Friendship: The new Rules of Engagement

How it used to be

Remember when you were a kid and you had that one special person you did everything with? You shared everything, spent every possible moment together and even lied for each other if necessary. That person was your friend-your best friend. A best friend is defined as the one friend who is closet to you. You were almost like twins; if one hurt the other one did too, you could finish each other's sentences and would know what the other was thinking with just a look. You didn't even have to speak to enjoy each other's company.

Even as the years passed and you went in different directions, the bond continued to grow and strengthen. You were like David and Jonathan, or Ruth and Naomi of the Bible. You truly understood John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends." That was how I grew up with my best friend.

We had some of the best times and had our fair share of getting into trouble because friends would never let friends do stupid things...alone. We'd laugh so much our sides would ache and we'd have to cross our legs to keep from peeing. We knew how to keep a secret and we never threw the other under the bus. We were loyal.

Today, friendship is totally different. The rules have changed.

How it has become

The word that I would use to describe friendships in the 21st century is "fickle". Today friendships seem to be based upon mutual benefit or need. They also can be very seasonal. How often are people told, when a friendship abruptly ends, that the friendship was for a season. Translation: You've served your purpose. I don't need you anymore. Goodbye.

I have had the experience, more than once, of thinking I had a really great friendship going only to have it end abruptly with no explanation. When I asked the other person what happened, they looked both surprised and annoyed and said that they thought I realized that we had "grown apart." How could I come to that conclusion when we were hanging out just a couple of nights ago?

Friends today don't share pain or bad times. We shut ourselves off. By the time we come out of our funk, we are looking for a new best friend. We also listen to gossip or rumors about our BFF (or bestie) and quickly dump them. And lets not discuss how quickly we will change friendships if someone comes along with more to offer. Translation: Someone with more money, better job, better car, big house and influence. We have no loyalty anymore.

Today we have such an "every man for himself" attitude. It isolates us and we no longer have that support of close relationships that help us "get through". Friendship are used as stepping stones to obtain our wants, desires and goals. And kept secrets are a thing of the past. As soon as you tell your BFF, they can't wait to log into Facebook and put ALL of your business on blast. Friendships have become disposable. It's a sad commentary on the direction our society is going. Yes, my friends, the rules have definitely changed.

Like everything else, the art of being a friend has changed. If you have a true friend, hold on to them for dear life.

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Comments-Please vote "Up" if you liked this hub. 12 comments

Ruza profile image

Ruza 5 years ago

I think the "growing apart" thing comes from not feeling a connection with a person, even when you are hanging out. I felt that with one friend, but I still pursued the friendship for a long time.

I've had the question for a long time--what is a friend? I don't know anymore.

Sylvia's Thoughts profile image

Sylvia's Thoughts 5 years ago from Southern California Author

@Ruza-Then that person was not a friend but an acquaintance.

Ruza profile image

Ruza 5 years ago

I considered her a friend. Whether she was a true friend or not is debatable, yes.

writer20 profile image

writer20 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

Hey Sylvia, it's good to see you back on here.

What you have written is good. I found out today that two poeple we met about a year ago at a breakfast place we go to are not our friends in my husbands opinion just aquaintances because we do nothing else with them.I know aquaintance has friendship attached to it, Joyce.

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reeltaulk 5 years ago

Ohhhhh you really hit alot of nails on the head. Seasonal friendships are oh so in..... aka fickle friendships. The ones to claim the friendship was meant to last for a season are the ones that never get it, but always complain. They have it all figured out but yet it never works out! This is the majority most of the time! These folk have no idea what longevitiy or consistency is until they want or need it in their life. Then this is when it will be no where to be found. This is why most relationships turn into one big production, acting, role playing, holding back in the name of "keeping the peace" fake, phoniness and misery is just every where, just waitiing for the day it all to end. Then they ask why is this so, well go figure, this is exactly who you've been throughout life. More than likely you are just reaping what you have sown, not that it is necessarily negative or positive, it's just consistently moving in the same direction you have conssciously chosen for it to move. Practiced and condoned behaviors that attract like minded people who are seeking friends with benefits for self. Individuals like themselves, and if for some weird flukey reason they meet someone that is overall different, whether personality, outlook on life, standards. It's a problem due to their tunnel brain and vision. I guess once you experience this type of person you will learn to know what to do in the future. Giving you a heads up in weeding out those that are short term and really don't deserve what you have to offer.

Food for thought: It takes experience, valuable experiences for someone to appreciate value! Overall, not only materialistically but personally. When people can't value simplie things like, other people, their, time, what they have to offer, who they are or suppose to be in your life. This tells you that they have not experienced neither have found value in their source, from whence they hhave come whether it be their family or they themselves.

neeleshkulkarni profile image

neeleshkulkarni 5 years ago from new delhi

with time all paradigms change and we need to define friendships differently.

there are fair weather friends with whom you get together only for a nice time, there are friends who seem nice in a context and when you are out of it you wonder what you saw in them,and there are true friends who just stand with you when you are down and you know they will always be there for you.

they all exist side by side alongwith the exploiters and pretenders and we just need to be able to define them and expect from them only as much as that particular relationship permits and also give only as much as it requires,and life will be fine and balanced.

mistakes in defining will cause problems but then it is a skill one learns over the years.

i have each kind and enjoy the company of each and am happy for it realizing the limitations of each type and giving my all only to the 1% who have been with me forever and shall always be.

LoriSoard profile image

LoriSoard 5 years ago from Henryville, Indiana

You are so right about this. I am blessed to have a couple of friends in my life who are true blue, but where I see this fickleness you talk about is with the current teen generation. They might be close as sisters one day and enemies the next. They seem to hop from friendship to friendship. It makes me sad for my children. They are really losing something precious.

Sylvia's Thoughts profile image

Sylvia's Thoughts 5 years ago from Southern California Author

@writer20-It's nice to be back. And yes, an acquaintance is a friend but not a close one-more casual.

@reeltaulk-You've said quite a lot yourself!And you're so right.

@LoriSoard-You have to set the example for them to follow.

@neeleshkulkarni-you're very...clinical.

Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

My BFF and I have been friends for 30 years. We've shared trials and tribulations. Although, she lives in another state, we talk everyday. I'd be lost without her. She understands me, and I, her. We may disagree, but we always understand. We choose each other as family. Though neither of us are wealthy, we value each other and if either of us became wealthy, the joy in wealth would be in sharing with each other. Our lives are better for knowing each other.

Great topic, Sylvia. I hadn't considered the idea that friendship had changed. Your article is very thought-provoking. Thank you!

Sylvia's Thoughts profile image

Sylvia's Thoughts 5 years ago from Southern California Author

You're so lucky, Amy. That's the way friendships used to be. We all want things easy now. No one wants to take the time to work on a relationship anymore. It's easier to just get someone new.

Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I am lucky, Sylvia. It takes time and care to get to truly know someone. Its something money can't buy. Its more precious than gold. And the best part is, I never pretend to be someone else with Laura; I am authentic with her and the same goes for Laura and we still genuinely love each other!!! It is the most affirming relationship I will ever have.

Sylvia's Thoughts profile image

Sylvia's Thoughts 5 years ago from Southern California Author

I love you too, Amy!!!

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