Friday, February 3, 2023

#34 / Making New Friends


Jill Filipovic has written The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness. She also writes for The Guardian, and in her column published on December 29, 2022, Filipovic announced her 2023 "Operation To Make New Friends." Commenting on how social media will factor into her "new friends" campaign, Filipovic said the following:
Social media can help us stay connected to the people we love; it can open up new insights and put more information at our fingertips; it can be a conduit to new relationships.
But the balance matters. And too many of us have gotten badly out of balance, especially after a pandemic pushed so many of us into forced isolation. A lot of folks seemed to have stayed isolated; many others, having not exercised their social muscles for a year or more, seem to have decided they’re just too rusty.
This pretty much echoes my own thoughts about social media. My blog posting headlined, "Alone," published a few days before Filipovic's column, argued that encounters "in real life," not social media interaction, is how we can overcome the pervasive loneliness that is an all-too-common experience these days.  

But Filipovic said something else, too, and this is something that I don't necessarily agree with:

Friendships won’t save the world or the country. But they can sure save your sanity, shore up your health and make your life a whole lot better.
I concur in Filipovic's listing of some of the individual benefits of friendships. However, I am inclined to think, personally, that friendships CAN save the world and the country. At the very least, I am confident that making new friends will really help accomplish both of those things.

When we truly "make new friends," by "talking with strangers," for example, we make clear to ourselves, and those who are and become our friends, that we are "in this together," that we are not just a mixed bag of individuals - I am tempted to say a "mixed bag of nuts" - but that we have things in common. Recognizing this is of critical importance, and it is "politically" important, not just "individually" important.

A recognition of and an understanding of our mutual interdependence, particularly when embraced through friendship, may well be what can sustain us as we face the multitudinous challenges that inevitably lie ahead. These challenges (including existing challenges, and the challenges still to come) are not challenges that we can surmount individually. It's going to take us all, and if we're "friendly," that will make it so much easier!
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