Technology has shifted our female friendships and the way we interact with each other. We want to be in touch with our friends and our friends want to know what’s going on in our lives, and the rise of technology, specifically social media, has only amplified that. Most of us live a part of our lives online, creating the illusion that we’re never alone. Virtual rendezvous are seeping into every area of our real-life friendships, making it harder to separate and differentiate. Being constantly in touch via Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and now the likes of TikTok is exhausting, and doesn’t come without its challenges.
The very nature of female friendship is changing right before our eyes. Our digital presences have transformed the way we engage with our friends when we’re not with them in real life, and complaints about the deterioration of our long-standing friendships have become all too familiar. As technology has become a natural extension of ourselves, we’ve all fallen prey to falling deep down into the murky depths of social media rabbit holes. Generally, the ability to be in nonstop touch with one another is only a continuation of interaction that used to happen by telephone. As time has gone on and technology has developed, friendships now seem to be happening in shortened snatches and snippets, or through DM’s and Facebook Messenger. Is the new face of our female friendships?
Online friend? Internet friend? IRL friend? The digital age has spawned a whole new species of friends, and these relationships we tend to keep in the digital realm. Apps have made the amount of friends we have online more important than the quality of our real-life friendships. As our follower count increases, our friendships groups have slowly declined. We used to be able to count on our friends, instead we now add them up - the higher the follower count the more impressive we appear. Because of this change in play, we’re now seeing our ‘friends’ less as friends and more as networking opportunities. Social media has enabled us all to have a platform from which we can promote ourselves, but rather than seeing people we’re just seeing the numbers.
With the rapid escalation of technology, our friendships have grown shallower and more meaningless. We’re living in an era of likes and adds, and are slowly starting to realise that maybe some of our female friendships aren’t as good (or as genuine) as we once thought. Sometimes you see a post that’ll blindside you - a dinner party you weren’t invited to, after work drinks you had no idea were happening, maybe a friend’s wedding you were told had a ‘limited number of guests’, yet your entire social group seems to be there. Women often punish each other by leaving each other out of certain social settings, and this hurts. There’s no escaping that. What’s worse is with technology playing such an important role in our lives, we don’t just have to hear about things we weren’t a part of, we now have to see it.
Some may argue we ought to put our phones down and spend more time together, that we’ve given our hearts and our lives over to machines, that we’re so addicted to likes and follower counts this is the new face of friendship. As society is becoming more technology obsessed at ever-younger ages, were becoming lost to our devices. We feed ourselves the lie that were spending more and more time online to stay connected, but in reality are we robbing ourselves of time we could be spending on our real-life female friendships? Genuine friendships take effort and time, something that can take months if not years to develop. However hard we try, however many times we click like on a post or heart something, we cannot replicate our in-person female friendships in the online world.
Written by J'Nae Phillips