Friendship and its changes: lack of time and social networks

Friendship requires close and regular treatment, needs to be watered so as not to wither. But trusting in the generosity of the friend, we often relegate their care to the few free spaces of our busy schedules. In addition, many people focus on contact with friends through social networks that allows little to deepen because it develops in a group environment overly mediated by new technologies.

In order to keep friends, it is necessary to nurture the relationship of mutual affection and appreciation, and this must also be a voluntary decision made by both parties, because the neglect of one can only cool the friendship relationship. The writer Alfredo Alonso-Allende, author of the book friends (Word, dBolsillo, 2015), says that "being a friend is a task, a task, therefore, the definition of friendship is not born so much of what is itself as what it requires."

Friendship, what has changed in our social relationships?

The panorama of social relations is marked intensely by some important social changes that have especially affected the experience of friendship in youth and in adulthood. But what has changed in the last decades so that friendship is going through such low hours?

1. The lack of time has broken decisively. The complication of the agendas leaves little room for friendships. The rhythms of work impose routines from Monday to Friday that make it almost impossible to fit leisure moments.

2. Social networks focus contact with friends. Teens and young people share their hours between classes, extracurricular activities and sports, some extra class, the work of the subjects and a small daily contact with the family. When the friendship time comes, they focus on the contact through social networks.

3. In the moments of leisure little is deepened. During the weekend, the young people see themselves in their nocturnal outings, usually in quite numerous groups and in noisy spaces in which the conversation is little favored. Added to the consumption of alcohol, those moments are not those that encourage sincere friendship. In the day, they will continue to be linked through social networks, but they will forge very superfluous relationships, with little depth.

4. Adults prefer to spend the weekend with the family, very praiseworthy attitude, to which they have not been able to pay much attention during the week. It is a substantial change with previous generations in which marriages sought to have more social life during the holidays and leave the children in charge of other people.

Individualism and self-sufficiency, enemies of friendship

There is also a substantial change in the way of understanding trust. Postmodern individualism has led society to practice a false modesty and close to others in those aspects that refer to the feelings while, at the same time, air intimacies in which friendship would never enter and exposes private life through social networks and other communication channels.

Finally, certain lack of generosity, derived possibly from this individualism and the feeling of self-sufficiency that society tries to impose on us is also taking its toll on friendships. The postmodern man believes he is capable of facing all challenges, hence he has abandoned the idea of ​​family as sustenance, that of faith and also that of friendship.

But if we become aware of all these limitations, we discover how easily friendships can recover and the beneficial effect they exert on us and our environment, as long as we are happier and reflect that happiness on others.

Alicia Gadea

More information in the book friends, by the author Alfredo Alonso-Allende. Word, dBolsillo, 2015

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