The Enduring Power of Friendship
In her article The Enduring Power of Friendship Susan Davis discusses the termination of her relationship with her Kelly, her childhood friend of 12 years. The duo virtually grew up together, shared a home, and all their dreams for the future, but several years after Davis moved to California to pursue a graduate degree and Kelly joined her out West, things just didn’t seem to be the same. Eventually, Kelly eradicated the relationship by just silently cutting Davis out of her life, while Davis hoped in vain she would call again someday.
After revealing her situation, Davis addresses the fact most sociologists and psychologists have researched childhood friendships because those social patterns are what is built upon during adulthood. Adult friendships, however, have recently come under more scrutiny as their significance is now realized as well. Davis describes them as providing “various levels of indispensable support.”
She then details how challenging maintaining a friendship can be due to friction created by normal life circumstances, such as a new job, losing a job, a new relationship, or a divorce. Davis terms these instances as “developmental transitions” and emphasizes the main reason for this phenomenon is friendships are entered into or discarded of our own free will. There is no tie that binds and with the hectic pace of our 20th century lifestyles, it is easier to dissolve a friendship than nurture it.
In her conclusion, Davis addresses how losing several friendships can lower a person’s self-esteem and ability to trust in others and also, for a friendship to truly survive it must be “flexible.” By this, she means people need to maintain the relationship while they are both adapting and changing. They need to learn how to be understanding and at times, simply let go to allow the other person their space, but according to her research, this is not how people normally behave.
In my opinion, the rise of social media has impacted the development of interpersonal relationships. It seems like people are becoming more and more self-absorbed and rely on friendships that are virtual instead of old fashioned interaction. I think it’s a shame and this situation will only continue to disintegrate as this generation of children becomes more tied into these forms of social media. Therefore, I agree with Davis. In order for a friendship to survive it does need to elastic and/or fluid and I also agree with her that you don’t find very much of that in this world anymore.