How are your friendship metrics—got lots of pals? Would you rate them five stars or less? Are they helping you live your best life?
We can quantify everything now—from our steps on Fitbit to our literary consumption on Goodreads. As a result, we feel we must make everything and everyone count for something. That’s a phenomenon which is both distressing and depressing as it applies to friendship.
Scan the internet and you’ll see no end of posts advising you to toss toxic friends and surround yourself with people who make you feel good instead. The current cultural discourse suggests that friends are people who we use to improve ourselves, and get rid of when the going gets tough or if we’re not having enough fun. One BuzzFeed article goes so far as to suggest forgetting a birthday is a dump-worthy offense, while a Cosmopolitan article recommends tossing friends who binge-drink on a Saturday night.
The way we talk about friendship paints an ugly picture of the new notion of relating—one that seeks maximum return on minimal investment, and outlines an exit strategy anytime a friend doesn’t fulfill our fantasies. These posts reveal more about the toxicity of our society than the negative people they’re describing. It’s friendship as a capitalistic exchange, instead of relationships involving people who care about each other, hanging out, and helping each other through life’s ups and downs.
It’s enough to make you want to cry into a beer with a confidante—you know, a close friend of the kind that’s going out of style.
(Via Quartz » Technology)