Why Real-Life “Friends” Are Useless

I once used to have, and strove to develop more, real-life friendships. But I gave up that pursuit years ago, and here is why..

In our contemporary world, real-life friendships are both hard to develop and more importantly- useless. It was not always like that, nor is it the case in many other cultures. So what is different about the current situation in affluent countries?

It comes down to many changes- both technological and social. Let us list them..

1. As I have said before, technological options such as cellphones, email, IMing, FaceBook, Twitter etc make connecting with people who are not in your physical vicinity easy. Therefore your real-life friends are often in competition with those who are accessible through technology.

The geographical mobility characteristic of our era also has no historical precedent. Therefore past real-life acquaintances who are online can now compete with those you can meet in real-life.

2. In most cultures, people who you befriended in real-life were mutually useful and somewhat trustworthy. However current cultural trends encourage, sanction and glorify a form of autistic sociopathy.

Throughout human history, people who screwed over their friends faced a very serious risk of social ostracism and other adverse consequences. Today, there are no negative consequences for such behavior and you might frequently be able to make a tidy profit by screwing over those who trust you. Just as woman friendly laws and jobs for women made divorce commonplace, an anonymous legalistic society has changed the cost-benefit analysis of screwing over people who trust you.

In my opinion, a society based on legalism rather than a viable social contract is inherently unstable. Such societies can appear to be rigid and orderly, but often collapse or implode in the face of unexpected stress.

3. One of more disturbing, and ultimately more destabilizing developments, in the face of such changes has been the tendency to blur the line between casual acquaintances and friends. Most real-life socialization is now ‘pretend friendly behavior’ with people we barely know, hate, are potential-adversaries of or just could not care about.

The downstream consequences of such disingenuous socialization is a situation where we are less likely to trust acquaintances than random non-threatening strangers. I cannot help but point out that this state of affairs is unprecedented in human history.

So what are the long-term consequences of such a system?

Other than obvious issues with loss of social cohesion under stress, it will make life miserable and uncertain for everyone involved. Beyond that, it is anyone’s guess..

Comments?

This entry was posted in Ape Mind, Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Why Real-Life “Friends” Are Useless

  1. blackdude says:

    thought i was the only one who thought this…..

  2. anon666 says:

    What exactly do you have to trust most of your friends with? Much of the time people spend with their friends consists of little more than enjoying a conversation over a beer. How much trust does that really require?

    That said, I do have about three friends who I think I can trust. However, I’m rarely in a situation where I really require them to be trustworthy, beyond trusting them to show up at the planned meeting place for a beer on time.

    • – Trust them with your secrets.
      – Trust them to help you when you are in need.
      – Trust them to mean what they say
      – Trust them to keep their promises.
      …(I could go on.)

      • anon666 says:

        Yeah, I don’t have too many issues with that — when I was in high school, there were plenty of turncoats, but the friends that I’ve had over the course of the past five years have been solid.

        Again, I think friendships are much more low-maintenance than romantic relationships, and I admit there aren’t as many circumstances that truly test the loyalty of a friend. The problem with relationships isn’t women per se, but the fact that the modern world presents too many opportunities that tempt your significant other into cheating on you or abandoning you. If whoever you’re with perceives themselves as having “options” that are better than being loyal to you, you’re screwed. Friendships don’t suffer the same problems, as you can have multiple friends at once and many people don’t see their friends more than once a week anyway.

  3. Very good post; I agree completely. I have been screwed over by (male) friends at least at much as I have been screwed over by women. (That’s why I can’t relate to much of the misogyny on many blogs; my misandry is as great as my misogyny.)

    I think your other post about the 20-40 dollar test is a good one. If there was true freedom of contract you could make someone pledge money as “friend collateral” and then hold them to it.

  4. PT Barnum says:

    You left out that Americans are all Bitches.

    If you violate the Herd Code, then you are expelled.

    And boy to those Bitches have a list.

  5. PT Barnum says:

    As an example, the Bitches Speak on what it takes to make Bitches happy:

    http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/04/06/lessons-from-a-retracted-editorial/

    His statements are of course true…. but that means nothing!

    His statements aren’t racist, religious, or sexist…. but that means nothing!

    He talked about lady-parts and man-parts!

    SO DESTROY HIS LIFE.

    The lesson to take from this is that all his friends aren’t really friends at all if they will turn on him and destroy his life over a nothing like this.

  6. Julianus Apostatus says:

    That pretty much sums up Japan at the moment.

    Have a listen to a BBC podcast of a documentary called Japan: A Friend in Need. Here’s the description:

    “Would you still walk down the aisle if you found out that you’re prospective in-laws, the best man and congregation were fake? Roland Buerk investigates Japan’s growing ‘rent a friend’ service and why social standing is driving excluded people to extremes.”

    How long till we head in that direction?

  7. PT Barnum says:

    “Would you still walk down the aisle if you found out that you’re prospective in-laws, the best man and congregation were fake? Roland Buerk investigates Japan’s growing ‘rent a friend’ service and why social standing is driving excluded people to extremes.”

    They don’t offer ANYTHING positive, and as the negatives of dealing with the animals increase, they have to increase the punishments to keep up. As we can see, they have reached quite an exciting level at this point.

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  11. raliv says:

    more time of internet = no social life.

    duh.

    but I get what you are saying AD

  12. Sister Y says:

    Who do you have sex with, get massages from, get high with, go running with, go surfing with, make music with, or go dancing with if you don’t have real-life friends?
    —-

    whores, whores and could not be bothered with the rest.

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  14. You should get a dog….

    hahahaha and ana-linguist crapacoli, I don’t mean a woman you rate as a 4-5 on your pua chart, I mean a canine….

  15. Tortured artist wanting to be a scientist says:

    “Who do you have sex with, get massages from, get high with, go running with, go surfing with, make music with, or go dancing with if you don’t have real-life friends?”

    Wiht no one, as I never had any need to do these things. What I wanted to be in life: a great artist or scientist. I then realized I had no aptitude for any of it because of my worthless genetic material my parents imposed upon me, especially my low IQ of 68 (Stanford Binet test). What’s there left to do? Overcoming my fear of death, my survival mechanism, as society does not allow people who have had too high standards for their life to exit humanely using a fool-proof method. I would _so_ love to end this miserable loser life using barbiturates, other times, though, I’m not put off by the thought of just blowing my shitty brain to pieces using a 12-gauge shotgun (no luck with barbiturates or guns in my country, though. :<).

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  17. I am experiencing the same situation,
    few days back one of my close friend and I ended a long college time friendship. The reason being that me and my family noticed a pattern of refusal whenever he is asked of any favor or any work.
    I never noticed because I never actually needed any favors from him. He was from out of town and I helped him a lot settling in, Few days back I was super busy and couldn’t get my household work done so I thought this friend might be of some help; but with some very stupid excuses he always backed out, no one cared his uselessness until his lie was caught one day, this is a funny and sad coincidence, My mother asked him to pick up some groceries as he was on his way to market, guy pretended that he is on call with someone, and now he has to change his route, and during this fake phone conversation, guess what could happen; HIS PHONE RANG, and this was the vantage point; everyone (friends and family members ) started noticing when this guy is useful, and he always had some good reason to not help.
    When I confronted him guy went all accusing my family of being unjust and what not. Even then I kept relation with the guy casual and he got nerve to barge in my house and use my computer. one day my folks decided enough is enough and this was it,
    he never came back.
    But then there are friends who are there for no matter what, I think you may live with a million enemies but with a jerk friend, there are slim chances that you will make it through.
    Point is there are all kind of people around the world, it’s up to you how you choose your friends, some may take bullet for you, most will throw you under the bus for no good reason.

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  19. stink says:

    All i have to say about friends, is that ive always had thier backs as often as i could. Helped them with a ton of things and been there through all thier “hard” times. And every single one has back stabbed me and i cant recal any of them being there for me like i have for them. I dont even know why i tried in the first place to be honest. I never really cared to have them, maybe i was just following the norm. People only want you around for thier own pleasure. Not yours. That right there makes me seem anti social and like a douche. But it i feel better and happier being a “loner” and a introvert, then going out and stressing myself to fit in for no good reason. Besides i csn maje myself happier than anyone ekse could. So why should i care to interact if im already at peace?

    • Nikko says:

      Spot on ! Friends are no where to be seen when you really red them. So enjoy shopping dinning by yourself. And don’t waste time fuss over others

  20. P Ray says:

    Nowadays it is the friendly person that gets the shaft, because they are a reminder that their help creates a debt.
    Many people want to escape any kind of reciprocation, so will then avoid the person that helped them.

  21. John Doe says:

    I’ve had to ditch a ton of friends recently (I’m 27 years old), which is something men don’t talk about. I simply asked myself, “What am I getting out of this relationship?” The answer was often something like subtle abuse, neediness, lack of reciprocation, constantly being insulted and then told “it’s a joke”, amongst other things. Of course, there are friendships you DO get something out of as well. People who are on your team, who are polite and respectful and don’t cross the line and then ask “why are you taking this so seriously?” etc.

    Ending the friendships has been weird. There is confrontation almost every time. The difference is I’m the type of person who has trained himself to be able to withstand being alone, and at this point it’s second nature to me… so it doesn’t bother me to end the friendships. The other parties seem to generally be unable to take it though, and have flipped out when they realized I’ve distanced myself. So they make you feel like you’re doing something wrong and you should feel bad, but you’re just moving on.

    Invasive, project his/her issues onto you constantly, is needy or a downer. Will want to go into detail about your life, but extremely private about their own feelings, explodes if you treat them how they treat you… talk to you often, then ignore you whenever they please. Sound familiar?
    Yeah, I decided to just end these “friendships” instead of keeping them going. Most were formed in school, where you need friends otherwise you’re isolation is magnified because you’re surrounded by constant socialization. In some cases there’s been somewhat of a “false start” to ending them as well, it’s part of distancing yourself.

    To give a less drastic example… The type of friend who doesn’t bother to socialize with you outside of *their* comfort zone, ever. It’s always on *their* terms. Sadly this is all too often the case with many friendships. People who want to use you when it’s convenient for them, but never reciprocate anything. Worse, they hold a double standard. They will deny your invitation to hang out in your neighborhood, or with some of your acquaintances, but if you do the same to them, they take it as an inexcusable personal offense and can’t imagine why you’d pass up such a great opportunity to hang with them. Has happened to me plenty. So your plans are never worth considering, but theirs should always be your #1 priority… right…

    A friend should be respectful, polite and available for coffee or a drink every now and then, for maybe 30 minutes. That’s about it. If you get along easily, you can go drinking or do whatever, go to a baseball game. All the crazy emotions and baggage and circumstances people create in friendships should remain their problem, once it starts affecting you for even a second you should consider how often it’s been happening and face facts… and pull the plug. This is coming from a guy though, with women it’s different.

  22. Froggy Woggy says:

    I think this analysis is right on the money. I am 40. I lived in the last blush of the world pre-tech explosion. The devices that “connect” us has indeed driven us apart. My favorite observation of yours was how the cost-benefit analysis of screwing someone over has changed. I would offer this: it’s akin to flipping someone off when they cut you off. Most people are complete wimps and unfit for physical altercations. Yet we all act like raging barbarian warriors from the safety and anonymity of our cars. The same goes for screwing people over online. It’s easy to do when no one’s around. But would the same person have the courage to do so in person? Doubtful. I am grateful for my family… my wife and daughter. Most people I’ve met have been massive disappointments on a personal and professional level but when you have high standards that’s what happens: you filter out most people. Elitist? Sure. Snobby? You bet. Do I care? Nope. We’ve come to live in this feminized caretaker society where everyone is somehow responsible for everyone else’s emotions. “He made me feel so MAD” is the battlecry of the helpless emotional cripple of 2017. Complaints flow like a river from most people’s mouths. The internet is full of whiners – not doers. Perpetual children in 40 year old bodies. No wonder we elected a clinically diagnosed psychopath and Mark Zuckerberg made billions by pasting a photo and an email together.

    The human race rises and falls based on the quality of character of the people that comprise it.

    We Americans, collectively, have become an inferior species. Ignorance is not a good trait, but we enshrine and worship it.

    Emotional codependency is not healthy but we encourage it.

    Censorship is not democratic but our workplaces enforce it.

    Materialism is the hallmark of a monkey who marvels at shiny new objects, not of fully developed men and women.

    So, I agree. Our culture of false friends is unstable and unsafe. It’s too bad that our opinion, albeit correct, is in such a vast minority that we’ll never change their minds.

    Besides… they don’t want their minds to be changed. They want to revel in the photos they post of themselves.

    We shouldnt be called the Millenial Generation.

    We should be called the Masturbation Generation… masturbating to pics of themselves and their “awesome amazing fabulous” lives.

    Maybe when they’re 70, they’ll learn.

    Wouldn’t hold my breath though.

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