The Gen-Y Crisis: The search for authentic friendship

Where can I begin to start to describe Generation-Y friendships?

We are tech-savvy, social media fanatics and fun loving teenagers often spotted painting the town red on a Friday and Saturday night. We are the dominant invaders of music festivals and are the life of the party.  We live for the mantra ‘carpe diem’ and we definitely live up to it.

We’ve certainly got to be the most outgoing and extroverted social beings alive, right? Wrong.

Quite frankly, I find that it is most difficult to find and maintain authentic friendships with Gen-Y people.

SO… here’s why:

We are tech-savvy, social media fanatics alright! However, I find it ironic that our everyday social skills have decreased significantly as a result of this obsession. It’s difficult to have a face-to-face conversation without having all your friends glued to their screens constantly looking at Facebook and Twitter updates. In my opinion, it decreases the value of the time spent together thus, decreasing the value of friendship.

I find that one of the greatest qualities of a friend is someone who is a genuine listener and is able to give their undivided attention to you when spending time together. Nowadays, it’s so rare to witness this in everyday situations.

Popular culture seems to hype up the attitude of ‘living for the weekend’, which only means one thing – clubs and frantic house parties. Social media is definitely good at making this attitude and scene attractive, but it’s actually quite the opposite once you’ve experienced it in reality.

Hangovers, an empty wallet, blisters and bruises for a night that you cannot even remember. I detoxed this ‘way of life’ from my system simply because it’s highly unlikely that you will find or make genuine friendships in clubs and parties that imitate a clubbing scene. Instead, what fills the scene is head-pounding, loud music, a lack of space for conversation and intoxication. All that is left are bodies – objects. It’s difficult to see a person as SOMEONE rather than SOMETHING in an environment where we are limited in expressing our agency.

Then, there is a large and sudden influx of all day and all night music festivals. Once in a while, I don’t mind attending one of these given that I genuinely like the DJ/band/musician that is performing. I don’t want to sound some sort of hermit. Instead, I wanted to focus on the philosophy behind this craze and demand which did not exist previously.

It seems that we seem to be a generation that has become, almost – lonely. So, we use noise to fill it all up.

Take note of what Walker Percy says in Lost in the Cosmos:

“Social life is disappointing. The very franticness of attempts to re-establish community and festival by partying, by groups, by club, by touristy Mardi Gras, is the best evidence of the loss of true community and festival and of the loneliness of self, stranded as it is as an unspeakable consciousness in a world from which it perceives itself as somehow estranged, stranded even within its own body, with which it sees no clear connection.”

Although most of us may be lost, it doesn’t mean that we can’t be found. Switch your phone off for a while, go for walk with a friend and smell the flowers. Perhaps, you will see the world in a different way or in a way you hadn’t seen it in a while – and it isn’t so frantic after all.

 

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