How we’ve all become acquaintances

Two years ago, someone told me to keep my real friends very close because they’re hard to find. So I did – for the past couple of years, the relationships I have with my three best friends have grown immensely, despite the fact one of them is in Bucharest and another in Palo Alto. But I also decided to build new ones. Real, honest, authentic friendships. Much to my amazement, however, I’ve come to realise that when it comes to “relationships”, not much changes after we finish high school.

You see, most people seem to be interested in at least two of the three following things when it comes to choosing their “friends”: social validation (are you one of the cool kids?), monetization (what’s in it for me?) and intellectual / physical confirmation (do I feel I’m better than you?). As if that weren’t bad enough, it is now considered common sense for “friends” to skip the phone call and just write on someone’s wall for their birthday. The “Like” has replaced the email and the Facebook comment has replaced the letter. One shouldn’t expect “friends” to actually show up after confirming their attendance to a birthday party and, obviously, forgetting to cancel a scheduled dinner is totally normal. Via SMS. It seems to me that “friend” is the new “acquaintance” these days. xoxo

A few days ago, someone in my group of acquaintances called me to ask for help with something. I helped him, but it made me think. I could’ve bet that some of the people in the group are much closer friends to him than I am. And yet, here he is, calling me. It’s a sad world we live in, and I blame it all on high school and on Facebook.

For those of us who do wanna grow up though, I think friendships should be based on: honesty (does this person seem trustworthy?), intellectual compatibility (do I feel challenged or bored?) and reliability (can I rely on them not to disappear when I need them most?). But FYI, waking up at 3AM to help a friend in need is much more difficult than clicking “Like” on a Facebook status message.

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