It is another interesting trend: Friendship as a value takes the place of marriage in the modern western world. What we see on the surface is the relationship status “girl-friend”, “boy-friend”. It is not by chance that people choose this words to explain that they are actually lovers. In many western countries this kind of relationship has been legalized and has almost the status of marriage, even from the taxation point of view. Despite this fact people, especially males tend to see this kind of relationship as a “light” version of marriage, a less value-loaded status with less responsibilities.
On the other hand we have a significant shift in the collective consciousness regarding the value of friendship. While the girl-friend-boy-friend-relationship has less weight than a marriage, we can see the value of friendship as an intimate relationship without any sex involved rising high.In the online world, thanks for Facebook & Co it is a matter of prestige and social value to have many friends, no matter how “real” they are.
In the offline world people start loving, relying on, valuing friends more that their families. Why? First of all, for various reasons (one is given here) the generations of 20 to 50 year-old in the West suffer from problems with parents. For many a family is not the place to relax and enjoy, on the contrary it is a place to quarrel, debate on relationship issues and even sue each other. At the same time it’s becoming a great problem for young people to create their own families – may be because they have seen so many divorces, may be of high expectaions planted in minds by the mass media… Whatever it is, the lack of peace in the family corner makes people seek peace and joy elsewhere. And many find it in friendship.
A true friendship is a perfect relationship because it does not suggest any responsibilities and obligations like a marriage does. We are free to meet up, talk, do some activities together, enjoy… We do not “have to”… and yet we are happy to help, to support, “to be there for a friend in need”, to invest time and money. But why? What moves us?
Friendship gives the security of a “safe” relationship and stability, which has always been the role of a marriage but seems to be not the case any more: Marriages/relationships may come and go, but a true friendship is normally a life long thing. Interestingly even happily married people value the most the fact of being friends wit each other – and this was not the case even a century ago.
One of my favorite authors explained why friendship is the ultimate form of any relationship –please read this beautiful piece here.
I believe that this trend of friendship becoming a higher value is the new step in the collective evolution. Friendship across boarders is the new reality. Beautiful relationship with people from far away or at home town are part and parcel of our daily life. Getting new friendship cultivates our hearts and makes us more aware of others. It makes us collective and teaches to enjoy every human being.
With loads of love to all my online and offline friends,