2014 marked the 10th anniversary of Facebook, so the Pew Research Center did a survey. The survey found that half of all Facebook users have more than 200 friends in their network and 15% have more than 500 friends.
Everyone likes to feel popular. That’s why Facebookers, especially in the site’s early days, hoarded friends like poker chips (never mind that most of these friends were rarely seen coworkers, distant relatives, vaguely remembered classmates, or unknown friends of a friend).
Until Facebook came along, nobody used the word “friend” as a verb. Now it’s not uncommon to ask a new acquaintance to spell their name so you can “friend” them on Facebook. But is friendship such an easy thing?
Often when we think of friends, we may have a picture of two people sitting across the table from each other at a coffee shop engrossed in deep conversation over a couple of lattes. This kind of shared experience can lift a person out of depression, ease one’s burdens, lighten one’s heart, and often inspire. This is another view of friendship where the face to face intimacy brings a shared nourishment.
The author C. S. Lewis had yet another image of friendship. He said friendship is not facing each other, but standing side by side absorbed in some common interest. This kind of friendship ultimately nourishes more than just the friends.
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to see an old acquaintance from Colorado. During our conversation, she told me that she and her good friend had recently spent May Day making baskets, gathering wild flowers, and delivering them to the sick and elderly. Friendship for these two women was not ingrown and closed EssaysCaptain. They stood side by side with a common vision. Their friendship was joined by and made bigger when they included the elderly and the sick.
Facebook has made a lot of things possible. But as we click “accept” and “request”, perhaps we might ask ourselves what exactly is a friend? And how does friendship take form in my life? Is a friend an additional number to make me feel better, or is a friend much more?