The Demise of True Friendship

“False friendship, like the ivy, decays and ruins the walls it embraces; but, true friendship gives new life and animation to the object it supports” (Richard Burton). While Burton’s quote correctly compares those of true and false friendships, it should not be forgotten how false friendships can be influenced by today’s technology. Although technology has given many benefits to society, it has also negatively affected the role of friendships in the modern day.

Humans form relationships and friendships, no matter the kind, all throughout their lives. The friendships that are formed, according to Aristotle, can have one of three intentions: to be of pleasure, to be of usefulness, and to just be true (May). Friendships that are true are the most important, as well as the rarest, in today’s society. They can be defined as, “…to step into the stream of another’s life. It is, while not neglecting my own life, to take pleasure in another’s pleasure, and to share their pain as partly my own” (May). In Of Mice and Men, the friendship between Steinbeck’s Lennie and George can be an example of this. When Lennie is in distress about killing yet another mouse, George reassures him by saying, “Tell you what I’ll do, Lennie. First chance I get I’ll give you a pup. Maybe you wouldn’t kill it. That’d be better than mice. And you could pet it harder” (Steinbeck 13). This shows that George genuinely cares about Lennie’s happiness and will go to lengths to ensure that he is no longer sad. It demonstrates that, even if it will not directly help him in any way, he is still willing to aid his comrade in times of trouble. A friendship like this can only be described as nothing but true. It is these sort of friendships that are put at stake when we involve modern day technology.

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The technological advancements made by scientists have allowed humans to reach many heights thought previously unimaginable. However, while doing so, they have vastly affected the friendships that are seen today. The rise of friendships of pleasure and of usefulness does nothing to help people understand the need for true ones. As humans continue to form, embrace, and be satisfied with these false friendships, the value of true friendships slowly diminishes in society. According to Todd May, “It [true friendship] is threatened when we are encouraged to look upon those around us as the stuff of our current enjoyment or our future advantage” (May). This is explaining how people no longer look for the characteristics of true and genuine friends, but rather look for those that will, in some way or another, help or benefit them personally. Technology such as social media and television aid this mindset. In earlier years, however, this may not have been the case. This can be seen in the interactions between George and Lennie when Steinbeck says, “Lennie broke in. ‘But not us! An’ why? Because… because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why” (Steinbeck 14). This gives yet another example of the level of genuineness their friendship had. They have each other’s backs and will help each other through it all. They did not have to deal with the influences of technology and for that reason, their friendship remained true.

The developments and prosperities of technology have aided in the invention of false friendships. The population of those of pleasure and those of usefulness have surpassed the foreseen value of those that are true. It can be assumed that as technology continues to progress, this depraved way of thinking will only grow with it. However, one can also hope that those of the future will again understand the significance of friendships that continue to be true and genuine. “True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it is lost” (Charles Caleb Colton).

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The Demise of True Friendship. (2022, Aug 11). Retrieved from