“We should definitely catch up soon!”
“Yes! I’ll text you!”
We’re all liars. You’ll never text them, even though you’ve just sent about 15 texts in your group chat (better known as a “grext”). You’ve turned off read receipts so that you can ignore an invitation for 10 hours and then respond with, “Sorry! I just saw this!” You block certain people from viewing your Snap story so they can’t see that you’re hanging out without them.
The fact of the matter is that we are all hiding behind technology to avoid social situations that we don’t want to deal with, which leads to a lot of shady behavior. From barely-held-together excuses to complete apathy, we don’t seem to make the effort to face the people in our lives. Instead of telling someone that they’ve upset us, we subtweet them. We pretend that maintaining a Snap streak is the same as putting in effort into our friendships.
I’ve also noticed that this shady behavior gets worse the longer you’ve been at Stanford. In my two and a half weeks as a senior, I’ve heard the phrase “all my friends are fake” more times than I have in the past three years combined. I’ve had multiple conversations about how people feel as if they never made legitimate friends here because of this fake behavior online. As a comfort, I tell them that at least they haven’t been hit with an “I’ll email you!” – but the fact that this is funny shows just how aware we are of our lazy approach towards friendships.
You may be reading this trying to come up with excuses, like you’re busy with interviews, staffing, homework, meetings, etc. But here’s the truth: All of us are busy. It just depends on where your priorities lie. If you really care about your friendships, then you can make time for them and respond to their dinner invitations, telling them when you’re upset, overwhelmed or you have other plans. I can guarantee that if they are your friend, they’ll totally understand. However, if you ignore them or lie to them, all you’re really doing is isolating yourself. You’ll find yourself alone with nobody to truly relate to.
I recognize that this may be my saltiest and most accusatory article yet, but it needs to be said: You cannot use technology to hide from the people in your life. If you want to have meaningful relationships with others, you need to put in the effort. We may often be saying that all of our friends are fake, but we are just as blame-worthy. Let’s all stop being fake and work on becoming good friends to one another.
Contact Arianna Lombard at ariannal ‘at’ stanford.edu.