Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Modern Friend

            Be patient, this post is going to be a serious one.  Yes, I am taking a break from having my normal fun.  The reason for this is simple.  I recently saw a national news story that disturbed me and I wanted to comment on it.  Not only comment on it, but expound on it, put my own slant on it.  Is it on terrorism?  The national debt?  The so-called global warming?  No, none of those.

            This has to do with friendship.  The story had to do with a trend with current teens and the dropping number of them getting driver’s licenses.  They speculated the answer was that teens seemed to be more content to stay at home and converse with their “friends” online by texting or other means of social media.

            Wow!  Our generation couldn’t wait to get our license so we could get as many kids in the car as possible just to cruise around and socialize face to face.  Friday and Saturday nights, no matter if your town contained 200 people or 2 million meant wandering around in a virtual parade of vehicles loaded with teenagers.  Times have changed and not for the good.

            We had friends.  These kids have acquaintances.  Should we be surprised though?  Look at society in general today.  Look at ourselves.  Do you know the names of the people who live to the left of you?  To the right?  How about across the street?  Behind you?  If you needed them in an emergency, do you have one of their phone numbers?  Do they have yours?

            About two years ago, I wrote a post on friends and I defined them as someone as if you were in a jam, they would be the ones coming IN the door when everyone else was going out the door.  That is the difference between friends and acquaintances.  How many true friends do you have?  How many friends will these kids have?

            What is a friend?  A friend is a person you spill your guts to about anything because a relative will judge you.  A friend is a person who rushes to you in the middle of the night when you are sick no questions ask.  A friend is a person will go to the school to get your kids picked up when your car breaks down and then circle back to get you.  A friend is the person you wake up to in the hospital who relieved your family so they could get a break.  A friend is who runs to you to share their good news with first.  A friend is the person you can be with when no words are even necessary.

            The modern friend?  Texting 50 words of wonderful intimate caring talk, or how about tweeting?  You can’t possible get the tone of what the person intends from the words.  Nice way to build a relationship.  Not.  Their idea of talking to a friend over dinner is to take a picture at a restaurant and post it on Facebook, not take them to dinner.

            I am far from an expert on friendship.  From 1979 until 2013 I was in chronic pain.  From 1987 on, that pain lasted 24 hours a day, causing fatigue, depression, anger, and no friends.  I drove away anyone who ever tried to get close to me, except for the three people on this blog and a couple others, and of course Lana and our kids.  I’m still learning how to be and how to make friends.  I’m not good at it.  I tend to tick off these three at times.  The good thing about being friends is we can talk it out and forgive each other.  Acquaintances can’t.  After I came out of pain, I went through a sort of PTSD thing.  I was over zealous trying to make new friends because I hadn’t made any on my part for so long.  People tend to take it the wrong way.  I drove away a couple potential life-long friends.  They still will not sit down and talk to me about it and let me explain.  I don’t know why they dropped me like a hot rock.  Perhaps they thought I was nuts.  Maybe we were just incompatible.  Maybe they had issues themselves.  I would have preferred the truth because we were headed for friendship prior to my PTSD problems.  Friends talk, acquaintances don’t. 

I’ve learned a lot about friends in the past couple of years.  That is why that news story bothered me so much.  The three people on this blog are real friends.  They will tell me to my face when I am wrong and we can talk about it and everything will be okay.  The thing is, we will do that talking face to face over coffee or a meal at Perkins.  We do that because we have a driver’s license.    

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