Land of the Lonely

I read a good article that expressed what I've been thinking for a while: we live in an isolating society where people have lots of "friends" but they're not really deep: "in restricting ourselves to the thin gruel of modern friendships, we miss out on the more nourishing fare that deeper ones have to offer." True, but not a lot of people realize that, and I don't think they ever will.

Whenever I see people's large list of friends on Facebook or wherever, I wonder how many of those people they really connect with. Sometimes I want to point out the charade and tell everyone they're playing a game, but then I wonder if there's something "wrong" with me because I don't want to play the same game. Sure, I know a lot of people, but I want to connect in a real way with them as well. However, they would think that is weird, so I just stay within the definitions we've all set, and it actually bothers me that some folks are so superficial and want to keep everyone in a box.

Especially in the US, there are so many people traveling on their own path and they don't like to cross with others unless it suits them in some way. The article says that
Developing meaningful friendships—having the kind of people in your life who were once known as "intimates"—takes time, but too many of us are locked in what social critic Barbara Ehrenreich has called "the cult of conspicuous busyness," from which we seem to derive status and a certain perverse comfort even as it alienates us from one another.
People seemed pleased with themselves when they tell me "I am so busy", and I've said the same thing and even caught myself feeling proud of my packed schedule, but realize I'm just getting caught up in such a status symbol. I like being busy but not to the point that I don't have time for people. But when I do have time for them, it's like watching people go by on one of those people movers that you see in some airports or in The Jetsons. They want to communicate, but only within strict limits, within defined times.

I think that interesting people are rare, so when I meet them, I really want to get to know them better. Maybe they're baffled by the pursuit of "friendship" but act like the non-interesting masses to fit in, but I can't easily find out what they're thinking because they're not willing to let their guards down to discuss this modern trend.

I don't know if it's just an American thing, but it's something I've noticed ever since I moved back here years ago. I hear from non-American residents that Americans seem fake because they smile and seem friendly, but they don't want to go deeper. However, with people's reliance on technology to connect with other humans, the trend can become worldwide.

I just don't want to be accused of being insincere, but I also don't want to be going against the grain. I'm just glad I know at least a few real people I can talk with who know what true communication is.

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