May 6, 2015
We “met” one summer a couple years ago, and hit it off instantly. You were a person I was happy to know, happy to be associated with. Our interests were similar, our senses of humor were similar, we felt as though we’d found our twins. Best friends, we said. Best friends forever, even. Well I’m sorry, but I didn’t know one year and six months equaled forever. Now that I think of it, I didn’t know two people could become best friends forever after a couple days. That was partly my fault, though. But now you’re gone. You and many, many others.
What’s funny is that it hurt when we split. Funny because the more I think back on it, the more absurd it sounds. I “knew” you for a split second of my life, but somehow thought I had you figured out. We were “friends.” But we were total strangers. And then we eventually fought and split for good. Two clicks and voila! I’d never known you, and you didn’t exist. Our entire past—All eighteen months’ worth—never happened. Except… You did exist, you had existed, and somewhere in the world, you would continue to do so.
We were “friends,” and then we weren’t. Just like that.
So what, really, does the word friend mean? According to the dictionary: a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard. Well, that was true, except there was nothing personal about our interactions. I didn’t know much about you, nor you about me. We just thought we did. We knew the positives, not so much the negatives. And since it was online, it was all the more vague, as the internet tends to make us. So I’ve come up with a new definition for the word friend, as better fits my generation.
This definition contradicts the “proper” definition of friend, and the first half of the definition contradicts the last half. But it’s true. Online we can talk to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Want to find a twenty-seven year old German woman to speak with? Just do a quick google search, because there are more than enough with those qualifications who are just as eager to speak with someone like you. While our ancestors only knew those in their general vicinity, or heard of others by word of mouth only, we have direct contact to anyone with an internet connection. This should draw us closer as a people, shouldn’t it?
But this is where the E.N.D of the definition comes into play. Because while we have virtually unlimited access to each other as individuals, we also have unlimited access to delete, backspace and block keys. So as easily as we invite these people into our lives, we can cancel them out and move on to the next. We can refine everything we say through text, tweaking and snipping and taking ten minutes to write a response that someone will read in five seconds.
For this reason, we can barely function in reality, where there aren’t backspace keys to refine our speech, or block buttons when someone gets on our nerves. We can’t take the perfect selfie to stick on our heads so we only show our very best faces to the world at all times. There aren’t inconspicuous chat boxes we can open and close when we choose. We have to think before we speak, communicate when someone irritates us, accept we can’t always look perfect (and know that it’s okay), and we sometimes have to have conversations we don’t want to have.
What is this world coming to when we can just delete “friends” at the touch of a button, block them, and never have to see or deal with them again? No wonder relationships don’t work anymore. We’re no longer used to working through disagreements and/or sticking things out. At least attempting to fix things. I’m not talking about abusive situations. I’m not even talking about romances. I’m talking about any relationship. Familial, friendly, romantic, and even relationships with strangers.
When ten people are sitting in a room, supposedly there to socialize, and every last one is on a smart phone and/or computer… I don’t have any words. When one person attempts to start an intelligent conversation and the rest look as though the person has some nerve vocalizing what should be a text message…
As a generation, we are more connected than ever before, but we are also extremely divided. People are stuck in their ways, and no one seems to think this is a problem, so… nothing I can do. Maybe I should just join in and give up.
So you, the “friend” I had and lost. The one who promised me forever then dropped me at first fight. The person who no longer exists in the world (or so the internet tells me). You, who I was so sure had my back in all situations and who I thought I knew better than you knew yourself—Yes, you—
Nice to see you again.
Your best F.R.I.E.N.D
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