Hello, My Friend
I am consistently and constantly amazed by the barrage of new connection requests on social media sites and writing sites who claim "friendship" for the purpose of them wanting me to accept the invitations.
I understand that, "Hello, my friend" is designed to be a way to begin to build a relationship, but do we understand what that really means?
As technology has made social networking global and English has become the common language used for international communication, I often wonder if the translation in any language to English holds different meaning culturally.
Do certain languages have many different words to indicate certain relationships, but in the translation of these words, they are directed to use the English word, "friend"?
In English, we certainly do the same. We call acquaintances our friends. We do the same with colleagues and business partners. We also do so in relationships of more intimate nature, at times.
One that has always bothered me is the "friends with benefits" (FWB) label. This indicates that someone is in a "friendship" that involves sexual intimacy, without any responsibility for emotional feelings or involvement. Some might refer to this as a "booty call."
The English language also is confusing because in English-speaking countries words for the noun, "friend" may have another meaning as a verb in another country. One example of this is "mate."
In Australia, "Hello, mate!" is a greeting used between friends. Elsewhere, the same greeting might hold a different meaning.
"Hello! Mate!" may have a more directive meaning. This might suffice for those FWBs who want to get down to business without much conversation.
I think that friendship can have many different levels. I have called acquaintances my friends. I have also had romantic relationships where we were friends, and then taken the relationship to a more intimate level. I have also remained friends with those whom were previously love relationships.
I have stayed away from the FWB relationships, because I must like someone and truly be friends before entering into a physical romantic intimacy.
Dictionary.com defines friend as:
1. a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
2 .a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter: friends of the Boston Symphony.
3. a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile: Who goes there? Friend or foe?
4. a member of the same nation, party, etc.
5. ( initial capital letter ) a member of the Religious Society of Friends; a Quaker.
When I most often use the word, I define a friend as the first definition: I have feelings of affection and personal regard for you. The other definitions are merely a label to me. So, should I call you my friend, it is not a symbolic gesture. Substance over symbolism will always win with me.
Whether in face-to-face life, or social media, when one calls one another "friend," it implies that true support is given.
Let us all remember that, should we be bold enough to do so.
Copyright © 2015 Coral Levang
Adapted from article written February 2014 and submitted on Bubblews, but removed by author.
Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/en/pinky-swear-friends-pinky-promise-329329/ by cherylholt