Foundations of Life 3: Friends

Foundations of Life 3: Friends

For if a building stands on shaky foundations, it won’t stand for long.

Words Mean Things: 4th posting of many.

Previously explored: Respect, Success, Alternative, Food and Health Food.

Explored in this post: Friend.

The use of words for commercial gain is of course, rampant. Especially those with deep rooted meaning for us. Why? Because many a conversation has been had where folks are angry about someone “Unfriending” them in Facebook. How do this emotion, anger and division come to pass over a link between folk in computer software?

Definition: Friend.

  1. one attached to another by affection or esteem; acquaintance.
  2. one that is not hostile; one that is of the same nation, party, or group.
  3. one that favours or promotes something (as a charity).
  4. a favoured companion.

When the definition of the word Friend is made clear, it speaks of closeness, a bond, trust, esteem, affection. Emotion and connection of real closeness and intimate bond.

Think back to when as a child you had your closest friends. Those ones you shared your biggest fears with, had the biggest laughs with and couldn’t wait to see each other again.
Massive emotions, buried deep inside each of us, that carries powerful meaning when triggered. The more “Friends” I have in social media, the better I feel and more nice emotion is carried.

When “Unfriended” the opposite applies, hence the negative emotion.

The use of the word “Friend” in social software has been selected very carefully. It triggers your emotions around connections made in software that plays upon your deep-rooted attachment of meaning to the word ‘‘Friend”, right back from when you were a child.

Really, truly are all these connected networks full of your ‘‘Friends”?

Well according to the definition of the word, there is no way that those linked to you can ever really be called Friends (for the most part at least). Yes we can make ‘‘Friends” and close connection in social media for sure, but I doubt many of these ties really develop into true Friendship. Good on you if this magic has happened of course.

So if not Friend, might the word ‘‘connection” work? It kind of did and didn’t when I went hunting.

In fact the best fitting word seemed to be ‘‘Acquaintance”. But even it was strong in parts.

Definition: Acquaintance / Acquaint.

  1. the state of being acquainted.
  2. personal knowledge: familiarity.
  3. to cause (someone) to know and become familiar with something.
  4. A person whom one knows but who is not a particularly close friend “a casual acquaintance”.

As a device if the word Acquaintances was used, replacing ‘‘Friends”, would the power be the same? And for good commercial reasons the answer is of course not.

You would kind of congratulate yourself with having thousands of Acquaintances in the same way you would if they remained with the label as ‘‘Friends”.

In the same way would you feel the same emotion around losing a ‘‘Friend” if an Acquaintance blocked or ‘‘unacquainted” you?
Of course not, the term Acquaintance, does not carry the same depth of emotional response as losing a close friend.

The Intention of this exploration?

Take note of how words are being played against you. See the hooks that try to suck you into something. All words have meaning.

In this instance don’t let that child’s emotion be played at or against you.

Your real friends (for the most part) are few in number, have been built face to face, tear to tear, those that you have let deep in.


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