Deep Thoughts on Friendship and Facebook

Happy Monday Everyone! I am so glad to be back at my keyboard today after a very exciting week offline. I’ve been coaching the biathlon team for my son’s Air Cadet Squadron and this weekend was their first competition. They had a great time and I have to say it felt so good to be back out on the course again after many, many years away from the sport.

Photo of Biathlon Team taken by myself.

Then to add to the excitement, I got this text from my daughter halfway through the competition….

Engagement Ring! Photo credit P. Gordon

Yes, wedding bells will be ringing soon!

While going to and fro this week I’ve been mulling over and considering something from last week’s blog post. If you missed it, go read it now and then come back for a little brain exercise. While considering the reasons that seniors should be engaging with social media, we found through research that most seniors self-report a more positive experience with social media as compared to millennials. This is because they mainly use social media as a tool to keep in touch with relatives and friends. They also tend to avoid the deep dive into virtual friend collecting that is such an integral part of the social media experience.

This has brought the question to mind… are we slowly changing the definition of ‘friend’?

Personally, I am something of an introvert and while I can certainly move through a room and interact with the best of them I have a fairly small circle of true friends. I consider these relationships friendship because they require an investment of time and emotional energy. The more resources I invest in a relationship, the higher in the hierarchy of friendships it belongs. The relationships above between the ski team members or my daughter and her fiance are built on large quantities of quality face-to-face time and that is what makes them strong bonds.

One could argue that our closest relationships are the secret to happiness. Our reasons for living.

And yet… Facebook labels all my 360 contacts equally as ‘friends’.

Certainly, not all of these people are actually friends… or are they? They require almost no effort on my part at all. One click to collect them. A like here or there on occasion and perhaps even my standard “<3<3<3 Happy Birthday! <3<3<3” post when FB reminds me it’s their special day.

Are these friends false?

Should I cull my friend list?

When I scroll through these names why is it so hard to pick ones to delete?

I decide to keep them all. And appreciate them. Here is why… someone once told me that there are two types of insurance in the world… the one you buy to protect yourself AND the piece of mind that comes from being connected to a community. These people may not all come to my home for dinner and I might never know their life story but they can certainly reach out to me for help if they need it. And vice versa.

In a world where the human experience of community is ever-shifting I realize there is a place in my heart and a need in my life for my network of Facebook ‘friends’ that isn’t met offline.

What do you think about Facebook friends? And are the algorithms influencing our connections by determining who’s posts we see? Do you curate your contacts carefully or friend as many people as possible? Let’s tease through these questions in the comments!

Photo Credit


Debate of the day! Do FB friends count as friends? Offer your two cents @


Is social media changing your definition of friendship? Chime in! #friendnotfriend #friendswitheveryone

One thought on “Deep Thoughts on Friendship and Facebook

  1. Great blog! Congratulations to your daughter for her engagement! That’s so exciting! 🙂 I for one completely agree that the online “friends” aren’t quite what I’d consider “friends.” In my case, my Facebook friends are acquaintances, friends of the family (in other words, my parents’ friends), or super distant relatives that I only speak to when the birthday notification comes up! However, on other platforms, like Instagram, I pick a bit more carefully who I want to see my account – after all, I’m a lot more active on Instagram than on Facebook!

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