out of passion. I am a dreamer, animal lover and known for my lashing criticism.

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