Friday, September 30, 2011

Friendship for sale

A friend of mine recently wrote in his update on Facebook "451 to 300 .... cleaning friendlist". I felt quite amused to see such a message. It looked very mechanical to me, totally devoid of any emotions. Have these social media platforms diluted the essence of friendship? Firstly, I have never understood how people so casually add everyone in their FB friend list, even those they might have seen once in a party and then later claim that they need privacy. I never understood why would you write something on such a platform which you might need to hide from a particular set people? In that case how can you really call them friends? I agree to the fact that many people would claim that it is a social media platform where not everyone is actually a "friend". It is more like a tool to interact with many people whom you might have met or know. 

But I had always felt very uncomfortable to use the word "friend" so casually and cheaply. A friend for me is a person you trust blindly, who is there for you (and you for him) through thick and thin of life and a lot more. So, personally I never understood this hierarchy in friendship. In this sense, I would say the Germans have a more efficient way of addressing people. There is a word in their vocabulary called "Bekannter" which they use often for acquaintances, for people they know but are not really friends. So, a Bekannter is not actually a friend. From humanity or social point of view it might not be morally fitting but works pretty good in the practical world.

Then just recently there was this Airtel advertisement doing rounds on the internet with the title "har ek friend zaroori hota hai". It was an amusing ad but it left a bit of bad taste in the end. Maybe I am thinking too much or either I did not got the ad correctly. The way it portrayed friendship was not top of the line in my opinion. I felt that it showed that friends are just like amenities in life or more so like utilities just for "use", for different kind of uses. Does that mean anyone who can offer you a service of any kind is your friend ? Some people might argue that what the ad was meant in good spirit and not what I have made out of it but I think otherwise.

It could be that I am old school and that the meaning of friendship has changed over the years. But I guess I am still stuck in the world of film Dosti (1964) where the meaning of friendship between Ramu and Mohan are in stark contrast with what I see these days amongst the new generation. There was emotion, sacrifice, others before self feelings and not just using people as commodities and then calling them friends. In less than 50 years, I guess we have mutated our behavior so much that there is no chance or scope of going back.

It could be that I might face some backlash for such thoughts but if not on my blog then where :) 


Gayatri said...

Hmmm! I do an annual Facebook cleanup the week after my birthday. If someone doesn't talk to me all year or doesn't even bother wishing me on my birthday, I don't want them looking at my photos and tracking updates in my life!!

I too consider friendship to be something above and beyond a connection on a social network site. My friends have been my friends for decades and I don't think I would want it any other way.

Gayatri said...

sounds fair enough with the cleanup. Sometimes I feel that it is not really people's fault in not keeping up with friends. The ever evolving new ways of life can be blamed in some cases :)