Social Media Friend vs Real Friends
What makes a true friendship anymore? Is it whether or not the person knows your birthday, or how many hours you spend talking on the phone or hanging out in person? With all the ways we can communicate now — Skype, ICQ, AIM, Gchat, Facebook Messenger, Grindr, etc. — and with all the people on our buddy lists, who are we really friends with? Is it possible to have friends who are purely for the Internet and others you interact with in real life? What’s the difference?
What Are Social Media Friends?
What exactly defines a “social media friend?” Some will say they are you’re friends on Facebook, but others will refer to these people as Facebook friends as well. Social media friends are those people you talk to online, but never meet in real life. Often they will want to meet you, and if you’re not ready to meet them, you’re not a true friend.
Social media friends have no in-person relationship with you. This makes it easier for these people to get close to you, and for you to ignore their advances without knowing it.Not all friends fit the exact same definition of social media friend. A friend doesn’t have to be on social media, and many people do not use the same networks.
One of the main reasons many online friendships become online friendships is because it’s difficult to meet up in person. With the exception of a few super popular websites and apps like Tinder and OkCupid, it is very difficult for most people in the US to meet up with someone they have never met before in person. Not only is it difficult to find a common interest with someone in another country, but people in other countries also have a hard time connecting with someone they have never met.
Let’s say you just moved to another country where you don’t know anyone. You start talking to this guy on Twitter and go out on a date with him. Afterwards, he and his friends tell you to email him whenever you need anything, which you think is a really sweet and nice thing to do, right? Social Media friends aren’t your friends in real life. They don’t know you or your life. They don’t share in the struggles of real life, the good times or the bad. They won’t call you when you’re in a bind, nor will they celebrate your success with you.
Social Media friends are shallow, fleeting and only friends on the Internet.“Are you your friend on Facebook?” I had a patient once who told me that she didn’t have time to go through all the people on her friends list, as there were too many to actually be her true friends. (Her doctor said the same thing. But that’s another story). Social Media friends don’t show up in person. They don’t text you to say “hi” or to ask how you’re doing. They don’t call you to tell you they’re out shopping for the perfect pair of boots for a wedding.
We all have ‘social media friends’ – you know who I’m talking about. The people you chat with over Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms. But there are a lot of people out there who never talk to you unless you’re connected through a social media site.
Social media friends are a controversial topic — and it’s one that’s caused quite a stir over the years. Some people think of them as the friend you’d make with your favourite band or a true fan of your favourite show. Social Media friends are people we follow and/or follow us. Facebook friends, Twitter followers, Instagram followers. We find some people interesting, we like to follow them, and then they follow us back.
This has the benefit of a casual connection without the pressure of in-person, one-on-one interaction. We can hold a superficial conversation, often nothing more than basic pleasantries, but it’s a connection. And for those who have active social media presence, it’s a connection to other people, with whom they’re often sharing photos, links, etc. When I think of a “social media friend,”
I think of someone you’ve never met, but you “friend” and interact with regularly on a social media platform. You’re friends because you may have shared a link to something they posted or commented on something they shared, and now they feel obligated to reply to you or keep “favouriting” your posts.
This is the social media equivalent of “blood-related.” I don’t think anyone says, “Oh, I am not a social media friend, I just ‘like’ him or her,” because to me, that’s the same as saying, “He or she is not my blood relative.” You’re not just friends, you’re “in a relationship.” But in this case, it’s not reciprocal. It’s not reciprocal because “In a relationship, you both pay attention to each other.”
Advantages Of Social Media Friends
The Internet can bring you together with people you probably haven’t seen in years. You can gain lots of fans (or followers) through social media that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to, You can learn a lot from people from other places who share the same interests, culture, hobbies, etc. You can get advice from people who are on similar paths as you, and you can learn from their mistakes.
Social media can also allow people to stay in touch and bond over similar interests with people all around the world, And it also allows people to connect with people from all walks of life and educate themselves on different issues and cultures. However, social media can be a double-edged sword too. Social media friends live in a virtual world, away from the reality of your day-to-day life.
It’s easy to believe the virtual life is more valuable and important than the real one, even though there’s probably no true comparison. In fact, there is a big difference. Social media makes you feel like you’re getting closer to a friend, that you’re getting to know them more, like through a good movie. What makes a good movie and a good friendship is a little different though. Social media isn’t all bad. In fact, it’s a great platform for friendships and connections.
People with similar interests will naturally gravitate towards each other. This allows for all kinds of interaction and exchange of information. People may reach out to you because they feel connected to you through social media. In some cases, they actually do want to meet in real life. People can develop friendships through these types of relationships. The friends you make can potentially influence your life.
They may have positive influences. Or negative influences. But you never really know who you’re friends with. It’s easy to have a wide circle of social media friends who may never meet in person. In fact, some of your Facebook friends may never even meet in real life! Social media friends are always there for you. They’re the first to acknowledge your milestones and achievements, they’re the first to share your greatest stories and they’re the ones who you can share the ups and downs of your day with.
They’re the ones who know everything about you, your family, your friends, your work, your interests and you, and it’s something special that only you and the friend can share. The friend is also loyal and available. Even when they’re busy they check up on you. They’ll try to find you and be there for you. Not all the friends you have online will be there for you when you need them, but some will, and that’s the best part.
Dangers Of Social Media Friends
I do think we sometimes over-share on social media. Sometimes a too-loud response on Twitter is fine, and others, like a post where someone you barely know is insulting you, isn’t. However, I do think the medium of social media has allowed a lot of people to be so overly open about their lives that they forget that in the real world, no one will read every single post.
Someone will still feel hurt, betrayed, and just upset when they read something someone they barely know said about them. People need to remember that in real life they aren’t going to be reading your every single status update. Social media friends are easier to start but also harder to maintain. If they don’t add you to their friend list, you can easily just look up their profile and see if you’re friends.
As you get to know a person online, it’s easy to form feelings for them, but they can never have feelings for you. Once you form a friendship with someone you meet online, the real-life aspect of that friendship is often overlooked. While the friends you meet on the Internet are open to sharing everything with you, they aren’t always willing to do the same with their friends in real life.
Consider the perils of keeping the friendship alive online: Most people lie about how active they are online. They will post “high activity” messages on Twitter, then spend the weekend not communicating with anyone. Or they will tell friends they spent the weekend in the hospital when really they just got some kind of flu. People with online personas will delete or hide the personas that they don’t want other people to see.
Sure, we can stay in contact with each other. But is that enough? I’ve been on Facebook with friends who don’t live nearby and still manage to spend a lot of time talking online. On the other hand, I’ve seen friends who have gotten a lot closer and become best friends with people they haven’t met in real life — and I’ve seen a number of those relationships fall apart.
A friend who shares only his new photos on Facebook probably isn’t a good friend. However, a friend who discusses their day, then comments on that day’s pictures, is certainly not a friend in the traditional sense. If we spend the majority of our time in virtual communication, how do we know what’s real and what’s false?
How The Internet Has Changed Friendships
Technology is a powerful tool, and it’s also dangerous. Friendships are powerful and can cause a lot of trauma. When you add technology and let it become a communication platform, those friendships become powerful and deadly. A recent study in The BMJ medical journal examined online friendships, looking at the brains of those who felt more strongly about their friendships than those who didn’t.
What they found was a correlation between how someone perceived the strength of their relationship and the level of dopamine and serotonin levels in their brain. Have you had the kind of friend who was your shoulder to cry on and your confidante? When you were scared, they were there to calm your fears and soothe your worries. When you were angry, they would help you process it and be your support.
When you were happy, they would cheer you on and cheer you up. And when you were sad, they would always have a shoulder for you to lean on. All you had to do was take a moment and reach out. Imagine a world where all these people who cared about you were online — interacting with you on the internet, but that doesn’t mean they actually “saw” you.
As the internet has grown and evolved, people have found themselves a new and valuable way to converse, connect and grow with people all around the world. But there’s a difference between having online friends and real friends. Online friends are nothing more than digital or digital-analog hybrid friends.
On the one hand, it’s a good thing that people from all over the world have an opportunity to meet new people and interact, but it’s also a bit scary because so many people now have their very identity tied to social media, and their lives can be documented all over the web.“The Internet has been a huge boon for society, the economy and democracy in general. But it’s had a negative impact on some relationships and social groups.
What Are Real-Life Friends?
A Real-Life friend is someone you spend more than five minutes with that you would consider a friend in a true sense. Even if you do not talk with them often. Real-life friends have high trust and low judgment. That means they always tell you the truth and they never judge you. The one who you can confide in, who never holds a grudge or will lie to you about something.
A person you will never stop being friends with no matter what, like the ones in the My Little Pony cartoon. A real-life friend will probably tell you the same thing she would tell a friend through text but will do it in person. Although they can be completely different from friends on social media, there are some common traits all of us have in common. We should all learn to be more selective about whom we choose to allow into our lives, whether we’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or anywhere else.
Real-life friends understand your baggage; they know what’s going on in your life, and they aren’t going to judge you for the choices you’ve made. These are the people you could call if you had a bad day or someone passed away, they'd be there for you no matter what. They're the people you'd get dinner or drinks with, where you'd have the best time with a cocktail in your hand.
They might even help you with household chores or be there to take care of your kid for you so you can go out on a date night. Real-life friends don't care about what you posted online or if you've updated your Facebook recently. Real-life friends know the real you and they accept you for who you are. They care about what you're doing in your day-to-day life, but they don't constantly want to hear about your phone screen.
Advantages Of Having Real-Life Friends
Being able to be physical with your friends is important. More than anything, physically being able to hug your best friend can improve your friendship. Real-life friendships can offer us better role models. Real-life friends are often the ones that teach you the most about life. This often translates into more fulfilling adult relationships.
As for child support, it might actually work. What if a situation arises where we can’t stand each other? It’s important that we have multiple friendships so that we’re not living in a single isolated bubble. It’s also extremely difficult to spend a whole day with a handful of real-life friends. You can’t even say the same thing to all of them and the physical time involved with living in the same city can be challenging.
Real-life friends allow us to have more practical connections to people. These friends allow us to grow our own experience in a similar environment, to learn and grow ourselves, to come home to, to learn from. Friends are a comfort, a good feeling to have, to be able to call out when we need a break.
They are a true sense of family. The downside is that we are not the center of attention anymore. It’s someone else’s turn to look good, have fun, listen to our stories. We cannot be the center of attention anymore. They can look down on us and no one is there to look out for us. We may not be able to get an insight to a new client as easily as before. With new technology, there are more ways to connect to our community, but it may not always be what we are looking for.
What Makes A True Friendship
Is it whether or not the person knows your birthday, or how many hours you spend talking on the phone or hanging out in person? As a person on the Internet for more than years, I can confidently say that, yes, there are real friends that I can turn to any time and talk to whenever I want. But there are also people I'm not really friends with — we know each other casually and we talk every so often online.
Sometimes, they call me out of the blue to hang out, and I always say yes. I wouldn't say I have a true friendship with them, because we don't spend a lot of time together in person, but that's not what matters. You also run into the other side of the spectrum. There are people who you spend a lot of time with online and people you hang out with in person. Some people have been calling social media the death of a friend — but it may not be true. We are still, after all, biologically wired to be social creatures.
Why would we want to stay alone and isolated when we can interact with and help other people via social media? Plus, what’s wrong with finding people who share your interests online? It's almost impossible to make it a whole day without seeing someone online on social media.
It’s common to have a list of all your closest friends on a select group of sites and with each click, each like, and every new group messaging that comes through, you forget that these are real people — someone you can have a conversation with, a friend with, a fellow-passenger on a bus, or a colleague at work. On top of this, there’s the ever-increasing separation between what’s important in our lives and what we spend our time on. Social media is everywhere, but few of us put enough time into it.
The Difference Between Real-Life Friends And Social Media Friends
The difference between Internet or social media friends and real-life friends is that the Internet makes us able to reach out to people and create deep bonds in a way we couldn’t before. People you knew from high school and college who you lost touch with because life has taken you to different cities, or different worlds, might not actually be your true friends. To be clear, I am not saying that one is better than the other, nor am I saying one is “better.” I am saying they are different.
They are all amazing things and each deserves its own attention and love. But just like a physical relationship can grow into passionate love and be a lifelong commitment, I think a social relationship that stems from friendship, without the chemistry, can end in heartbreak and leave you empty.
We all have friends of varying degrees. Some of them we see every day, and some of them we see occasionally. We might not even talk to each other all the time, but when we do, we pick up right where we left off.
What Does This Mean For Our Future Friendships?
We live in an on-demand world where the only constant in our friend groups is change. We live in a world where our Facebook friends don’t even know what’s going on in our lives, and our Facebook friends who are friends with our real-life friends can’t even get the time of day out of us.
Is it even possible to have a truly real friendship with someone in this society where relationships are a plaything that’s always on the back burner while our friends are constantly accessible? How will this affect how we build and maintain relationships in the future? How did the people we now refer to as friends all find each other? Does this mean that people will no longer ever have true friends because we’ll always have these friendships on-demand?
I’ve learned a lot throughout this process and I’m still learning. Each time I discover something new I’m amazed all over again at just how complicated the social world is. Everyone thinks that they know how to navigate these waters, but at the end of the day they’re all trying to do the same thing. We all want friends, but how can we be sure if a person is a good friend? I think this is a great example of how much we don’t know about human relationships, and how much we’re still learning as we go along.
I trust you enjoyed this article about Social Media Friend vs Real Friends. Would you please stay tuned for more articles to come? Take care!
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Thoughts? Ideas? Questions? I would love to hear from you. Please leave me your questions, experiences, remarks, and suggestions about Social Media Friend vs Real Friends in the comments below. You can also contact me by email at Jeannette@WorkFromAnywhereInTheWorld.com.
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