This article hopes to explore the diminishing tendency to spend time with friends that many seem to experience as society ferments and progresses.
Though difficult to prove, it seems that people are spending less time socializing face to face with their friends. The days of simply meeting up without an item on the agenda tend to come far and few in between.
Disclaimer: This article is not placing blame on the individual nor the systems which entice the individual lead a life with less social interaction. It is written as an observation in hopes of providing a little clarity to a confusing phenomenon.
The Difference Between Cause and Effect
You may have noticed yourself adopting a solo, “Lone Wolf,” approach to the things you do as time rolls onward. Through you haven’t lost the friends you have, your desire to socialize with them may seldom feel urgent.
The topic of technology’s effect on our social lives is an underlying theme to everything written on this page.
A principal assumption being made here is that the continued improvement of technology for personal use and social connection has at least disrupted the way we socialize. Whether these disruptions have netted positive results is yet to be seen and proven.
Busy schedules are often cited as the reason we may be seeing our friends less. Though busy schedules seem to be important in relation to the underlying processes at play, they are simply a product of them, not the root cause behind why we spend less time with one another.
A Series of Appetizers Relieve Desperation for the Full Course, but Don’t Satisfy on Their Own
Your friends travel with you in the pocket you carry your cell phone in. Your ability to send communications to those who need information has never been as easy and effective.
You can exchange information with your friends and colleagues through the various messaging apps, social networks, and emails if you’re so inclined. You can call them, send them funny videos, and discuss last night’s sporting events. You can even venture deep into your feelings about your current state of living, and ask them for advice on whether you should switch careers without ever seeing them face to face.
These avenues for connecting with those in our social circles do well to complement, but never seem to replace, seeing them face to face. In person, face to face, communication brings with it a fulfilling richness which seems impossible to emulate online…for now.
What communication through electronic means does well, is it enables us to quickly catch up after a long time away from one another. It satisfies a certain hunger that we have.
“I’ve started working at a new firm,” you might text your friend.
“That’s awesome! I’m thinking of switching roles as well,” they might write back.
You’ve caught up. Your hunger for sharing your update has been satiated. Your thirst for an update from someone you care for has been quenched too. You wouldn’t have seen them face to face, but your burning desire to do so wouldn’t feel as pressing after that exchange through text.
Electronic communication does well to curb our lonesome feelings without completely satisfying our desire to socially interact. Stuck in the middle between lonesomeness and satisfaction, we often can’t muster up the motivation required to go out and see others in person.
The Competitive Mindset Has Seeped Into Trivialities
Limited, but overwhelmingly vast access to information online has unquestionably improved our lives. If you really wanted to, you can learn how to build a house yourself with nobody to guide you and hold your hand. You truly have the ability to become as knowledgeable as you are curious.
Much like you’ve found this article online, you can find content which teaches you how to win in various domains. If you search hard enough, you can find out how to win in every aspect of every day. You can learn about which car is the most reliable to own, and which brand of roof shingles comes with the best warranty.
The capacity to label, understand, and rank almost every aspect of our lives introduces competition to areas you’d never imagined yourself to be competitive in.
You’ll start looking at your neighbor’s shingles with victorious glee as you realize you’ve made the better decision in purchasing the ones you did. You’ll notice that your friends’ shoes don’t match their belt, and will pride yourself on being more fashion forward..
Trivial, but impactful information seems to lead to competitive desires which we often misjudge to be more important than maintaining a healthy relationship. In doing so, the age of information has opened up more windows to compete.
Our friends are difficult to disassociate from our desires to win the various contests we deem to be important. The mix of widespread comparison, information, and ability to keep tabs on our peers’ progress with one swipe often blurs the distinction between friend and competitor.
Strong Relationships Have Been Omitted From the Definition of Success
The little competitions we conjure seep into our relationships with our friends. The competition of attaining status, power, money, and authority is perhaps the most dangerous one of all.
Our ability to see and emulate how the rich, powerful, and successful live and conduct themselves does well to motivate us to emulate their habits and traits. People find it rather difficult to resist the prospect of a luxurious, comforting life. The “success” mindset spreads like wildfire by way of online means.
The lessons taught by those more successful than ourselves seem to center around dedication to your craft, and a sacrifice of today’s comforts in exchange for tomorrow’s luxuries. Those who adopt an easygoing, apathetic perspective on monetary success are consistently painted as unmotivated losers from the perspective of those who race toward the payday.
After a day’s worth of lessons on how to be successful in their domain, your requests to simply hang out with friends will be viewed through a tinted lens. You’ll seem undesirable for being willing to spend your time on nothing more than simple social interaction. In comparison, you’ll be less important than your friend’s dream of financial independence, or their desire to get a promotion.
It is here where busy schedules come into the picture.
Those who’ve adopted the, “Every minute counts,” approach to the attainment of wealth will find themselves deciding between spending time with you and working harder to chase their goals. Their goals however, seldom involve the development and maintenance of meaningful relationships.
They’ll be willing to work overtime hours, and will go on to invest money in things which build their status. They’ll take courses as they work toward a certification, and they’ll enroll in classes which get them closer to another degree. It’s difficult to label them wrong for doing so.