How many people do you know personally?
1227 Facebook friends? 300 over the space 10 years employment?
How many phone numbers have you memorised? Who’s birthday do you not need a notification for?
If you were to make a phone call are you certain it would be answered, regardless of the time, day or night? There are few and far between that just know a voice will be on the other end. Over the past few years, and I guess as anyone gets older they start to become exclusive of who they share their thoughts to. They’re unlikely friends and people I never would imagine to be in my life the ways that they are or have to meet in the situations that we did, but that’s just it. They are a part of it. Very few, and some very different to one another.
Conversations can vary on our lives, who we are, what has tore us down and what picked us right back up or even laughing until we cry and in those moments we are truly happy in our own little bubble of friendship nostalgia. When I need them the right person has lit up on my phone screen, like some psychic connection.
As nights go on, the phone calls turn into hours, late nights turn into mornings and voices turn into yawns and no matter what messed up shit comes out of your mouth, nothing said or heard is judged. It’s a different nature of friendship.
It isn’t stopping into a workplace for a quick hug and hello while frantically running off. It isn’t a surprising face that puts a grin on you for a few minutes until you part.
This kind of friendship is the loyalty that holds your sanity. These people are my backbone. They’re the voice that gets me to fight battles. The angel on my left and the devil on my right.
It is the defending voice when a tarnished opinion is overheard. A type of loyalty that is a rarity among our social circles. The more people we meet in life; the cracks start to show. You can watch it in a crowd of people, or small town. This is where you will get labelled a bitch when you haven’t accepted someone’s Facebook request. I’ve been absolutely blasted for it, much to my own amusement.
In saying this, I have also had some decent chats in this informal way of friendship, and put grudges to rest. I once received a message from a biologist, a young American man, Davey. He was asking about how I got into my career and the type of work that it involved. He had studied in Australia and had many friends here. We spoke quite a bit, not excessively but it was friendly, and always a good conversation about the environmental world and our profession. About 2 weeks later I scrolled through my newsfeed and started to see RIP posts to his wall. Shocked, I googled the news from a small American town and there it was, he had been the victim in a hit and run. Killed instantly in the early hours of the morning.
Friendship is sparked up from different ways, and in 2016, cyber space is easier than walking up to someone in the street. Maybe it’s because we can delete and forget, or our worry is hidden behind a computer screen. It is kind of concerning that we are becoming a generation that is adapting to social interaction via a monitor, rather than a friendly date. Maybe this is what causes our increasing rate of anxiety in children.
Please don’t walk up to me and say anything friendly, I will freak out. Just stalk and message me on Facebook like a normal person?
It really is that sad of us. Personally, I will always give my time if you come up and say something to me in the street. I’m not saying we would click or have some magical friendly spark, but you will get a response, and I will remember you.
I don’t like persistent Facebook messaging.
If there is social interaction, more often than not, there isn’t much active listening going on.
I learnt this technique in workshops, and it got me thinking, we need to be taught how to actively listen. This means, genuinely putting our thoughts aside and not interrupting someone in a conversation. Really? We should just be doing that. But we don’t. Next time try notice who you actively listen to.
We are constantly waiting for the opportunity to put in our two cents. As soon as you know the topic, you stop listening, losing all concentration while trying to concoct some intelligent response to a conversation you’re not even attending.
Then there is the issue of false friends. Disingenuous people. I hear it all the time. Everyone casually greets one another sometimes followed with a snide remark. One man or woman will talk about their dislike of another, while others nod and agree, laugh it off or pretend they don’t hear what is said about their friend. What is friendship if they can’t defend you in your absence? It just red flags the people who don’t deserve your time. Don’t let it be safe for anyone to trash your friends in front of you. Be their defending voice.
Someone once said to me, “Do you know why I love you… you’d do anything for me, you’d bury a body for me”
I smirked, and we both knew that’s exactly what I would do.
I’m about to be 25 and it has become less about what materialistic things we have in common and more about the people we are.
Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are
I’ll never personally know many people, Facebook is an expenditure of false friendships and I change my phone number that many times, you’ll have it if I want you to have it.
But I hope the ones I keep closest, know how much they mean to me; after all they are the ones that made me the person I am today. I take comfort in their voice from a thousand miles away. They are my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Everyone needs someone or some few they can see as the key to their cage, because it is golden.
It is love.
It is loyalty.