The changing landscape of friendships

Part of the reason why I took to blogging regularly is my diminishing social eco-system (including family, colleagues, bus friends, walking friends, playmates, etc) when I moved out of the city that I’d lived all my life in. Of course, it was compensated to an extent by my new found routine in Barcelona that included wonderful flatmates and teammates. But life away from “home” gives you enough reasons to value companionship more than you ever did. So it boggles me to see that the order of things have changed today – even with friends who were once a part of your daily ecosystem, you need to text before you call and you need to call before you visit. All this just because they are no longer a part of your physical ecosystem anymore.

Being in the same time zone and unlimited voice calls makes it tempting to stay in touch with friends here, more regularly than they’d want me to. I use the time I walk back home to call my friends. But, apparently calling people is so 20th century according to one of my friends. To put things into context, this friend and I are FaceTime buddies and so, he’s used to seeing my pretty face while we speak and so it’s perfectly understandable that he’d get disoriented if he didn’t see me while we spoke. Also, I might have crossed the line earlier today when I made a 60 second call to share a random passing thought.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of this scene from the movie “America America”, where Hema (who plays Bhoomika) visits her neighbour’s house unannounced and the neighbour enlightens her about the order of business in the US – you call first before landing up at someone’s doorstep. In our generation, the order of things stands at texting before calling. Unannounced calls are reserved only for deaths and fires that have ghastly consequences unlike glaring visions of vomit all over town on game day. If you thought calling someone unannounced is bad enough, even staying in touch can strain friendships in our generation.

Another friend explained a few days ago that she’d had a fall out with her best friend of several years simply because despite having moved apart and living very different lives in different cities, this best friend expected my friend to stay in touch regularly without having anything concrete to discuss in every call. This made me wonder if we are commitment phobic not just with romantic relationships but all kinds of relationships because it makes us needy, vulnerable and susceptible to getting hurt. Why else would we want out of good friendships that offer great emotional support?

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