I’m not a massive drinker. I have a night out every once a while but honestly can’t remember the last time I got really wasted. It’s rare for me to be tipsy, especially on a week night. And it’s even more rare for me to start typing while I’m tipsy. Believe it or not, this is about as crazy as it gets for me these days… sitting in my PJ’s with my laptop glaring on full brightness, sipping a glass of red and occasionally reaching out for a handful of salted popcorn.
I’m in the mood for writing for some reason – maybe it’s the alcohol acting upon an introvert – I dunno. What I do know is that I’ve been meaning to write a ‘digital diary’ entry for some time. I’ve always kept a journal and since Make Me Up Marie started I’ve given you little snippets of insight on my life and the workings of my brain and since switching from a fashion, beauty a lifestyle blog to an authentic lifestyle blog and open journal, I feel I can be a lot more honest and open, seeing as I’ve given you fair warning n’ all.
Tonight I thought we could have a little chat about friends.
Nooo, I’m not talking about the TV show. I’m talking about, you know, the people you consider to be your extended family?
It’s a taboo subject and one I usually avoid for fear of looking or sounding like a ‘loner’ but truth is I seem to have less and less ‘friends’ as I get older. I suppose this may be due to the fact that I’ve got less and less time for people, though I can’t help but feel there’s more going on that first meets the eye…
Here’s my theory, which I’m tempted to call a fact; excessive use of social media results in less time spent connecting with individuals face-to-face and more time communicating electronically. Online shopping ensures next to no human interaction. Automated phone calls take away responsibility, empathy and the ability to understand. We’re all locked in our houses, overworked, tied to our screens and completely self-absorbed. Communities are no longer thriving and local businesses are being pushed out by commercial chains and mega-money franchises. Our personal problems and everyday pressures are so intense that there’s not enough space or energy for us to care for ourselves properly, let alone one another.
And despite all this there are so many of us developing relationships online, wishing we could bring our digital reality to life! It’s sad to admit but it’s easier to make friends online than it is to even meet likeminded people in real life these days… isn’t it? Well, that is if the people we talk to online can even be considered ‘friends’… which leads me to another head f*ck of a question/contemplation. Is it possible to have an authentic relationship with someone you’ve never even met?
I mean, think about it. You have loads in common, conversing with one another is effortless via instant messaging, you make time to support one another and you’ll even have a heated debated that borders on banter but almost always escalates into an argument – sounds preeeetty much like the definition of friendship to me. Then again, we’ve all watched Catfish. It’s far easier to get caught up in a fake reality than you might imagine.
I personally have a far larger network of people online than I do in real life. I doubt any of you reading this are much different. I started out with first-hand friends on Facebook, then moved on to acquaintances and now interact with readers/followers/friends/fellow-bloggers worldwide! I speak with a lot of them regularly and feel a beautiful bond between myself and a select few. Some of the relationships I’ve cultivated online could be described as equally meaningful to me as my nearest and dearest and that’s by no means an exaggeration.
Nevertheless, it frustrates me that I don’t come across such people at the gym, in the drugstore or at the local supermarket. It makes me doubt myself and my feelings. Am I unapproachable? Do I look better online than I do in real life? Are my words kinder when they’re typed out rather than said aloud? Why do I never physically bump into the likes of ‘my types’? You may think I’m joking around but these are genuine thoughts that enter my mind on a fairly regular basis.
I’m interested to hear what you think. Do you have someone you call a friend that you have never, not even once, met? What makes them a real friend and how can you be sure?