Friendship is a Lost Ancient Art in 21st Century America
So, there’s some who may read this (or just read the title) and still call it bleak. Critics may say “this article is just disenchanted and intent on being problematic”. Or even that it’s too abstract. Frankly, I don’t care. Anyway, the human condition is to be loved. To yearn for affection and yearn to affect. Affect others, most usually our family and loved ones. Oftentimes, there comes a point in the human’s life stage development where one enters the matrix…and starts to question whether meaningful friendship even exists anymore. He begins to question which relationships are worth having and which aren’t? What’s the benchmark on meaningful? Moreover, as I write these words on the bus in the backwoods of Mexico, on the last day of this solar year, I’m content with all that. So, let’s explore it together.
Friendship in 21st Century CULTure
Now, let me pick up where I left off a couple weeks ago. In 21st century culture “me” is promoted over “we”. We see it all the time in media and are bombarded by self-centered celebrities, Instagram thotties, and showboat type athletes (ahem Connor McGregor). Well, American culture is so dumbed down, what becomes unilaterally meaningful is really just trash: Kardashian fodder and the latest DaBaby scandal. So, big shout-out to this reality-TV obsessed, social media addicted digital age! It’s created a self-involved culture that neglects the bigger picture.
Let’s define meaningful friendship as having someone who is there for you, who you can talk to and who holds you accountable. I describe it as an “art” because friendship is unique to each individual and can be left open to interpretation by onlookers despite its true nature. Honestly, friendship is a rare find, especially among men where putting on a front or bravado is just the norm. We can go fuck up the club with some drinking buddies on a Saturday night, pop some bottles and wake up the next morning feeling empty. Not to mention, the mean ass hangover and accompanying isolation! But meaningful friendships are few and far between.
The pandemic has exacerbated this isolation. Because we’re in the middle of a pandemic, people have felt more lonely than ever! In certain states we can’t gather publicly like we used to. Or play sports and have simple human contact without the stigma.
So when we are around others, do we even know how to act anymore? Then, should excessive personality misunderstandings instantly chalk up to a character flaw? On behalf of the misunderstood or the misunderstanding? We’re all subject to power trips, ego, and hedonism. However, foremost we must know our triggers and ourselves. So, to quote XXXTentacion on an old episode on the No Jumper Podcast, only ones self truly knows them. Recently on Twitter, a guy said this about the loneliness of being in his twenties.
Look at the likes and retweets. Clearly, it’s resonating with a lot of young people. That says a lot about our culture. Something has changed.
Undoubtedly, It’s very common for women to have numerous amounts of friends and a strong friend group. There’s a social-biological preconditioning for this. Truly, it comes from hunter-gatherers culture where men went out and hunted while women stayed behind to gossip and gather berries and shit. Look at the suicide rates among men. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, In 2019, men died by suicide 3.63x as often as women.
I hope this blog raises awareness on the way we “show up” in the world. With influence, comes responsibility. So, hopefully this is a call to action. To do better. Be better. To yourself and others. If you are in crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone. All calls are confidential.