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Author Topic: Why do Americans rarely follow up with friendship?  (Read 1579 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: September 25, 2013, 01:45:32 AM »

I mean Americans are pretty friendly people and polite, but once you get past the small talk it seems as if nobody wants to forge friendships. I am not just talking about me but in general.

In short we really only have maybe 1-3 real friends and the rest are just acquaintances. Is it a inner circle thing where they don't want to bring someone new into the fold?

I just never really understood it.
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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2013, 01:46:31 AM »

I thought that was true in general and everywhere  Huh
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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2013, 05:23:39 AM »

Interesting query.  This is not what I've noticed when I look at my parents, brother, and sister's circle of friends.  They have made broad circles of friends, from their schooling, church associations, work, neighbors, and community associations where they are involved.

Perhaps you're encountering people like me. I am happy living alone, rather private and shy away from making new friends, keeping just a couple of small circles of friends and not looking to expand them.  I can't stand having to reply politely to the would be meteorologists I meet in the hallway of my apartment, "It's going to be nice today;"  "Have we met; why are you talking to me?" is how I want to react. I'm just not one for small talk. I have church friends who I like to speak with about areas of common interest, but I'd never do anything more with them than engage in conversations during the Sunday coffee social.
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2013, 05:41:49 AM »

What's wrong with having only a couple of close friends?
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« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2013, 05:51:23 AM »

Maybe you can clarify what you mean by friends here Achronos. What I took you to mean was "close friends" or "true friends" or whatever. Not someone you talk to once a week, go to a ball game with, send an email to, etc. More like someone that helps you move for 8 hours without expecting some reward/compensation, someone who doesn't particularly like road trips but will drive with you 200 miles just to keep you company, etc. Not that the friendship is built on "what will you do for me," but rather the friendship is such that the two people are naturally willing to go well beyond what they'd do for a casual friend/acquaintance.  Huh
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« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2013, 06:42:18 AM »

I mean Americans are pretty friendly people and polite, but once you get past the small talk it seems as if nobody wants to forge friendships. I am not just talking about me but in general.

In short we really only have maybe 1-3 real friends and the rest are just acquaintances. Is it a inner circle thing where they don't want to bring someone new into the fold?

I just never really understood it.

It's an inner circle thing where most people can't be bothered making new friends and stick with the same old long term school pals etc. otherwise they have huge families, plenty of siblings, cousins, spouses family etc so they don't need to associate with others. I know several such families, when they have get together a there are 30 to 50 of them alone so no need to invite anyone else.

this is always worse in big, impersonal cities. You may have more luck in smaller towns.

Secondly Americans on the whole are shallow, inconsiderate, self centred people. Getting Beyond superficialities is too hard for ,any of them.
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« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2013, 06:55:24 AM »

I mean Americans are pretty friendly people and polite, but once you get past the small talk it seems as if nobody wants to forge friendships.

 I couldn't locate the thread, but I seem ro recall a thread you started not too long ago where you railed against small talk and other relationship buliders with a fairly nasty vitriole.  I'm just a country boy, but I'd bet the farm your attitude might have something to do with it.


EDIT: I found the thread- Can we kill the small talk?
 In it, you stated that most people think you're rude because you don't like small talk or something along those lines.  I'm not sure, but maybe you just don't bring anything to the table of friendship?  I'm not trying to be harsh or mean...
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« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2013, 08:11:51 AM »

I mean Americans are pretty friendly people and polite, but once you get past the small talk it seems as if nobody wants to forge friendships. I am not just talking about me but in general.

In short we really only have maybe 1-3 real friends and the rest are just acquaintances. Is it a inner circle thing where they don't want to bring someone new into the fold?

I just never really understood it.
You have 1-3 real friends?

Lucky.
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« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2013, 08:14:06 AM »

Secondly Americans on the whole are shallow, inconsiderate, self centred people. Getting Beyond superficialities is too hard for ,any of them.

How many Americans have you met in real life?
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« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2013, 09:24:19 AM »

Americans vary like everyone else, but I've found not a few warm and friendly in the best possible sense. Following up acquaintanceship with something deeper is a TWO way process.

As I have written before one day walking along Whitehall in Central London I heard my name called in a very loud American accent. Taking no notice, thinking someone was calling out to a friend, I continued on. Again that sequence was repeated once more, then a firm hand descended on my shoulder and a familiar face appeared. A face I had spent many watches with. Needless to say the initial greeting was followed by the biggest hug you may imagine by my US Navy friend. Friendships are two way.
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« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2013, 09:37:18 AM »

I think there is something to be said about networks of friends.  You have your close friends who are like additional family in many ways.  You also often have their friends as an extended network. In addition, you also have people you like and occasionally enjoy the company of but wouldn't help hide the body if they murdered someone.
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« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2013, 09:49:18 AM »

I mean Americans are pretty friendly people and polite, but once you get past the small talk it seems as if nobody wants to forge friendships.

 I couldn't locate the thread, but I seem ro recall a thread you started not too long ago where you railed against small talk and other relationship buliders with a fairly nasty vitriole.  I'm just a country boy, but I'd bet the farm your attitude might have something to do with it.


EDIT: I found the thread- Can we kill the small talk?
 In it, you stated that most people think you're rude because you don't like small talk or something along those lines.  I'm not sure, but maybe you just don't bring anything to the table of friendship?  I'm not trying to be harsh or mean...
Your reading comprehension needs work.
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« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2013, 09:49:18 AM »

What's wrong with having only a couple of close friends?
Nothing but just making an observation here.

Besides I'm in a new city and would like to have a few friends.
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« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2013, 09:53:14 AM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar's_number

"Dunbar's number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person. This number was first proposed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who found a correlation between primate brain size and average social group size. By using the average human brain size and extrapolating from the results of primates, he proposed that humans can only comfortably maintain 150 stable relationships."
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« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2013, 09:58:36 AM »

What's wrong with having only a couple of close friends?
Nothing but just making an observation here.

Besides I'm in a new city and would like to have a few friends.

Big cities, at least here in the USA, are really nothing more than a series of interconnected small towns. Look to your neighborhood for starters, a library, the Y, a Starbucks or corner tavern (pub to you Brits)a bodega or corner shop and so on. In college I came to realize that many NYC friends weren't worldly at all, cold, uppity  or "big city", but were really just small town kids whose world was their neighborhood and neighbors. Just sayin...
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« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2013, 10:08:22 AM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar's_number

"Dunbar's number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person. This number was first proposed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who found a correlation between primate brain size and average social group size. By using the average human brain size and extrapolating from the results of primates, he proposed that humans can only comfortably maintain 150 stable relationships."

That's interesting... Quite.
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« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2013, 10:16:31 AM »

What's wrong with having only a couple of close friends?
Nothing but just making an observation here.

Besides I'm in a new city and would like to have a few friends.

Big cities, at least here in the USA, are really nothing more than a series of interconnected small towns. Look to your neighborhood for starters, a library, the Y, a Starbucks or corner tavern (pub to you Brits)a bodega or corner shop and so on. In college I came to realize that many NYC friends weren't worldly at all, cold, uppity  or "big city", but were really just small town kids whose world was their neighborhood and neighbors. Just sayin...

Good advice.

If you're an outgoing person you'll probably find it easier to make friends anywhere.  If, like me, you're not, you probably won't have a lot of friends.  Some folks want a lot, others, like Basil, and others, don't.  If you have 1 or 2 really good friends, you are, like the Tri said, lucky.
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« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2013, 10:20:21 AM »

I was a Brownie Scout for a few months (not much for organized group activities) when I was in elementary school, but I do remember they taught us a saying: "To have a friend, you must be one first." That's about all I remember - except, the good deed thing and how to make turkey out of apples and marshmallows.
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« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2013, 10:26:28 AM »

I mean Americans are pretty friendly people and polite, but once you get past the small talk it seems as if nobody wants to forge friendships. I am not just talking about me but in general.

In short we really only have maybe 1-3 real friends and the rest are just acquaintances. Is it a inner circle thing where they don't want to bring someone new into the fold?

I just never really understood it.
You have 1-3 real friends?

Lucky.

Indeed. Reminds me of Chris Rock's take on school shootings (warning: language). I don't know if people are thinking that more friends = more happy or what, but the premise of this thread strikes me as odd.
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« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2013, 10:33:35 AM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar's_number

"Dunbar's number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person. This number was first proposed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who found a correlation between primate brain size and average social group size. By using the average human brain size and extrapolating from the results of primates, he proposed that humans can only comfortably maintain 150 stable relationships."

That's interesting... Quite.
couple that with this
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_degrees_of_separation
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« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2013, 10:36:12 AM »

I was a Brownie Scout for a few months (not much for organized group activities) when I was in elementary school, but I do remember they taught us a saying: "To have a friend, you must be one first." That's about all I remember - except, the good deed thing and how to make turkey out of apples and marshmallows.

Is that some kind of beginner's alchemy? Grin

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« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2013, 11:37:24 AM »

I was a Brownie Scout for a few months (not much for organized group activities) when I was in elementary school, but I do remember they taught us a saying: "To have a friend, you must be one first." That's about all I remember - except, the good deed thing and how to make turkey out of apples and marshmallows.

Is that some kind of beginner's alchemy? Grin



IIRC, I think that they used raisins for the eyes. When I was a kid, I was pretty much impressed by anything.
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« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2013, 11:46:41 AM »

Wait Jeff and Trisagon are you both saying you have no real friends?

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« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2013, 12:13:18 PM »

Wait Jeff and Trisagon are you both saying you have no real friends?



I can't speak for my real friend, TheTrisagion, but....is that what I'm saying?  I don't recall saying that.  But don't worry, Alex, I do have real friends.  My wife, as a matter of fact, is my very best friend.  And, I assure you, she is quite real. Wink
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« Reply #24 on: September 25, 2013, 12:25:12 PM »

I was a Brownie Scout for a few months (not much for organized group activities) when I was in elementary school, but I do remember they taught us a saying: "To have a friend, you must be one first." That's about all I remember - except, the good deed thing and how to make turkey out of apples and marshmallows.

Is that some kind of beginner's alchemy? Grin



Once they figured out the Philosopher's Stone wasn't happening, they decided to make turkey out of non-poultry based elements and called it good.
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« Reply #25 on: September 25, 2013, 12:29:54 PM »

It's not that American's don't know how to make friends, it's that apparently we are busier than the rest of the world!  Wink

I have tons of acquaintances, and even more friends....however, my truest friends revolve around family and church.

I don't hang out with work chums, although I would help them move, etc....if they needed it.

The thing is that there are only 24/day....and so much needs to be done.  Friends require not only effort, but, time.

I have home responsibilities that take priority over hanging out with friends, going to the movies, lunch, picnics, whatever.

However, if someone needs my help, I will be there.  I simply cannot hold their hand 24/7, talk on the phone for hours, go shopping for the perfect dress, gossip about celebrities, etc.  There's no time for things like that.  That's what our teenage years were for.  

This Forum serves to fill that void for me!  Wink
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« Reply #26 on: September 25, 2013, 12:51:30 PM »

Wait Jeff and Trisagon are you both saying you have no real friends?


It depends on what you mean by friends. Apart from my wife, I have probably 2 people that I would trust with my life.  I have perhaps another 6-8 that I would consider confidants, and a bunch of people that are aquaintances that I get along with, but if they disappeared from my life, it would not materially affect it.
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« Reply #27 on: September 25, 2013, 01:08:38 PM »

Non-Americans can't understand the American word friend.

But here is a hint, we are the people who brought you facebook.
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« Reply #28 on: September 25, 2013, 01:23:04 PM »

I mean Americans are pretty friendly people and polite, but once you get past the small talk it seems as if nobody wants to forge friendships.

 I couldn't locate the thread, but I seem ro recall a thread you started not too long ago where you railed against small talk and other relationship buliders with a fairly nasty vitriole.  I'm just a country boy, but I'd bet the farm your attitude might have something to do with it.


EDIT: I found the thread- Can we kill the small talk?
 In it, you stated that most people think you're rude because you don't like small talk or something along those lines.  I'm not sure, but maybe you just don't bring anything to the table of friendship?  I'm not trying to be harsh or mean...
Your reading comprehension needs work.
Well, there's a good way to make friends. Say stuff like this^
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« Reply #29 on: September 25, 2013, 01:26:19 PM »

I mean Americans are pretty friendly people and polite, but once you get past the small talk it seems as if nobody wants to forge friendships.

 I couldn't locate the thread, but I seem ro recall a thread you started not too long ago where you railed against small talk and other relationship buliders with a fairly nasty vitriole.  I'm just a country boy, but I'd bet the farm your attitude might have something to do with it.


EDIT: I found the thread- Can we kill the small talk?
 In it, you stated that most people think you're rude because you don't like small talk or something along those lines.  I'm not sure, but maybe you just don't bring anything to the table of friendship?  I'm not trying to be harsh or mean...
Your reading comprehension needs work.
Well, there's a good way to make friends. Say stuff like this^

Works for me. Most of my friends have had low tolerances for insipitude.

You ain't gotta be friendly to have friends. In fact, it usually a sure sign of someone who has known none.
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« Reply #30 on: September 25, 2013, 01:27:45 PM »

relationship buliders

People who talk like this I also assume don't know what friendship means. Get back to networking.
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« Reply #31 on: September 25, 2013, 01:32:43 PM »

Because it's better to walk in solitude.
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« Reply #32 on: September 25, 2013, 01:33:56 PM »

It's not that American's don't know how to make friends, it's that apparently we are busier than the rest of the world!  Wink

I have tons of acquaintances, and even more friends....however, my truest friends revolve around family and church.

I don't hang out with work chums, although I would help them move, etc....if they needed it.

The thing is that there are only 24/day....and so much needs to be done.  Friends require not only effort, but, time.

I have home responsibilities that take priority over hanging out with friends, going to the movies, lunch, picnics, whatever.

However, if someone needs my help, I will be there.  I simply cannot hold their hand 24/7, talk on the phone for hours, go shopping for the perfect dress, gossip about celebrities, etc.  There's no time for things like that.  That's what our teenage years were for.  

This Forum serves to fill that void for me!  Wink


Also, the nature of American "relationships" plays a role in this.  Magua in Last of the Mohicans sums it up best - "Magua understands that the white man is a dog to his woman." 

New GF...Peace bro.
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« Reply #33 on: September 25, 2013, 01:37:29 PM »

I mean Americans are pretty friendly people and polite, but once you get past the small talk it seems as if nobody wants to forge friendships.

 I couldn't locate the thread, but I seem ro recall a thread you started not too long ago where you railed against small talk and other relationship buliders with a fairly nasty vitriole.  I'm just a country boy, but I'd bet the farm your attitude might have something to do with it.


EDIT: I found the thread- Can we kill the small talk?
 In it, you stated that most people think you're rude because you don't like small talk or something along those lines.  I'm not sure, but maybe you just don't bring anything to the table of friendship?  I'm not trying to be harsh or mean...
Your reading comprehension needs work.
Well, there's a good way to make friends. Say stuff like this^

Works for me. Most of my friends have had low tolerances for insipitude.

You ain't gotta be friendly to have friends. In fact, it usually a sure sign of someone who has known none.
Goodness gracious. I can only imagine what an even out with your friends must be like.  Cheesy
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« Reply #34 on: September 25, 2013, 02:42:34 PM »

Secondly Americans on the whole are shallow, inconsiderate, self centred people. Getting Beyond superficialities is too hard for ,any of them.

How many Americans have you met in real life?

It is a fair judgement regardless of how many he has met. Except the superficialities are their most intimate and storied secrets. Americans love one stands of sex and emotional "bonding" usually not with the same person though.

The morning after in both cases is awful.

Remember, they are the people who brought you reality TV.
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« Reply #35 on: September 25, 2013, 02:44:26 PM »

Because it's better to walk in solitude.

At least you walk the talk to yourself.
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« Reply #36 on: September 25, 2013, 02:52:01 PM »

Homophobia I suppose
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« Reply #37 on: September 25, 2013, 02:52:59 PM »

Homophobia I suppose
I literally LOLed. James for the win.... Unless, of course, you are serious.
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« Reply #38 on: September 25, 2013, 02:53:12 PM »

Homophobia I suppose

WUT??
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« Reply #39 on: September 25, 2013, 02:53:41 PM »

Too often "following-up" means texting, Facebook messaging, etc. I would much rather have a large circle of people with whom I can talk or meet in person, than an equal number of people defined by Facebook or Verizon as my friends depending on whether we regularly interact through their commercialized means of digital communication.
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« Reply #40 on: September 25, 2013, 02:54:44 PM »

Ionnis could weigh in cause I think he is one of the few people other than myself that has read much in the way of literature about friendship throughout the tradition.

If anyone else had, friend would be a rarely uttered word.
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« Reply #41 on: September 25, 2013, 03:03:15 PM »

Ionnis could weigh in cause I think he is one of the few people other than myself that has read much in the way of literature about friendship throughout the tradition.

If anyone else had, friend would be a rarely uttered word.

Why would any amount of literature change the contemporary meaning of the word "friend"?
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« Reply #42 on: September 25, 2013, 03:07:52 PM »

Because it's better to walk in solitude.

...if only to avoid the countless hours spent messaging that's now required for friendship.
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« Reply #43 on: September 25, 2013, 03:40:52 PM »

Ionnis could weigh in cause I think he is one of the few people other than myself that has read much in the way of literature about friendship throughout the tradition.

If anyone else had, friend would be a rarely uttered word.

Why would any amount of literature change the contemporary meaning of the word "friend"?

Because people would come to understand the history of friendship across the world, specifically that one would make only a handful of friends over his life, that these friendships were valued above almost everything, and that these people in America whom we call "friends" are usually nothing of the sort. As much as orthonorm likes to rag on C.S. Lewis (who is not always my favorite either), he definitely got it right when he observed that friendship was dying in the 20th century Anglosphere. When we use the contemporary sense of the word friend it is hard to imagine, for example, how the philosophers of ancient Greece could have had so many different views on whether polyphilia (having many friends) was an acceptable or desirable practice or how Cicero could have written an entire treatise on friendship. Lamentably, having corrupted the word friend into being nearly synonymous with acquaintance, we no longer have a word in the English language which adequately describes friendship as it was known to the ancients. And now it seems to me that we have not only lost the concept of friendship, but that we have even lost the ability to form friendships, because of our own collective ignorance as to the meaning of the word friend.
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« Reply #44 on: September 25, 2013, 04:34:37 PM »

Ionnis could weigh in cause I think he is one of the few people other than myself that has read much in the way of literature about friendship throughout the tradition.

If anyone else had, friend would be a rarely uttered word.

Why would any amount of literature change the contemporary meaning of the word "friend"?

Because people would come to understand the history of friendship across the world, specifically that one would make only a handful of friends over his life, that these friendships were valued above almost everything, and that these people in America whom we call "friends" are usually nothing of the sort. As much as orthonorm likes to rag on C.S. Lewis (who is not always my favorite either), he definitely got it right when he observed that friendship was dying in the 20th century Anglosphere. When we use the contemporary sense of the word friend it is hard to imagine, for example, how the philosophers of ancient Greece could have had so many different views on whether polyphilia (having many friends) was an acceptable or desirable practice or how Cicero could have written an entire treatise on friendship. Lamentably, having corrupted the word friend into being nearly synonymous with acquaintance, we no longer have a word in the English language which adequately describes friendship as it was known to the ancients. And now it seems to me that we have not only lost the concept of friendship, but that we have even lost the ability to form friendships, because of our own collective ignorance as to the meaning of the word friend.

Sorry but knowledge of history or no, technology (and money) always wins; in this case, Facebook. Especially when it's in the name of a progressive humanitarian goal like the declaration "Internet connectivity is a human right." Anyway we now have the ability to instantly connect with thousands of people, why shouldn't society be shaped by the technology it creates? If the ancients had been given access to computer networks I'd guess their philosophy about social relationships would also have been quite different.

I'm not familiar with C.S. Lewis' argument but probably it was related to the influence of urbanization on society in the 19th/early 20th century, another inevitable historical development affected by the march of technological advance.
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