10 December 2010

Online friends

Are online friends impairing real friendships?

Whether it is my phonebook or Facebook, I don’t keep contact info of people who don’t make an effort to keep in touch. I promptly delete profiles & numbers of people who add me as friend & then go missing. Months pass & not even a “Hi how are you?” If he doesn’t have the time to message or call/scrap/comment/post a line on the wall, why have him at all in my list?

The ‘friend list’ on FB/Orkut can easily turn into a mere contact list of social connections. Many so-called friends only have profiles, not faces. They share with us videos of cats chasing dogs or dogs chasing cows. (Don’t get me wrong; there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, it spices things up.) But I would also want us to go a step further than that. I would want us to share our lives, feelings, achievements, emotions, secrets, hopes & fears.

I’ve no desire to create any world record in having X number of online friends; particularly, if there is 0 level of actual connection with them. I would rather have just 5 people on my list & consciously try to be a part of their lives in more ways than one. Social networks reanimate a past relationship or help push a new one forward. But they cannot be the entire relationship. Because all said & done, things can get mechanical after a point. For me, FB/Orkut is a way to get closer to the people I really like & who I miss not having around me physically. The occasional phone calls, surprise visits, & impromptu online text chats, all these add spice to the otherwise stale online exchanges. These keep the relationship real & the feelings intense & mutual.

Same holds true for phone numbers. The 30-35 numbers I’ve on my cell phone are mostly of the people who call me or I call them, at least once in a fortnight. Even if we don’t always call, we may meet on google chat occasionally or write a mail sometimes or send an interesting forward or a funny sms. We inform each other if we changed jobs/delivered a baby/went on a holiday/not well/going through bad phase in our careers/life or whatever. But we touch base. THAT is the most important thing for me in a friendship – whether online or real.

I believe if 2 people are separated by space & time, cyber space is a great way to connect with each other. It spurs you to reestablish your contacts & work towards meeting each other or at least planning a future, possible, actual, face to face, interaction. For instance, I feel very much ‘close’ to a few of my school friends who are in different parts of the country or the world. That’s because we put in the effort & interest required to keep the spark alive.

What’s the fun in having 536 friends in my friends list? Or 200 numbers on my mobile phonebook? I can’t do things half way. If it lacks zeal & intensity, it isn’t for me. I would rather have just 10 people whom I am constantly in touch with than 100 people who I’ve added as friends but then never looked back. What’s the point in adding someone as a friend & not communicating with them? After all, it’s not like we are living on different planets. Everyone is just a phone call away. Make the effort! And keep it real!


  1. True, very true
    But not all thinks like
    They make profile on Facebook
    To show friends collection
    By this way
    They want to make impression
    Whether its boy or girl
    Having profile on fb
    It's actually a status symbol..

    P.S: I also want to delete most of them..I myself do not want keep the garbage...soon I will trash them..nicely written:):)

    1. thank you Mithlash :)
      first comment on this post after A YEAR of the post being written!!!
      makes this a very special comment :))

  2. oh u wrote it in 2010. but yeah it doesn't change the fact. i totally agree with u. i deactivated my facebook account when i realized ppl on my friendlist are just few names on the list. yes viewing someone's photographs or videos can be fun only when i m in some way connected with that person.

    cool post as always.

    1. isn't it? sans that connection it ends up just being a list

  3. Friendship has many faces.....FB one kind.....Phone call completely agree "just a call"...if you want to keep in touch definitely you can....it is the commitment and honesty in friendship matters not the mode of friendship.

    1. exactly! no two words on the fact that the 'mode' doesn't matter and yes, FB is one way to stay in touch & that we must :)
      and it is also true that sometimes we do find some online friends who share the same wavelength as us

  4. You have once again brought up a very important topic here. :) And that too very nicely. Friendship is such a wonderful feeling and as u said, all it takes is just a little bit of effort. I know how wonderful it feels if one of my friends call me after a long time or vice versa.

    With social networks/lists etc.., we do take friends for granted and in the process lose some wonderful friends. We think that we are in touch while all we know is where they are. (probably!) A little more effort and they will be part of our lives. :) Lovely post.

    1. yes, when the affection is mutual & sincere, it is well worth our effort at doing what it takes to maintain the touch

  5. Very true, I agree. Even I have friends in FB who I don't meet in person or don't interact quite often on phone or chat, who don't even ask "How are you?". They are just names in my friend list. But the fact is they would be saying the exact same thing about us and expect us to make the move of asking How are you and stuff first. In this way we hardly ever interact with each other online or in person.

    You would only interact on FB whom you meet everyday in person, in college or at work. The older friends will become just an old acquaintance with whom you don't speak much. Sad but that's how it is.

    As you say all we need to make a little more effort to maintain that friendship. :) Great post. :)

    1. your first para nicely described what happens in most cases which is very very true.

      in my case, i always do the knocking but when no one responds that's when it hurts & i say, "ok,fine.let it be" It's like some people don't even respond to the efforts made by the other person.