Doesn’t it seem like at almost every family get together, we crowd around that massive, overflowing bowl of chips and find ourselves listening to our older relatives talk about their life-long friends, monthly BBQ get-togethers and how their pals used to show up unexpectedly for a visit? Yes, the idea of someone showing up unannounced made me cringe too. While we are connected to people through social media on a daily basis, most of us don’t share the same stories of friendship our parents and grandparents have. Why is that?
This is not to say that we simply don’t have friends or are void of any meaningful relationships. We have merely noticed there has been an obvious shift of mindset in our culture. Meeting up with friends used to evoke excitement. Now making plans, and the thought of getting ready to leave the house can bring up a tinge of anxiety. So, what is it that made us transition from a social culture to a non-social culture?
We’re Already in a Demanding Relationship
That’s right, I mean Netflix. If we really think about it, we spend most of our free time drowned in oversized, fluffy blankets and dressed in our self-proclaimed “bum-wear” next to an iPad or TV screen. We have all witnessed that horrifying reflection of ourselves in that black, are-you-still-there screen after hours of binge watching our favorite shows.
There are numerous mesmerizing and addicting shows with detailed storylines out on all our favorite platforms—we honestly don’t need to make plans anymore. There is always something to do for those who have Netflix, Hulu or Prime—and bonus we can wear comfy clothes and boast some unruly hair while we spend time with our imaginary TV friends.
We Have Self-Induced ADD
With technology so readily at our fingertips, we have learned to do countless things at once, yet get nothing done. Our attention is constantly given to various tasks, but our full concentration is on none of them. We are in an age of extreme multitasking. We can read a book, watch TV, text and eat a snack at the same time. I mean, multitasking should be an Olympic sport by now…really.
Because we don’t focus on one or two things at a time, when we’re asked to make a plan, our minds are already preoccupied. We have hundreds of thoughts aimlessly whirling around and can feel we simply don’t have the time—the idea of scheduling something can become overwhelming.
There’s Nothing New to Talk About
Because most of us post every detail of our lives online, there really isn’t anything new to talk about. Meeting with friends isn’t as entertaining as it once was. We already know our gal pal is pregnant. We heard from our mom that our cousin posted that he proposed to his girlfriend. Most of these events were once moments we bonded in person over.
Instead of sharing meaningful news and sometimes the painful downfalls we all have in life, we rush to announce them on social media for a full, yet lonely, celebration or comfort. We create an illusion of support, yet live life behind our screens.
We Are Too Inclusive
Most people are looking for the next Instagram-worthy hangout to snap a photo to share with their online fan club. Whoever wants to join in on the endeavor is welcome; however, it can easily become more about achieving that perfect post than the friends who tag along.
We take photos of our fantastic food, lovely locations, on-trend outfits and basically everything we experience. Because staying connected with our online friends is consistently on our minds, we can tend to forget the importance of connecting with the friends we are currently enjoying that same experience with.
We Have Become More Self-Centered
With our “have-it-your-way” mentality, we thrive on the fact that we can customize almost everything in our lives. We order our food how we want, we hand tailor our phone apps and their organization and we can pick our TV channels and customize our online streaming programs in great detail so they fit our exact needs. While this is certainly an amazing upgrade in how we engage with the world around us, could it possibly have changed the way we view people and friendship?
We believe that most of us have come accustomed to customizing our lives. So, when a friend approaches us to make plans, if the plan doesn’t fit exactly into our likes, we pass. Instead of focusing on the connection and conversation with that friend, we tend to skip the opportunity because maybe the time isn’t ideal or the location isn’t on our favorites list. Come on, we are all guilty of this one.
No, I am not preaching that technology has devastatingly taken over the world, but we do want to comment on how just maybe we have let it alter the way we view our friendships with others. We love cuddling up with our cozy blankets and enjoying a night in like the rest of you. However, we hope that next time we all jump to turn down a social interaction, we will think twice about the reason why.