Are Most of Your Friends on Social Media Fake?

People may come and people may leave your circles over time, but the overall number in each circle remains within the range.

Technology has forced us to interact 24 hours. We would like to be connected virtually as we’d prefer to stay in touch, continue with our multiple friends on FB, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn….. 

Keep up with an illusion. An Illusion of Opportunity 

We believe that more relationships mean more opportunity. The rationale is that interacting with more people is better than interacting with some -the more friends you have the better it is

Have we got it wrong? Have we gone against our thinking? Can we know our friends? The reality is we hardly know most of them. British anthropologist Prof Robin Dunbar in his ‘Social Brain Hypothesis’ says you’re likely to possess only five ‘loved ones’ at a time, another 15 ‘good friends’, 50 friends, 150 ‘meaningful contacts’, 500 acquaintances, and 1,500 people you will be ready to recognize.

People may come and people may leave your circles over time, but the overall number in each circle remains within the range. Relationships take time, and since it’s scarce we reserve it for those who matter most in our lives….in the single digits, and not in 1000s. 

  • All likes can make it lonely

A voyeuristic approach to social media helps us stay ‘friends’. But there are negative effects of social media, like increasing depression, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness. These feelings may be attributed to the number of people you follow and interact with – friends or not. 

  • Social media brings us a way of intimacy and closeness that doesn’t exist. 

I consider many of my social media friends to be friends but not as close as my friends I’ve got an emotional connection with or pre-social media era friends (from 20+ years ago). The reality is I know nothing about them these virtual friends, except their social media posts. These connections are at the simplest – shallow!

  • Social media encourages the ‘promiscuous friending’ of people who often have very tenuous links. 

It is important to know who you’re connected to, vs. who you’re virtually connected to; which stage the relationships are.

  • Low Emotional Intensity

A paucity of time and a scarcity of face-to-face interactions makes it difficult to possess a relationship with a very high level of “emotional intensity.” In online environments, the focus is incredibly limited due to the dearth of some time. 

What we would like to undertake to do

  • Invest in real friendships

Reduce virtual friends (so-called) to invest in the real ones.

If you’re my friend, I want to trust you, divulge my heart’s contents to you, lollygag around with you (in real life) and hear your voice-not just see your likes, emojis, and comments. And if I have got caught up in meaningless friendships and putting my real ones on hold, that’s a serious concern.

  • Delete your friends, not your Facebook. 

Social media, mustn’t dictate to you. It’s fun, it’s convenient and it’s a good time when you’re bored. Comb out those which are not relevant or not ‘ friendly’ enough. Control your urges. 

  • There’s a capacity for friendships, even online 

You will FOMO less. Most social media posts are irrelevant and with lesser time spent there less irrelevancy in your life. Some meaningless conversations take lots of your time-sapping you of energy. Using your energy for extensive social media interaction with strangers could even be draining your resources. Reserve it for a more constructive relationship. “The time you invest during a relationship determines the strength of the link,” Dunbar says. 

A recent study by Dunbar suggests that even though social media allows us to “break through the glass ceiling” of maintaining offline relationships and having larger social networks, it doesn’t overcome our natural capacity for friendships.

Social Media Is Not All That Bad

By increasing social circles, people can prevent friendships from decaying overtime “in the absence of opportunities for face-to-face contact.” And face-to-face interactions are necessary to prevent friendships from sliding down network layers past the edge of the “150 layers” into the “500 layers” category, who are considered acquaintances.

One of the advantages of social media is being able to engage in the happenings of people I don’t live near. I can be a voyeur of everything from precious moments to boring events, all while I go about my daily chores. But there is a bit I can do without some unnecessary banter, hate, sarcasm, boring pics, etc. I can do without

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