Winning Friends: Can we revolutionize the 21st century friendship or is it too late?
Its about revolutionizing the relationship model completely – finding a way to enjoy and benefit from each other’s company – a way to play where everyone wins.
The 21st century is all about relationships. We had the stone age, bronze age, the industrial revolution and now we have the relationship revolution. Never in history have we had such opportunities in this area yet it seems that we are struggling more than ever before. One powerful advertisement caught my attention (hat tip to Mickey Lazslo).
Numerous studies have demonstrated the obvious: good friends are vital for not just our psychological health but also our physical health. Beyond that, studies have also shown that gender plays a role – women are more affected by having friends or the lack thereof.
Someone recently asked me whether I thought that social media was a ‘good thing’. While that is an incredibly general question my incredibly general answer is that, overall, I believe it has bred into us some deep flaws that we need to correct if we want to achieve healthy relationships in all three main areas: romantic, platonic and professional.
Social media is, at its heart, a means of broadcast, not, as many feel, a form of networking. Think about it: I friend in order to be friended back, I follow in order to be followed. I connect in order that I can more effectively broadcast to more people – that is what media is.
Therefore, at its heart, the 21st century relationship opportunity is very ‘me’-centric – an inherently selfish model of relating to other people – listen to me, look at me, like me. Beyond the broadcast, relationships seem to have also become incredibly competitive. I have seen this anecdotally in numerous girl vs girl ‘friendships’ that look more like the olympics of who can feel the most validated/respected/admired. You can also see it online with new ways to perfectly quantify and, therefore, compare how popular we are (friends/followers/likes).
The Guiness ad featured above taps into a type of friendship far more powerful, effective and successful – a selfless model. Its not about simply becoming the receiver to someone else’s broadcast. That fixes nothing. Its about revolutionizing the relationship model completely – finding a way to enjoy and benefit from each other’s company – a way to play where everyone wins.