Friendship: Black, white and shades of gray

Published: June 20, 2007 | Last Updated: June 23, 2007 By | 2 Replies Continue Reading

When it comes to social networking sites, like Facebook or MySpace, things are largely black or white, says blogger Nancy Baym.

On her blog, Online fandom, Baym remarks: “One of the great shortcomings of social network sites as they currently exist is that almost all of them offer you only one kind of friend. It’s binary — you’re a friend or you aren’t…

Now there are some shades of grey on some sites: Flickr lets you call people friends, family or contacts and restrict content shared accordingly; Facebook lets you limit what some friends see and limit how much you see about some friends. But no social network site offers anywhere near the shades of gray that characterize real life friendship.”

While sociologists and psychologists struggle to define and classify the different varieties of friendships we amass over our lives, Baym makes the point that social networking sites tend to gloss over these important distinctions. It made me think that when it comes to friendship, the number isn’t really what counts. More important is the quality of these relationships and their relevance to your needs.

Every woman needs at least one friend in whom she can confide, one with whom she can laugh, one to whom she can cry, one with whom she can shop to excess, and one with whom she can be with for hours without saying a word. Best friends are often multi-purpose—they are there for you in whatever ways you need them when you need them. It makes sense to periodically inventory your friendships to see what you have and what’s lacking. This enables you to pursue new friends, in the real world or virtual world, to fill the gaps.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Category: Uncategorized

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Irene says:

    Yes, there is something very special about our relationship. I love your candor which allows me to be completely honest with you. I love your spunk which makes me laugh and inspires me to be funny. I love your intellect which challenges mine. And I love your generous spirit.


    But we really should see each other more!!!!


    Your buddy,


  2. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how many “best” friends are those met in high school and college, rather than later in life. I’m always fascinated with the question “what is it that makes a new acquintance stick as a friend?” So many people whom we meet and like fall by the wayside despite fervent promises of “we’ll get together.” After all, we’re all very busy and friends take time.

    But then there are a few who do stick, going on to be part of the glue of your life no matter how little you actually see them. One of them, who created this blog, I met more than a decade ago when I showed up a day early to cover a big event (I’m a journalist), having driven all the way there from Manhattan, which at that time was a big deal to me. I was taken to the office of the woman who handled the media, and she made my mistake so funny that all all my embarrassment vanished.

    Now, even though I rarely see her, and sometimes months will go by with no contact via e-mail or phone, I consider her one of my best friends. So what made that relationship click past the first meeting while most such relationships fall by the wayside?

Leave a Reply