We Have a lot to Learn About Friendship. Before Technology Changes Everything.

I’m from a town of 534 people. Just a few streets of little houses, one stop light and a great breakfast cafe. In a town like that, making friends is easy. It’s easy because you really don’t get much choice in the matter.

You just assume that the people around you are what you’ve got and you get down to the business of being friends.

For most of history this is how relationships have been formed. We’re friends with the people we are around. Easy.

Recently things have gotten complicated…The way we interact and make friends is changing. You know the changes I’m talking about, Instagram, group messaging, social gaming and even virtual reality.

Last week the Boston Globe published a piece about an Epidemic of Loneliness among American Men and Fresh Air took an in depth look at our growing addiction to digital devices and the way that they are changing our relationships.

According to Pew 57% of teens indicate that they’ve met new friends online and on any given day they are nearly four times as likely to connect with those friends digitally verses in person.

Houseparty is tapping into this trend by promoting what WSJ describes as “live chilling” that is often an alternative to having friends over.

I’m a firm believer that technology connects us more than it isolates us but as a small town kid, all these options are a long ways from what I experienced on my hometown basketball court.

With so many services promising to find us newer, better, more streamlined connections I’m left wondering if we’ve figured out what connection really means.

I’m not sure, but my guess is that our best friendships are still the ones we make over a beer. In any case, we have a lot to learn about what we have and what we might lose as the way we make friendships changes.