a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection,typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations.
informal; add (someone) to a list of friends or contacts on a social networking website: “I am friended by 29 people who I have not friended back”
These definitions are taken from the online version of the Oxford Dictionary.
In my 1992 hardback copy of the Shorter Oxford Dictionary (short at 2672 pages, would hate to see the Long version) Friend is described as this: One joined to another in mutual benevolence & intimacy. Not ordinarily used of lovers or relatives.
Verb: to make (persons) friends or friendly; to join in friendship.
So sometime between 1992 & now it has become to mean something different. Whilst the act of making friends obviously stems around mutual respect & affection, the act of friending someone doesn’t necessarily have to.
Obviously, most people on Social Network don’t strike up relationships with people who they don’t like or have no desire to interact with, so the tag of Friend is easily applied.
But it’s wrong.
It has given the false sense of familiarity. Of concern & care for those on your List.
You are all of a sudden privy to so much more than you expected, & in some cases, wanted.
Every moment & thought can be shared…& shared…& shared.
Don’t get me wrong, I too have been guilty of the overshare (on more than one occasion probably) but I’ve realised now that the responses I got at those times are in direct correlation to what they perceive you to be, by what you allowed them to see.
I’m not terribly precious about my privacy & tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. And I realised that in doing that I was only creating a false illusion of myself.
They weren’t seeing me. Just a name on a screen & words that can be read by anyone & interpreted whichever way they choose.
So I took a break from it all. To regain focus on ME. And my family. And my friends that I could touch & hug & look into their eyes when I talked to them.
And when I came back it was different.
I was different. And I saw everything through new eyes. Fresh eyes.
And realised that those names on my Friend List were just that. Names listed alphabetically.
Most I’d had no interaction with for months. For them they didn’t even know I was gone. Some did & made themselves known & I welcomed their contact & the chance to catch up on each others lives.
But most remained mute. Stuck in their 2 dimensional perception of me & how they expected me to behave.
I’m sad that I have lost that sense of community. Of feeling like I belonged.
What I’m not sad about is the loss of those people who really were just names on a list.
No doubt I am merely a name on someone elses list. And that’s OK. Because friends aren’t meant to be 2 dimensional. Or perfect.