A few days ago I was watching a cartoon, about a completely different topic, but a few sentences in it made me think about nowadays’ friendship in a whole different way. There was a part in the cartoon, when a big, best-selling company (which is the antagonist of the story) wants to involve a good scientist in their evil plan, and they cut him off his friends, so they won’t be able to influence him and make him see that what he’s about to do is bad. And this little part made me wonder.
Why is it, that now, with all these technologies around, that give us endless possibilities to be closer with our friends, we slowly drift apart? We have so many social media, we follow each other everywhere, but somehow we become more and more lonely in this life. We have exchanged talking on the phone to typing, sending each other memes and consider that as “talking“. Back in the good days (the grandma in me has spoken again), people only had two ways of communication: meeting each other and talking on the home phone. I can say for sure, that years ago, people’s friendships and relationships were stronger and much better. Those were real friendships that we had, not the one we presumably have now. And I say this not only from my own experience. I always draw parallels, do little “investigations” and comparisons among people that I know and often take examples from there.
But is it really our fault? I don’t think so. I just came up with a whole big conspiracy theory, that the whole world, these big organizations, smart technologies, “higher powers” want to make us lonely and isolated. They want us to think that we have lots of friends, while in reality we don’t. And where did it come from? From some point, everyone started telling us, that everything we do is very important, everything but our close people. From schools and universities we learn that lessons are the most important thing, that we should give our whole time and energy to studying. That’s why when my mom was studying in the university (during USSR times), she would tell about the “amazing student life“, about all their fun times with friends and classmates. When I went to the same university, pretty much everyone was zombified, refusing to do something fun, to skip one class, to go have a walk or eat ice-cream, talk and laugh, feel ourselves young and free. Everything gets more serious, when people go to work. Everyone gets assured, that they’re the most important person in that office, and that their lives now revolve around the work they do. Everyone thinks that their company will collapse, if they take a day off to spend it with their friends, if they leave their offices one hour earlier, or spend 10 minutes to call and talk with someone. Obviously I’m not talking about doing it on a daily basis. But look how friendships look now. You send your friend a message, then wait for hours to get a response (like it’s the 90s or 00s again), then when they respond, it takes a few hours for you to respond. Then maybe you talk on the phone for 10 minutes once a month. Then you plan on meeting, you plan for days and weeks, finally meet, then promise to see each other more often, to talk and write more. And guess what? Everything goes on in the exactly same way. Of course not everyone is like that, lots of things depend on people, their attitudes and worldview, but for the majority this is the sad truth.
There was a time, when I thought that it’s just about people’s mentality and their priorities, what’s more important for them. But now I think, what if this is all a well-structured plan, that the “higher powers” of the Earth have? What if people get their wrong priorities inserted in them, so they’d think that friends can wait, while you do your most important job of copying some documents, planning a phone call or just sitting in one place, waiting to be called and put to a “very essential assignment“.
Another example. Think about all those “contemporary spiritual gurus“, who constantly urge us to cut off toxic people, negative people, even if those people are our own parents for instance. I totally agree, that we need to surround ourselves with positive people, people who won’t make us feel bad or guilty about ourselves, that we don’t need to constantly justify ourselves, our choices and decisions, but that’s not the point now. The problem is that now people call everyone toxic, saying that everyone is “mentally abusing” them. They made these few words and phrases their credo, sometimes maybe without even understanding what they actually represent, and stop interacting with everyone they know. Again, I understand that these things are bad, and we need to stay away from actual abusers or toxicity but nowadays we’ve reach the point, when a simple teasing, harmless joke is being viewed as an abuse, or a person complaining about a hard period in their lives, or giving you a constructive criticism or advice is a “toxic” person.
Even this whole coronavirus and lockdowns, self-isolations have now affected people so much in a negative way. People don’t want to see each other anymore, even if their country doesn’t have any restrictions at all. The human interaction, that has already been decreasing, has now become completely limited.
If you reckon that I’m totally crazy, just think about it for a while. Compare your own friendships now with the ones of few years ago (even with same people). Compare your parents’ friendships with yours. Are they the same? I’m sure that you’ll notice the huge difference and understand what I mean. But why is it so? Weren’t people’s jobs important in those times? Or maybe people didn’t have jobs or families, or there weren’t any “toxic people“, everyone was so positive, constantly talking about rainbows and unicorns. Life is the same, it’s we who are changing. But do we actually like and want that change?
Remember how many quotes there are about people being strong together, and easy to manipulate when they’re all alone. “United we stand, divided we fall“. “Divide and conquer“. Can’t forget my favorite one from Harry Potter: “If I were You-Know-Who, I’d want you to feel cut off from everyone else. Because if it’s just you alone, you’re not as much of a threat“. We’re receiving the right messages through different books, movies, even cartoons, about what’s really important in this life and how we should give more time and energy to our close people, instead of running after money and fame and non-actually-existing “stuff we need to do“
I think it’s easier to think that we, people aren’t responsible for what we’ve become. It’s so much easier to make up a whole conspiracy theory and put the blame on them. Maybe everything I’ve written is a total nonsense, maybe not, this is one of those numerous topics, that no one can be sure about anything, especially now. But it doesn’t really matter, whether it’s a conspiracy of the “evil” or not, lots of things depend on us. Understanding is the first step, so maybe by getting the right message, we can try to change again. I’m sure everyone misses their friends, friendships they used to have and enjoy so much. So why won’t we try and restore that? Finally feel like proper people with proper relationships. I’m sure it’ll help us a great deal.