Friendship is about loyalty, not laws. Should it be policed? - Leah Plunkett | Aeon Ideas - Deepstash



Deepstash brings you key ideas from the most inspiring articles like this one:

Read more efficiently

Save what inspires you

Remember anything

Friendship is about loyalty, not laws. Should it be policed? - Leah Plunkett | Aeon Ideas

Friendship is about loyalty, not laws. Should it be policed? - Leah Plunkett | Aeon Ideas
My great-great-uncle, Matt Plunkett, was the sheriff of Deadwood, South Dakota, back in 1906, when Buffalo Bill Cody came to town. One picture shows moustachioed Sheriff Plunkett with Buffalo Bill next to a statue of Wild Bill Hickok, who'd been killed decades earlier over a poker dispute in a local saloon.


Key Ideas

Save all ideas

Friendship and the digital domain

Friends are tied to each other through emotions, customs, and norms. With social media, we can share information about our friends without their permission and legal restrictions. We can share information even beyond our friendship network.

As we apply for jobs, prospective employers will likely use social media to learn about us and judge us. Therefore, what our friends show to the world matters.





In recent years, oversharing information gave rise to an army of monitors and spies that imposes surveillance and top-down control of our online lives.

We know that Facebook controls our interaction by what shows up in our newsfeed from our friends. Third-party companies also use our information to push target ads.



Friendship restrictions

Amid all this chaos, friendship itself remains unregulated. You don't need a license to become someone's friend. However, the lawless nature of friendship and the lightly regulated space of social media cause many jurisdictions to set out laws of what you are not allowed to do because it makes you a bully. 

For instance, in New Hampshire, the Pupil Safety and Violence Prevention Act (2000) for students in primary and secondary school says you are considered a bully if you cause emotional distress to a pupil or interfere with a pupil's educational opportunities.



Protecting our friendships

The instances of friendship policing we see have powerful implications for individual friendships and also for the institution of friendship itself.

We have to protect the lawless nature of friendship. As friendship becomes more prescribed by law and more guarded by cyber-surveillance, it might also become less about loyalty and trust, and more about strategy.




Vulnerable Time for Kids

A child's pre-teen and teen years are a high-emotion transitory period. This is due to shifting classmates, social pressure, multiple classrooms and a period of many 'firsts'.

Deep Friendships

A study on sixth-graders revealed that friendship is crucial and real for kids, and can be as deep as a parental relationship.

Most parents and teachers do not understand the importance of deep bonding among friends at school and tend to regard friendships as a distraction or a nuisance.

Social Isolation and Bullying

Social isolation is the dark side of the school, in which many kids with no friends are at risk of anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. There is a perceived sense of threat with being friendless, and the young, immature mind can deeply internalize the resulting difficulties, leading to depression.

Bullying at this age is also a major problem, with those who are socially isolated becoming the most vulnerable to being bullied.

2 more ideas


Friend-zoning is a notion that men and women have different perspectives.

Men are more frequently attracted to their opposite-sex friends, even if they state that it's just a platonic rela...

We Don't Know Ourselves

A recent study showed that men overestimate how good-looking they are to women. Women, on the other hand, think they are less attractive to men, which is not the case.

People who think they are highly attractive may incorrectly assume that the other person is sexually interested in them.

Taking The Lead

Men look for signs or attraction more than women do, like it has always been. Men initiate the love and take the lead, deciding to move out of a platonic relationship faster than women.

Safe To Forget

As machines become increasingly capable, along with computer memory, power and space being abundantly available, our brains are in a transition phase.

Earlier we had to remember a lot, do cal...

Information In Your Head

As technology advances and the internet gets dramatically more powerful, the need to retain information in our heads diminishes.

Google and other search engines which deploy AI, work as our 'memory partners' and provide us access to most of the human knowledge.

Peer-To-Peer Memory Networks

Our ancestors had a manual 'peer-to-peer' memory network to pass on knowledge to the future generations; it wasn't reliable but worked for a long time.

Now we believe AI is better and more objective to provide us with information, which might not be the case.