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With all due respect: Let's face it

With all due respect: Let's face it

By Law Institute Journal



Social media has changed the nature of friendship.

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In these increasingly uncertain times, with a growing list of annoyances and situations that make us angry, we more than ever need respite in things that bring joy to our lives.

Some WADR readers might immediately think of a day without meetings, a stiff drink or declare “a Premiership would be nice”. While its hard to argue with those answers your correspondent, in a more philosophical frame of mind, would add friendship.

According to a Harvard University study solid friendships have many health benefits. Our friends help us deal with stress, promote a better lifestyle and even allow us to rebound from health issues and disease more quickly.

Your correspondent is not entirely sure this applies to all of my friends, especially the ones who never buy me a drink and give constant reminders of my team’s failure to win a premiership.

Greek playwright Euripides, famous for his tragic plays, stated that “Friends show their love in times of trouble, not happiness”. Unfortunately Euripides was a victim of the saying that you can choose your friends but not your family.

Both his marriages ended because his wives were unfaithful and he moved into a cave on Salamis where he apparently had a daily communion with the sea and sky, his friends being more or less absent.

The importance of friendship has continued throughout history but social media has changed the way society views friendship.

Through social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, anyone can have hundreds of “friends”, but are they real friends?

The validity of this question is confirmed by another study that shows one of the biggest challenges facing young people is loneliness. Nearly half of young people in Australia say they feel isolated.

Your correspondent remembers a magazine cartoon depicting a widow sitting next to her husband’s coffin in a near empty church. She turns to the person next to her and says: “I don’t understand. He had so many Facebook friends”.

This writer has always believed that a simple way of deciding if a person truly is a friend is whether they have been to your house. And if they have did they bring alcohol and chocolates.

Country and Western music often has a way of encapsulating the human condition, especially if you love dogs, pickup trucks and songs about love gone wrong. What better description of friendship could you have than the classic My Wife Ran Off with My Best Friend, And I Sure Do Miss Him?

We all need friendship and most of us can distinguish a true friend from all of the people who flit in and out of our lives through school, university, work and various social interactions.

One of the best descriptions I’ve seen is very simple. A friend is your buddy, your pal, your amigo, your comrade. Someone you trust and like enough to hang out with on a regular basis.

And remember, no one ever says on their deathbed “I wish I hadn’t had so many friends”. ♦

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