How Social Media has changed the Definition of Friendship

This is what I updated on my TL last night after a very annoying message in my inbox.

I don’t understand food.
I don’t understand clothes.
I don’t understand make up.
I don’t understand sarcasm.
I don’t understand partying.
I don’t understand friendships behind the walls.
I have rebelled family, friends and society.
And no I don’t regret.
I am what I am. I can’t change myself as per someone else’s convenience.

Now go, judge me.

The message was not from a stranger. The message was not from someone I wasn’t friends with. The reason it annoyed me was that the person had asked me the reason for not regularly liking their posts. For your information, the posts are mostly fashion and food updates, silly jokes and sarcastic updates. When I politely said that I don’t usually like food posts because I’m not a foodie and I am not sure if my like would be taken as an endorsement by someone on my list. That’s exactly the reason I have turned down lucrative offers for reviewing food and baby products on my blog.

Then they asked why not like their page and share their clothing brand updates. To which I had mentioned that I am not a fashionista and I don’t quite understand the new trends in fashion. And this person went on to tell me how backward I am and how very rude and conservative.

No. This did not quite annoy me as I am used to getting bitched about. They were at least saying it on my face…errr inbox. I did not respond because I am myself aware that when in anger, I blast. And I will never be able to take my words back. Have lost enough people because of this bloody trait. I allowed them to type out their frustration.

When they were almost done, I just wrote that there is an unfriend and a block button which they can use any time of the day without anyone’s permission. The reply I got for this amused me and annoyed me.

No. Let’s remain friends. If you have an issue liking my posts, just accept tags on my photos. That way your friend list will be my audience too. 

Can you beat that? I have always used the block button after much thought, but this time I didn’t have to think twice.

How very convenient and opportunistic!

So why am I sharing all this? I am sharing this here to make it clear to everyone on my list, feel free to unfriend me/block me if you feel that you’re friends with me to get likes and shares. Feel free to do it if you feel I am not in agreement with your opinion. Feel free to do it if you feel you want to be friends with me behind the TL only. Feel free to do it if I have in any way hurt your sentiments or demeaned you.

The sad reality of these days is that we can’t be friends if we have contradicting views on a certain issue. Opinions are no more respected for the different perspectives they provide. Rather, they are the basis on which your identity is judged. Gone are the days when you could still be fast friends in spite of having differences in opinion. It hurts to see how our lives are getting restricted to likes, shares, number of friends and followers. And how a certain button has the power to allow us to cut off people from our lives partly or completely. I have done that too. And I know how stupid it feels.

I just want to make it clear that feel free to remove me from your group, your friend list for whatever reasons you may have. I am not here to agree or like anything and everything that you think, write or share. Nor do I expect it from you.

A three or four digit number on a certain social media handle does not define me. I am defined by my real life with real and sensible people. I am defined by my principles and beliefs. And I have not given anyone the power to demean my identity. Go, get a life!

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12 Replies to “How Social Media has changed the Definition of Friendship”

  1. You know….it really scares me that while understand this difference between real friendship and social media convenience, the younger generation is all dependant on these fake and hollow numbers.

    What your friend did was indeed very rude. Its true we use social media to advertise, but only through willing people and channels can it be done.

    Its sad how a click on the unfriend or block button ends up defining our friendship.

  2. Absolutely Rude! and what nonsense… social media or not, friends are friends, accept as they come, if you are comfortable with them, what is all this sharing the audience business!!

    sadly, it has become all about likes and comments, the joy of sharing something that excites is restricted in a very few of us! 😦

  3. Sweetheart I could write volumes on this one! I’ve had friends unfriend me because my ‘husband’ has very strong opinions and writes very hard hitting political and religion based posts – which are always well researched and backed by evidence, not his personal opinions. So well… His identity gets clubbed with mine and I am defined as a ‘hate-spreader’ wow!
    Then there are those brilliant minds who think I share too much (perhaps 2 – 3 posts a day or sometimes just my morning msg) and hence I get a msg saying “I see you everywhere and I can’t stand it” lol… Pls feel free to use your block/ unfriend button. Why even bother sending me such msgs? But no, after doing that the person still stalks me and writes about me on their timeline! So much for ‘seeing too much of me everywhere’ 😉

    You know, true friends support you unconditionally no matter what… One like or comment never made or marred anything! And I’d rather not have such ‘wonderful’ connections anywhere… Be it online or offline!

    Very well expressed Rekha! Time to give it back to people! 🙂

  4. Well, I have never given much value to these ‘friendships’ that are only dependent on ‘likes’, ‘comments’, ‘shares’ and other such social media behaviours. In fact, I am not even sure I like the idea ‘sharing is caring’ that seems to be the mantra of so many bloggers 🙂 So many of the real values like caring, sharing, support, listening, empathy, etc have been subverted or cheapened and reduced to pretty much nothing because of the superficiality that is pretty much everywhere on social media. So is it any wonder that friendship will also be more or less reduced to back-scratching, ‘I will only like you if you like my posts’ type of behaviour. (Though I must add that there is also something very positive – both in actuality and potentiality – about the social media. Much of that though has nothing to do with this ‘friendships’, ‘likes’ business, but that’s a whole other topic of discussion not meant for here).

  5. Oh man! Really? sounds unbelievable. someone asking you to do that is funny. There is value in friendship and the ones on FB as well but then asking such favors sounds very immature.
    I am glad you chose to write about it, Rekha.

  6. Thankfully, with you, and with many others, it has started with an online friendship, but transcended that with ease. It doesn’t matter that we’ve met or not met, that friendship is way more valuable than likes or shares, but there are some for whom publicity seems to matter more than anything else, maybe to show they’re better than the rest. The joy of doing something for the love of doing it, in particular, writing, that seems to have diminished. For such people, when they tell such things, the impromptu ‘unfriend’ works just fine.

    Umm, I’m not friends with you get likes and shares, but I do feel happy when you like what I write and share it or comment on it. 🙂 That’s okay, right?

  7. I will agree with you. People expect that you’ll like their pictures and posts because you are a friend. a whole new set of expectations have built up with Facebook. or Fakebook really? Great and must read post

  8. Seriously !!! That is a good reply you gave to this person and blocking was the right thing to do..
    take care

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