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Friends: Social networks vs. real life

“We be of one blood, ye and I” (“Mawgli”, Rudyard Kipling)

Nowadays, the term “friend” is used rather loosely. We refer to all those hundreds of people with whom we connect via social networks as “friends”. In general, the English word “friend” is fairly frequently used to call somebody who is a mere acquaintance. In this sense, I like the “gradation” that exists in the Russian language: you call somebody a friend (“droug“) if you are really “of the same blood”, if there is a deep connection. Then you have “priyatel“, which is translated into English also as a “friend”, yet in the Russian language this word has a different connotation than “droug“.  You would say “priyatel” about somebody with whom you occasionally spend time, who is a nice guy or gal, but the connection you have is less strong than with “droug”. After that comes “horoshij znakomij” (good acquaintance) and “znakomij” (acquaintance). Thus, following this logic the majority of social network “friends” are actually mere acquaintances (if at all).

But who are friends actually? Are these people whom we know very good? Are these people that share our vision of the world? Do we call somebody a friend if we meet up on a regular basis? Can we be friends if we only met a couple of times in real life? In general, how fast do we call somebody a friend? Continue reading Friends: Social networks vs. real life