Friendship is just an app away for new generation

Time was when Friendship Day meant hanging out with buddies and wearing colourful friendship bands. 

But now virtual connect through forwarded messages or mobile app stickers or a simple post on a friend’s wall of a social networking site, overshadow the personal touch and people’s socialising skills.

Easy-to-access internet without pinching your wallet and mobile app’s fun stickers expressing your emotions have made people connect with one another, but mostly on a superficial level, say experts.

“Friendship bands have become old fashioned. Now, there is WhatsApp and Instagram where you can post your photos with your friends. Virtual friends are more now,” Nidhi Sharma, a stylist, said.

There was paucity of time earlier too, but now technology has made people lazier and as a result, personal meetings have reduced, thus affecting the quality of friendship.The dilemma is that people feel closer by connecting through apps, but they are actually drifting away.

“You have internet on phone, work space and don’t have to take out extra time to stay in touch. People would rather use WhatsApp or do video chat or send pictures. You are becoming closer because of technology, but it has become more superficial,” Harsheen K Arora, a psychologist, said.

Davistine Liddle, a 30-year-old online marketing professional, said a busy schedule keeps him away from meeting friends regularly, and technology helps to stay connected. But, yes, he misses that personal touch.

“I stopped buying gifts for friends after I finished school. Now, it’s more about WhatsApp, Facebook and Hike messenger. The stickers are pretty interesting. People have become busy and all these sites and apps help to remember their birthdays or know what’s happening in their lives,” Liddle said.

Lack of time and effort have made people turn to virtual friends. “So close friendships are not there. Earlier friendship used to mean a lot. People used to take a decision on the basis of friendship. Now, it’s becoming shallow,” Mehta said.

Raman Suri, a life strategist and success coach, says people are now living in a “fancy land” and the fascination for social networking sites and apps is nothing more than an addiction. 

The consequences are worse for the younger generation as for them expression of emotions and articulation of thoughts become tough.

“Children as young as 10 start using such sites and apps. They won’t know how to communicate face-to-face. The older age group (above 25) has passed all that, so there’s not much to worry,” Mehta added.

Arora warned children, especially teenagers, against overindulgence in virtual friendship. 

“They don’t have a sense of responsibility at that age. They may not understand or develop a trait of making real friends or having an emotional connect with someone,” she said.

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