Human beings are social creatures that like to interact as well as meeting new people. In different stages in life, people are expected to meet new people and make new friends, some friendship develop while in college, work places and even in social functions where there is interaction of people from different backgrounds. However, friendship might be driven by different motives; the impulse to create new friends is not necessarily driven by the need for companionship but by a might greater need of fitting in a certain social status(Robin 18).
There are people who would love to be associated with a certain group of people who belong to a specific social class. Male students would love to have many girlfriends not because he needs companions, but mainly because he needs to brag to his friends on how he can influence women. There are employees who would love to be very close with their managers so that they can show off to other employees that they are not just in the employee’s status. Friendship nowadays is influenced by benefits that one gets by being associated with a certain person or a class of people within the society. People believe that the more friends one makes, the higher one can get in the social status. People will get into money driven friendships since they want to benefit from their wealthy friends.
There are different qualities of companionship that miss in many social networks,honest,trust ,encouragement and care, this lack in the modern day companionship where people are more interested by status. People claim to have so many friends but once they face challenges they have no one to turn to, people do not have people whom they can talk to when faced by challenges yet they claim to have many friends. There are those who like to be associated with wealthy people yet when they face financial challenges the people they claim to be their friends are too busy to help them. In the modern world where technology plays a key role in social interaction, people are even making online friends. There are people who brag on the number of friends that they have in their social sites such as Facebook, MySpace and followers in twitter. This is living in a virtual world where one focuses more on status rather than true companionship. Many young people love to be associated with celebrities whom they would love refer to be their friends yet they know very little about them. Companionship is not about the number of friends that one has, it is about the true friends that one has who are ready to stick with him/her through thick and thin. Some people become get disappointed and go through different stages of depression when people they wish were their friends fail to be part of their friendship circle. There are people who have even committed suicide just because some people cannot be their friends. This shows the extent at which friendship has focused more on status rather than companionship. Peer pressure is also an issue that influences friendship and companionship, many young people especially teenagers do not really understand the essence of friendship. It is normal for people to have many friends saved in their phonebooks; ironically, many of these people called friends are people that we rarely communicate with(Sylvia 56). This is not friendship based on companionship, it is all about status.
Friendship based on true companionship is slowly fading away in the modern society. Relationship cannot last just because people compare their friends and wish they were people in a higher social class. The poor are only left to relate with their fellow poor people since the rich feel that relating with the poor is scoping in a low social class. The rich form their own clubs where they meet to wine and dine during the weekends, there are people who will struggle to fit in such as class of people even though they cannot afford it.Marriages never last since they were based on status rather than friendship and true companionship. Once a marriage starts facing challenges especially financial challenges, one of the couples might leave the other for a more financially stable person. Politicians befriends many people during the election period not because they want true companions, they just need the votes and afterwards the friendship breaks up. The family has also lacked the friendship and companionship pillar with many young people disowning their parents just because they do not fit the social status that they would like to live.
Numbers does not measure true value of friendship, the friendship test comes when one faces challenges and needs his/her friends to be there for help, there are those who will stay while others will leave. It is not about the number of friends that one makes, it is about that one friend who values the companionship brought about by the friendship. Selfish motives have changes the value of friendship with many people now trying to get many friends who fit their social status. The value of friendship needs to be taught especially to the young generation .The wider value of true friendship needs to be beyond numbers and social status. The world has become a global village and socialization has taken another level, however there is need to differentiate between networking, socialization and the characteristics of true friendship. Companionship cannot develop from just chatting online with people who have never met in life and after two weeks people assume that it is true friendship. The issue of friendship for companionship and status has also gone to a national level; there are nations, which love to be the associated and linked with many nations in the world. If the friendship whether on a national or person level has no benefits based on companionship, it is likely to add no value (Baron & Robert 37).
Robin Dunbar has given a clear picture of the modern society where people are focused more on status rather than true companionship. There are many factors in the modern world, which influence human interaction, and status is a key factor. Social networking cannot be analyzed without considering the value of friendship in the society.
Baron, Robert A., and Donn Erwin Byrne. Social psychology: understanding human interaction. 6th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2001. Print.
Dunbar, Robin, and R. I. M. Dunbar. Evolutionary psychology: a beginner's guide. Oxford: Oneworld, 2005. Print.
Engdahl, Sylvia. Online social networking. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2007. Print.