Just 20 years ago, “inner circle”, “acquaintances” and “outer circle” were the way friendships were described.
Today, I can arrange an entire video series with my producer and never see him, never talk to him by phone. That used to be called a dead end. (FYI: We have used Face Time and have attended a meeting in person prior to the first of my three series published on YouTube 🙂 I have arranged lunch dates with two women of the World War II generation a month in advance with no phone calling- and we all show up as planned having made no confirmation via email or text or phone call the week before. That used to be unheard of in the life of friends. We are planning a trip with our teenage grandson and are doing it all via text and email. Our “face to face” time together will be the longest since the 3 days we spent together last summer and the most hours we will have at one time since he was born. People used to call that much togetherness with a teen after such a long gap as “taking a risk.”
I know of people who refer to people they have never met or spoken to as their “friends.” Americans used to call that person an “acquaintance.”
I know of business people who have no real friends outside of business dealings but refer to any one outside of the office they speak to once a year as their “friend.” That used to be called a “business acquaintance” or an “outer circle friend.”
I know of neighborhoods where no one speaks to the neighbors because they are never home and when they are, its dark outside or the hour is too late.
I submit that this is a civics and citizenship issue for Americans. Who ya gonna call in an emergency? It sure isn’t Ghostbusters. What if you don’t need help in the event of a natural disaster but the people around you are affected and need you? Would you let them use your electricity to power their electric saw to cut downed tree limbs? Would you even lend them your electric saw? Do you know them more than to just see them leaving their driveway daily?
What if you haven’t heard the person in the next apartment open or shut their door in a few days? Do you know them at least well enough to observe their patterns and call the landlord if you think something may have happened?
Do you have at least one or two inner circle trusted friends that you talk to, meet with, or see on a regular basis? Is this person(s) a trusted confidante? If so, how did you build that friendship? Over time, that’s right. Friendships take time—time that is a commodity in short supply. Yet, a strong nation starts with family, then friends, then communities and cities, then regions, then a strong nation built on the solid support of ties that bind, not break us down into petty groups with all of our differences.
Friends helping friends. Neighbors helping neighbors. That’s common sense civics and citizenship at work. How can we cultivate friendships and ties that bind in a culture of division? I believe that our nation will be better for even the smallest effort we make. .??