Keep your friends closer

William Lou
April 2, 2015
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

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The ten minutes after you click confirm to post a new profile picture on Facebook or a new Insta on the ‘gram is an emotional rollercoaster. How many people are liking it? Who’s commenting? How do you make sure it reached the biggest audience? If you don’t get enough likes you have to delete it, because otherwise it’s bad for your brand. In ten minutes, either each like is a shot of confidence or the lack of likes is causing you to sweat buckets.

Obviously it’s not such a dramatic affair, but that sense of longing for recognition exists on some level for most of us. Just go on your popular friend’s profile and chances are someone made a comment about how many likes the picture got. I found myself in a similar situation recently when I posted a new profile picture. At first I didn’t notice it, but I was returning to check my picture every 15 minutes to see how many new likes I got. By the time I realized the hold Facebook had on me I chose to stop getting notifications. The absurdity of how much our lives are controlled by social media is not a novel idea, but people tend to ignore how transient many of our friendships nowadays are.

One of the best selling points of university is the friends that you meet during your stay. You meet people through your residence, faculty, and extracurricular activities. This is undoubtedly true, and I have met a number of wonderful people who I would otherwise not have met. As you become more involved, you’re more likely to net a profile picture with more than 100 likes. But how well do you know the 179 people who liked your picture? Can you recall three personal details about them?

Your social sphere in university is a bubble, and when it inevitably pops you have to be prepared to come to terms with the sham that most of it was. There’s probably a good chunk of your “friends” on Facebook who you wouldn’t say more than “hi” to. If you weren’t resigned to that reality, the bubble bursting has a large toll on your mental health. You may realize that you haven’t formed lifelong friendships – you were just sucked in by the likes and increasing friend count on your social media profiles.

I’ve painted a sad picture here, but that doesn’t have to be the case. There’s nothing wrong with knowing half the people on campus. In fact, there’s a lot of positives that come along with a large network, and the skin deep friendships you make don’t discredit your experiences. You just have to understand that this is a reality. Rejoice in the 20 retweets you got, but don’t be deluded by them.

So as this school year comes to a close and you leave your friends for the summer, think about all the people you met this past year. How well do you know them? More importantly, if you want to know them better, reach out. Take the first step to grow the relationship from acquaintance to homie. If there are people you want to keep in your life you have to fight for it.

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