Thoughts on Friendship in the Digitial Age
November 08, 2016
Filed In: Philosophy
One of my favorite activities is to pick an area of life where I need improvement and to work hard to make a change. I can only focus on one thing at a time, and that focus is what drives results. I’ve made big changes and little changes using this approach. One of my great regrets of the past six years is my lack of new meaningful friendships. I have friends from college that I connect with, but I haven't built many new friendships. It’s an area of my life that I’m working to improve. Before I can make great friends, I need to be a great friend.
I think that there are two reasons why I haven’t made many friends since college. First, as a military kid, I have seldom had lasting friendships. I grew up just before the Internet enabled people to keep in touch across a great distance. Growing up in this setting made me self-sufficient. The second reason is that I just didn’t have the time. My job had me working at all hours, and Alison’s studies ate up the rest. This lack of long-term friendships has caused my interpersonal skills to become a bit rusty.
If you’re getting the idea that the last few years have been sad, I’m sorry to give you the wrong impression. I am satisfied with my social life. I just know that I can go so much deeper. I’m looking forward to doing just that when we move to Texas next summer and plant some roots.
Forging analog relationships in a digital world is a challenge. We’ve collectively allowed the Facebook friendship long ago supplanted the “IRL” (in real life) friendship. But Facebook emphasizes quantity rather than quality. Human relationships are about quality, and an overabundance can dilute connection. Friendships are more like concentric circles. As you pass through each circle, the connection is less strong.
I need to be better communicators in a digital world. I need to let my digital connectivity serve as an aid to my friendships. I’m eager to start this next chapter of my life, but I’m even more excited to meet and learn from a whole new crop of interesting people.