Does Turning Down Social Hangs Make You a Bad Friend?

friends couch

Every single one of us has experienced the joy of having plans unexpectedly cancelled on us. Whether it’s due to a tough day at work that requires becoming a couch potato afterwards, or generally despairing at the state of the human race and needing some alone time, it’s a guarantee that we’re making somebody happy when we cancel group plans.

Doing so sometimes leaves us with a splash of guilt: would we really rather spend time by ourselves than in the company of friends? That makes us some kind of dysfunctional, right? Humans are social creatures, and interacting with each other is -supposedly- good for the mind. Even so, normally working an ordinary job gives us enough exposure to mankind that we’re fully prepared to hibernate for the rest of the day. Does that make us anti-social?

The way I see it, the way we perceive friendship -or the way it’s forced upon us anywho- is becoming outdated. The world our parents made friends in is entirely different to the way the world has turned out. People weren’t as reliant on technology forty years ago, in stark contrast to today’s youth who are basically hooked up the the internet like it’s life support. Not that the way we live is better, but it’s changing and we should adapt our social lives accordingly.

Now that we have more numerous and more accessible means of entertaining ourselves (Netflix etc), face-to-face interactions aren’t as crucial as they used to be. Many millennials devote a lot of their time to social media and their online presence. Suffice to say, their energy is spent elsewhere. Meeting up with friends in the 60s was great, because apart from hogging the landline in your parent’s house, you didn’t get to connect with anyone unless you were physically with them. Fast-forward to today, and people are in our business a great deal more.

It’s no secret that being easily reached via our cellphones is a burden almost as much as a luxury. The nagging feeling of having to check your Facebook or Twitter to stay ‘up to date’ can be demanding, and putting time aside to reply to instant messaging is something that can make a lot of us roll our eyes. Without realizing it, we’ve come to socialize considerably more electronically than we do physically. Is that healthy? Probably not.

However, this is the way in which the world is going: everything’s becoming more instantaneous. There will always be a need to be physically social with our friends and loved ones, but our lives have become far more stressful and complex than eve we have realized. Nowadays, we require more solitude in order to collect our thoughts and rebuild before the world has time to knock us around again. There’s no shame in taking time to look after yourself, and if that means closing a door on the entire world for a few hours, then so be it.

As long as you’re not blowing off your friends consecutively and make some kind of effort to maintain regular encounters, you’re doing a pretty fine job at adulting in my opinion.

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Matthew Tomlin

A British visitor who arrived in May, Matthew is a 24 year-old who's currently working as an Au Pair for a family in Long Island, New York. In between working for his host-family, he writes Style articles and some Breaking News headlines for News Cult as a Contributing Writer. He graduated in 2012 from Winchester University in England with a degree in Creative Writing, and also enjoys writing short stories and poetry. In addition, he dabbles in photography and editing, while also an avid runner and swimmer!

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