Disposable Relationships

I remember a time in my life when contacting a friend meant speaking to them in person. This was achieved by either sporadic running across neighborhood yards to each other’s doors, memorizing their phone number and dialing at the speed of light, or passing a top secret note in class. Each form of communication involved a level of dedication and risk. There was always a chance that the friend might not be home or respond in a way I would not like, but because I had to deal with these issues in real time, I had no option but to accept it.

Today, humility is removed from communication. I can send a text, respond to a comment, or email a potential employer with little invested. If my tone was misinterpreted, sure I would be upset, but never did I have to deal with my disappointment in person. I did all of the correspondence virtually, and therefore, never had to publicly deal with the situation.

Modern social media has taken the inherent risk out of developing relationships. Without the risk factor, relationships are more easily formed and more easily disposable. Concrete relationships need dedication on both sides, not a virtual connection that leaves both with a mediocre friendship and lonely behind their screens.

5 thoughts on “Disposable Relationships

  1. I respectfully disagree. I’ve cultivated some of the best and most concrete relationships and friendships online over the years, and actually believe that our use of what was considered to be social media at the time (AIM, Yahoo Messenger, MySpace, Bebo) actually brought us closer together because we formed communities within those spaces. While I do agree that sometimes using the Internet to communicate can be a little dehumanizing, I don’t think that relationships formed online should be written off as easily disposable.

  2. Erica-
    While I do see your opinion in this matter, I feel that some of the best relationships I have are maintained through social media platforms. There are friends that I met during my time abroad who didn’t speak English. I met these people during my travels and was only able to communicate through body language. After connecting on social media platforms, we were able to translate our thoughts into the different languages and learn that we had a lot in common. One French woman has become a pen-pal of mine (via Facebook) and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. She tells me about current French events and her opinions on political matters. In return, I do the same. I educate her on my life at Syracuse and tell her my own personal opinions. While I do agree that sometimes social media hinder communication, most of the time I believe it to be a beneficial tool.

  3. I think this is really interesting to think about the removal of risk from communication in relationships. I never really thought about how communication has evolved from when I called my friends as a child on their home phone number to texting or messaging those same friends now. Another great point you make is job applications and employment. How often do we now apply for a job and never hear back from that company? It’s common to us, whereas not too long ago a phone call or face-to-face communication would translate that we did in fact not get the job we wanted. Over all, you make great parallels to describe the “then” and “now” of social media.

  4. Erica,
    This is a very interesting point that you address. The risk that we no longer experience with modern social media is drastically changing the relationships we form. I too remember memorizing my friend’s phone numbers or running to my neighbor’s house and knocking on their door without knowing if someone was home. The virtual connections we create today often leave us with mediocre or easily disposable friendships. Although modern social media has created so much positivity today, it’s extremely important to recognize the effect it’s having on our relationships. I think this awareness will help to combat the negative effects we often experience.

  5. As someone in a long distance relationship, interacting with my boyfriend and our friends on social media allows me to feel like I can be immersed in our collective day-to-day life that I don’t think would be possible in an earlier age. Surely, social media can’t be an ultimate substitute for building an in-person relationship, but it definitely makes me feel like I’m still an active part of a far-away community.

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