• Keeping Friends

Guest Post: Mixed-Age Facebook Friendships

Published: January 18, 2011 | Last Updated: May 17, 2020 By | 3 Replies Continue Reading

By Lynn Bozof

A strange but very sweet thing is happening. Do Facebook and other social media have anything to do with it? My adult children are now “friending” my friends on Facebook, leading to inter-generational relationships.

When I was a young adult, I would have thought it so strange to have a friendship with friends of my parents. The differences in age and social interests would just have been too great. Where was the common ground? Now, with the ease of communicating through social media, those differences don’t seem as great and we have more in common than I had thought. We all want good health and happiness. I’m interested in what is happening in my children’s lives and the lives of their friends, and they’re interested in what is happening with my friends and me.

In my case, maybe a shared tragedy had something to do with it. I lost my son to bacterial meningitis several years ago, not knowing his death could have been prevented with a vaccine, and as one of the founders of the National Meningitis Association, my sphere of contacts has expanded. Maybe enduring the loss of a child has blurred divisions with people that would have been there before, but I hear this from other families as well. I feel that it brings us all closer together. I know that I am more sensitive and vulnerable to the feelings of others, and that is a good thing.

The nice part is that a friend is a friend, whether that friend is many years younger or older than I am.

After losing a child to a potentially vaccine-preventable disease, Lynn Bozof, President of the National Meningitis Association, has devoted her life to raising awareness of bacterial meningitis and other preventable diseases.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    “I don’t understand the comment of the pressure of getting an email….”

    I think they meant that an email puts pressure on someone to take the time to think about and write a reponse; whereas a scrawl on a facebook wall doesn’t require anything much in response. That’s why Facebook seems kind of damaging ,to me. It perpetuates the notion that you don’t have to make much of an effort with people. It seems to glorify quantity, a big number of superficial “friendships” where you aren’t required to “show up” and be a friend. You aren’t required to write a letter in response. All you do is scrawl short comments on a wall.
    I agree email is more personable and to me a preferable way to stay in touch. But I wasn’t aware it was all that private. I thought emails stay around forever, even if you think you’ve deleted them. Can someone shed light on this?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I read an interesting article in a small local newspaper that no longer they will be purging the Facebook system as they want to retain data and information for marketing purposes and I would imagine capturing social trends. The point of the article was that from now on anything you say or put on Facebook stays on there forever and is not removed so be careful what you say on FB and be careful what you show about yourself on FB because it could come back and kick you in the______. I am not on FB or Twitter and I am still alive. I don’t understand the comment of the pressure of getting an email….it is more personal and I think a better way to communicate as it is private and confidential and no one is supposed to hack into your information because in my mind that is kind of criminal in a sense. If you live with someone or are married to someone and they know your email address and you are free to look at their emails and them at yours then that is acceptable too. Anyway I hope the information I gave you is accurate and truthful and above all helpful. Take care all.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Social media has now made email seem old-fashioned, passe, the way email made snail mail letter writing seem when email first came on the scene.

    But here is a different experience: A recent family reunion reintroduced me to relatives of long distance I didn’t know too well. The face to face time really was wonderful for us to get to know each other. One cousin insisted to me that my urgings that we stay in touch via email was out of date and intrusive. She said the best way is to scribble a short note on a facebook wall so that the person whose wall it is wouldn’t feel obligated or pressured to write back. Well, I don’t do Facebook, etc. So after our reunion I dropped a one-sentence note to a cousin to follow up on some recipe talk we had had during our reunion. This is the cousin I was told would not want to be pressured by an email. But lo and behold she wrote me back with a lengthy, warm, engaging email asking questions and continuing conversation threads we had started in person. She is 25 to my 65 years old. I am not a 65 year old who tries to act young; I own my age and make no apologies for the health and limitations I have. I yam who I yam , and that’s a 65 year old. So I’m not convinced yet that social media is the be-all, end-all bridge that its admirers think it is. I am open to hearing stories pro and con about this. I am private and don’t want to splash my life all over the Internet. But I love the exchange between emails, phone calls, and one on ones….

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