The friendship problem - Deepstash

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It seems normal now that plans are made far in advance — scheduled around travel and weddings and kids and work commitments — and then canceled right before. Someone doesn’t follow up, or cancels and then never proposes an alternative plan. Promising new adult friendships never seem to blossom into the kind of quotidian check-ins that the friendship of our younger years is based on. Life-long friends make new life choices, drift apart. The friendship fizzles into WhatsApp volleys back and forth, and then someone doesn’t answer the last message, and then it’s a year before you ever talk again. 



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Friendships are made of friction

Friendships are made of friction

Friendships are, by their very nature, made of friction. To know what is going on in someone’s day-to-day life, to make plans with them, and then reschedule those plans when someone inevitably gets sick, and then bring over soup.

And friction is not just interrupting your day or life to help out a friend, but also admitting you need the kind of help you cannot pay for or order yourself. To pierce through your veil of seamless productivity and having-it-together to say: I need something from you, can you help me?


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Modern loneliness masks itself as hyper connectivity. And so people have easily 1000 virtual friends, but no one they can ask to feed their cat. That loneliness, which is really a depletion of the social capital, is extremely powerful.



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The concept of "social atrophy"

The concept of "social atrophy"

We are so burned out by our data-heavy, screen-based, supposedly friction-free lives that we no longer have the time or energy to engage in the kind of small, mundane, place-based friendships or acquaintance-ships that have nourished and sustained humans for centuries. 

 We simply don’t have the energy for the kinds of in-person, easy interactions that might actually give us some energy and lifeforce back. 


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Rebuilding the social muscle

Rebuilding the social muscle

In addition to making the effort with friends — new and old— and asking for the kind of help and support we need, as well as providing it in return (and in order for this all not to feel like yet more admin), we need to make changes to regain the capacity to show up for these kinds of interactions and relationships:

I know if I want to be available for more of the kind of recurring, place-based relationships where I can give and receive support, that means I have to be less available for other thing.


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Why friendships have started to feel strikingly similar to admin

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