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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Best Friends Forever: A Myth?

Ultimately, finding new friends is much quicker than mending old relationships. How can we fix this problem?
Ultimately, finding new friends is much quicker than mending old relationships. How can we fix this problem?

People can befriend over hundreds, even thousands, of friends on Facebook, but how many are actually real friends? A true friend is someone who tries to better you for your own good, but respects the choices you decide to make in the end. They are trustworthy, stay true to their promises, offer good advice and assistance in times of need, and most importantly, they continue to do all of this even when it is inconvenient for them.

I have over 800 friends on Facebook, yet I consider only a handful true friends. Although online social networks, instant messaging, and texting may be a good resource to connect with someone you just met or an old friend from the past, this convenience is becoming detrimental to friendships in the future.

Friendship used to be rare and precious.

Greek philosopher Aristotle defines friendship in his “Nicomachean Ethics” as mutual love and wishing good upon the other friend. He also groups friendship into three different categories:

1. The first kind of friendship is between friends who love each other for their pleasantness so that each friend makes the other feel good in some way, either comforting them in times of need or giving them some support and hope.

2. The second kind of friendship is between friends who love each other for their usefulness so that each friend is beneficial to one another, such as giving good advice when needed.

3. The third kind of friendship is a strong and everlasting one where it is made up of people who are both good to each other and alike in excellence.

The third friendship is a compromise of the other two friendships because it consists of people who are on the same level of greatness and do not require pleasantness or usefulness from someone else.

In 2012, friendship falls predominantly into Aristotle’s first and second category.

There is a correlation between technology and our changing definition and ideal of friendship. The more advanced technology is, the greater number of friends we can have. Yet, these friendships are not genuine because people choose the false friends.

The process of making friends has become too convenient. Rather than taking the time to know someone through lunch dates and phone calls, all it takes is one click on a social networking site, such as Facebook or MySpace, to “confirm” friendship. On such websites, you can essentially access a person’s whole life on one page

On top of that, social networking users can easily find other friends based on common interests. Because of this enhanced accessibility, friendships are not as sacred anymore and newly acquired friends may not be appreciated as much since there is little to no effort involved in making them.

Social websites also make “deleting” friends far too easy. People may grow wary of upsetting their friends in fear of losing them in a split second. This causes fraudulent friendships in which both parties constantly worry about hiding their criticisms from each other when they should be sharing those criticisms in order to improve one another.

Ultimately, finding new friends is much quicker than mending old relationships.

How can we fix this problem?

It’s important to take advantage of technology instead of relying on it. The next time you complete a big project at work or school, you’re most likely going to tweet about it. Don’t assume your close friends will find out via Twitter. Make sure you call them and tell them yourself about your accomplishment. They’ll feel more honored that you’re reaching out and sharing this celebratory moment with them.

The same goes if you’ve just had a fight with your friend. There’s no need for public name-calling followed by a spree of deletion. You don’t want to cause a scene online, just like you wouldn’t want to cause a scene at a restaurant. Just give it a day or two and talk to your friend privately. It’s easier to make up when you haven’t displayed your conflict to the public.

Even though friendships have changed over time, this change doesn’t have to be for the worse. Technology, if used the right way, can strengthen friendships instead of breaking them.