Growing up, social success to me was tantamount to having as many friends as possible. I went to an exceptionally large high school, with a graduating class of over 1400. I knew a lot of people and I thought that was important; more important than the relatively frequent turnover that was occurring in my friend groups as a teenager. This mentality carried into college. By 2008, the year I first attended Indiana University oh so long ago, social media platforms like Facebook had ramped up fully and it was strange if you didn’t have a profile. In the years since then, other platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat have made a strong foothold in modern society and in the ways we communicate with one another.
As I’ve matured, I fully embraced the mentality that quality is so much more important than quantity, particularly when it comes to relationships. Now, I choose to focus on a small nucleus of close friends that stem from high school, college, or work. I’ve also realized as a person working full time, that it’s not always easy to keep in touch. Some of my friends are married, have children, pets, mortgages, etc. on top of working, so they are even more hard pressed for time than I could imagine at this stage in my life.
With the exception of my mom, I really don’t love speaking on the phone since I spend a lot of time doing that at work on a daily basis. It’s my understanding that many of my friends feel the same way. Instead, if I’m thinking about one of my friends, I may forward them a funny meme on Instagram or comment on one of their “Stories”, a video snippet of what they’re up to. I might tag them in something on Facebook, or post a #tbt (Throwback Thursday) photo memory of us together.
On their birthdays, I might use an application, such as LiveCollage to create a fun collage containing different pictures to celebrate our friendship and their importance to me in addition to a birthday message. This also applies to family.
The intention is to say, “Hello, I’m thinking about you and I think this will make you laugh or smile, or it directly references a memory or inside joke that we share”. This is not to say that this should substitute spending actual physical time with your friends, having those long catch up phone calls or being willing to sacrifice time or energy to support them, but it’s nice to have a means to reach out on a daily basis that doesn’t require much time. It will be interesting to see how the means of communicating with friends will evolve, but I do feel that the relative speed and sense of fun via social media isn’t a bad thing!
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
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