During my lifetime I’ve made lasting friendships with barely a handful of my fellow human beings. These are my closest and dearest friends, those who accept me warts and all, not that I have any you understand.
We all have many acquaintances we can name, but those closest to us, if we’re truthful, can be counted on the fingers of our hands – in my own case on the fingers of one hand.
Since the internet exploded into existence, the phenomena of friends and friendship, has taken on a whole new meaning. Most social sites these days have ways built into them designed for the user to ‘collect’ friends. To my mind, this is a lot like collecting bubble gum pictures, or the cigarette cards of old, or even – god forbid – engine numbers while trainspotting!
Despite what the originators of these sites may have in mind, these ‘friendships’ are in effect nothing more than acquaintanceships, no matter how they couch them. The likely-hood of any of us actually meeting face to face is remote in the extreme. Each of us chooses what we wish the other users to know. None of us fully reveals everything about ourselves, now do we?
For instance, who among the billions living in internet land really wants to know whether or not I am a chain smoking writer, who loves drinking best English bitter all day, while listening to classical music or the blues, largely intolerant of today’s younger generation and the times we live in, who prefers his own company, and whose idea of luxury is wearing old jeans and tatty old t-shirts for days on end with a fag in my mouth – whoops!
Still, all any of my many internet friends had to do was simply ask…