Are Facebook friendships ''real''??

Cathelijn - posted on 02/13/2010 ( 15 moms have responded )

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I found this wondering what you all think?



Nearly 60 per cent of Facebook users who boast more than 170 online friends admitted meeting with only ten of their digital pals regularly, a survey said.



The disparity between online and real-world friendships was even greater in the 51-55-year-old age group. With an average of 31 Facebook friends, 78 per cent said they saw less than five face-to-face each month.



The survey of 1,000 UK adults by Railcard sought to discover how real friendships are faring in the era of social networking: its conclusion - not well.



Most people (41 per cent) cited time as the limiting factor for not meeting their friends. However, more than a quarter of those surveyed (27 per cent) said distance was the barrier to rekindling friendships.



Unsurprisingly, the most sociable age group was the 16-18 year olds who met up with an average of 12 of their online friends once a month.



Channel 4 presenter and relationship expert Anna Richardson said: "A Facebook friendship is a poor substitute for actually meeting up with a friend as you miss out on the personal engagement and real connection that you need to build a strong friendship.



"It is difficult to make time for friends when juggling busy lives, but without making the effort, there's a danger that precious friendships are becoming lost in the digital era."



She added: "Log onto www.railcards.co.uk and invest in a Railcard, get on a train and give that friendship the time it deserves."

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15 Comments

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[deleted account]

I moved over 200 miles away from my hometown. My parents and my best friends are still there (or at least nearby). My sister lives moved about an hour and a half away from our parents, but in the opposite direction that I moved, and my brother moved even farther away than my sister and me. One of my best friends lives three states away (and is about to move across the coutry) and a few of my other friends have moved far away too. They are ALL on my friends list on Facebook. Does the fact that I only see them about once ever 3 months (and some even less than that) make them less important to me?? NO! I love my family and friends and I wish I could live closer to them or at least afford to go visit them more often, but that's just not possible. I find that Facebook is a great way for me to stay connected with all my friends and I love using it for that purpose. My parents get unlimited pictures of the kids (I would not be able to email all those pictures - it would take WAY too long!) as do my friends. I also get unlimited pictures of my best friend's little boy and my other best friend gets to tell me all about her life whenever she can (she works as a high school teacher full time and doesn't have a lot of free time). It has also helped me reconnect with a couple high schol friends that I am very grateful to have in my life again and I can keep in touch with my e-pen pal in China (I am in California) that lost her email account and therefore lost my email address a few years ago.



I actually think Facebook has actually strengthened friendships that may have otherwise been lost because of my move. It's a great tool for keeping in touch with everyone who is near and dear to me, but I cannot live near them because the jobs my hubby needs are where we are, not where I used to live.



I also think friendships formed on the internet can be "real." I consider a few people here on CoM my friends even though I've never met any of them. I also met my hubby on the internet. I think the internet is a great tool for us to use to connect with all kinds of different people that we would have never otherwise met. I know for sure that social networking and places like CoM have broadened my horizons and made me think differently about a lot of different subjects. I just hope that the more interaction (even just interaction via the computer) the people of the world have with eachother the better off we'll all be.

Isobel - posted on 02/15/2010

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I think some of the people I've met on com have become better friends than people I have known in real life...other than those classless bitches of course...somebody needs to do something about those ;P

I think that the anonymity of the computer screen leaves a lot more room for honesty...for me anyway.

And if I saw friends every day in real life...I would have little need for them on facebook. I specifically use facebook to talk to people who I can't see every day.

Sara - posted on 02/15/2010

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I think that FB has helped me to keep in contact with people who I wouldn't talk to as much. I think at our age and place in life (with small children) it's hard to get together with friends AT ALL, so FB is quite helpful in keeping me in touch with people that I may neglect in "real life". And yes, I do think that FB friendships are real, all you people have become pretty dear to me! :)

ME - posted on 02/15/2010

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Something else I thought of...A dear friend of mine met her husband on a chat site...they talked for months on line before she finally flew from new york to Denver to meet him...a couple of weeks later, she moved across the country, and they now have two beautiful girls and a wonderful marriage...The internet is only bad if you make sitting in front of your computer your whole life...

[deleted account]

When your 16 to 18 most of the people on your facebook are surely going to be school and college friends? Right? Obviously at that age when you you don't have the responsibilities of a job or family is going to be easier to socialize with friends.

My friends from school, college etc have scattered across the country... I don't have the opportunity to jump on a train whenever the whim takes me and go visiting. It takes planning to get a night out let alone travelling 100+ miles to go visiting!

Facebook provides a easy form of communication such as the telephone ... I can arrange with my friends to meet up ... even if it requires 2-3 months planning!

I think this survey also misses out the idea that you can create friendships online with people you might never otherwise of met... If they live on the opposite side of the world regularly meeting up is not only limited by time and proximity but also finances.

Lindsay - posted on 02/13/2010

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My facebook is a compilation of family members, friends from Kindergarten through high school, past coworkers, people I'm going to college with, and others I've met along the way (and some from COM I've yet to actually "meet"). Yes, some are closer friends then others, but they all are important to me. And honestly, without FB, I would have lost contact with many of them. I'm glad to be able to keep in touch and catch up with people I haven't seen in forever and I've been lucky enough to meet some great girls that I truly consider to be friends! =)

Jocelyn - posted on 02/13/2010

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Just to add to what you all have said (I completely feel the same way!) I actually met a girl thru facebook and discovered that she is in our neighboring town! We have kids the same age and so we've met for playdates and coffee a couple times. And our kids like each other! So thanks facebook! Lol.

Krista - posted on 02/13/2010

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I don't think that physical proximity is mandatory for friendship. I live out in the arse end of nowhere, and all of my dear friends are scattered throughout the globe. My best friend is in Ontario, and my other closest friends are in New Jersey, Australia and Los Angeles, respectively. I only see them every second year or so, but I know that if I really needed them, they'd be on a flight the very next day, as I would be for them.

I also have many friends who I have never even met in real life. I frequent a political blog, and there are people on there with whom I've been conversing for over 5 years now. We know each others' histories, hopes, fears, pet peeves. When I went into labour, I emailed the bloghost, and he and the rest of the people on the blog were virtually pacing the floor the entire time.

And like Jo said, I've also met some fantastic friends here on COM. In a way, I think that the internet has really enabled friendships, because when people move away, it's so much easier to keep in touch, rather than relying on letters and long-distance phone calls (which are always tricky when you start getting into different time zones!)

[deleted account]

I guess that depends on what you mean by "real." This seems to define friendship by how often you see a person-which I don't think is always the case. One of my friends on FB is a very dear friend-but she lives in London and I live in the U.S., so we only see one another every few years. I'd love to see her more often-but it's just not plausible. FB has been a wonderful tool for us to keep in touch without spending oodles of money on phone calls-and Skype has been as well. She's quite a bit closer to me than some of my co-workers or old high school and undergraduate classmates, who are my friends on FB, and who I see every day, but who I think of more as acquaintances than friends.



There's also the trouble that here in America, we can't just get a Railcard and travel about. Unfortunately, we just don't have that sort of system, and the distances between us are often greater than in the UK (barring transatlantic relationships like the one I previously mentioned, which are hard on all parties involved.) If I drive 6 hours from London, I can make it to Edinburgh, but if I drive 6 hours from my town, I can make it to Memphis-just one state over-and there's little to no public transportation as a way of getting there.



I certainly don't talk to every one of my FB friends often, but it is nice to be connected to them again. It's a way of communicating with people who I don't have the time or money to visit or who, in all honesty, I'd rather just have a quick chat and then go about my day.

?? - posted on 02/13/2010

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I have about 175 friends on fb and the majority of them I know in real life... people I went to school with... have met on my travels... have moved away... are people I like to keep in touch with. I thought that was the point of facebook. I have people on there that I see around town too but with them it's more of 'another way to get in touch' for a play date or make plans to go out.

I'm not sure where the people get the idea that having 'friends on facebook' has anything to do with 'not having other friends'. I have plenty of friends who don't have facebook and I see regularly... where are the stats that add THOSE friends to the mix?

Honestly, just from that LAST little TINY sentence at the end....

She added: "Log onto www.railcards.co.uk and invest in a Railcard, get on a train and give that friendship the time it deserves."

Sounds more like a promotional speil than anything. I don't know I'd really trust any of these percentages to be all that accurate when it sounds like they only really did this "survery of 1,000 UK adults" by Railcard... in order to sell railcards.



As for 'internet friends' being real friends. Yes, I have made MANY wonderful friends online throughout the years. Including a bunch of classless bitches here on COM :D

My *1st* ever online friend, I met her 10 years ago playing "Sorry!" on a gamesite... we lost touch for a few years after I went to Australia, I spoke to her on Christmas while I was there (I was in Sydney, she is in Melbourne) and we made plans for her to come visit me in Sydney, then it was one thing after another and next I knew I was back in Canada! I found her on facebook a lil bit afterwards. She sent me a message on facebook the other day... telling me that she's pregnant...... THE FIRST PERSON she told, besides her boyfriend, that she's pregnant and going to have her first baby... was me! We love each other to pieces! I am so happy for her, and I am currently saving up for my family to go to Melbourne next year to be her bridesmaid in her wedding ! Someone she's never met in her life, but, we're that close. Never having met, is not an issue in our friendship, and neither of us could ever see it being an issue - even if I can't make it to her wedding (it will break my heart) but we're realistic lol it's a lot of money to go between Canada and Aus but we'll see what happens !

Rosie - posted on 02/13/2010

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i agree with you ladies. some people i won't ever see again, but it is nice to see how they are doing and look at pictures and stuff. i only have a few friends that i see in real life with or without facebook, especially since having my children. it's nice to be able to catch up with them without a child whining in the background of the phone, or when you don't have a whole lot of time in your day to see someone. not to say i don't see my friends or talk on the phone with them, but this way it's alot easier to keep up more often.

Dana - posted on 02/13/2010

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I'm not a facebook "whore" so I don't have people on my list that I hardly know or don't consider friends. I think it's a great way to keep in touch with people you normally wouldn't. My best friend and I had grown apart since high school and we found each other through FB. I don't think we would have been able to have the friendship we've made now without it.

[deleted account]

I agree with you ladies. It's nice to catch up with people from your past through facebook. Mary Elizabeth, my childhood penpal recently found me on facebook. Maybe you could find your penpal!

I also keep contact with out of state relatives through facebook much more easily than through email or phone. When I post a picture of my daughter or post something cute she did that days as my update, it will often spark a conversation between 3 or 4 of my out of town relatives. The conversation wouldn't have happened through email or phone.

ME - posted on 02/13/2010

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I had a pen pal when I was in grade school...I never met her, but I wrote to her for almost 10 years...and I concidered her a friend. It would have been cool to meet up, but it didn't matter that much to our relationship. I guess I don't see how fb friends or CoM friends are any different. There are ladies on CoM that are far more friendly, and supportive than the people who live close by and whom I've known for decades...The people who matter most to me are my family (of course) but I enjoy the different types of relationships I have with people on fb...and the ability to "catch up with" people from the past...I say, why not? Who is it hurting...

Cathelijn - posted on 02/13/2010

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I personally wonder what is ''real''?

I found people trhough facebook that I haven't spoken too for years, it is nice to catch up. I am friends on facebook with the people I work with or have worked with it is nice to keep in touch.

I have made new friends via COM ( you know who you are :-)).people that I can talk to that are in similair situations we might not see eachother every week, we might never see eachother, but I still count these people my friends.

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