Friendships among the younger generation

I’m speaking here about the young people in their early to mid twenties.

It seems to me that their friendships are different than what was the case for oldies like me. We tended to have a “gang” that would do stuff together on a regular basis (even just hanging out), and several deep, long-lasting friendships.

But of the young people that I know well enough to observe this, it seems their friendship life is kind of kaleidoscopic: they’re part of multiple groups, with many they’d call friends but the relationships seem much more superficial than ours were. I suppose cell phones and texting have something to do with this, but I’m not sure what or how it works.

I don’t have kids but I see this with my nephews and nieces. I wonder what other people’s take is on this? Do you think their lives are impoverished or improved by it?

I’m not sure if I’m the best base to draw from as I’m an introvert but here’s my take.
I’m of the opinion that our age group grows out of gangs by matter of circumstance. We have the high school gang and the college gang, but after graduation that all starts melting away. We move a lot more and uproot ourselves more to follow the jobs, so we can’t afford to get too sentimental about “the old gang” or stick around an area that doesn’t offer us anything material.

Of my high school and college friends four of them have gone overseas permanently (thus far) to japan, china, and korea, as an example. Others have moved several states away. I myself moved multiple states.

Usually when I pass a life stage - graduating HS, graduating college, moving - the old set of friends just drop away. They didn’t mesh well enough with me for me to put in the effort of keeping up long distance relationships. I do have three friends that have lasted through these stages and those are the ones I’d call true friends. They all live several states away though, so there’s no getting together over the weekend. Just letters, texts, and so forth for the most part. I’m an introvert though, so this suits me just fine. A few deep friends that I see occasionally is exactly what I want, but I’m not sure how that pans out for the general populace.

It used to be I would hear a lot of disparaging about being “fake”. Mostly in HS and College, when people were in classes and had to get along or else. Not sure if this is a new thing or if people have always complained about that. Either way I think people are starting to mould more to the idea of worldwide friendships as well. No longer are you stuck with a choice of friends only from the people in your own town. You can have friends globally if you want. I think with the sea of possible friends that much larger, people are becoming more selective about who they choose for close friends and less willing to put up with bullshit. When you’re stuck with a couple neighbors you put up with them to play nice, when the whole world is the neighborhood you can say “eff that, I’m going to go have my morning chat with someone else”.

Yes, for us too the HS and college friends mostly drop away once we’re past those stages of life. I think that’s almost always the case. And yes, my best friend does live several states away from me. But even so, my husband and I are part of a “gang” that gets together to do stuff like go out to dinner, have holiday parties, and about once a month, meet at someone’s house to play dominoes, card games, etc.

We did not go to school with any of the “gang” (actually my husband and I didn’t go to school together either), but the gang has been together for many years now.

I think the thing about global friendships is the most different to me. It’s hard for me visualize friendship as other than face-to-face, in person. Even with my best friend, we visit each other regularly as well as talk on the phone or email.

Although I am an introvert, and I don’t pine away if I don’t socialize constantly, I think I would feel rootless without having personal contact. Maybe it’s because I’m older, but I like and need the continuity of knowing people for a long time. I wonder if, as the younger people get older, they will feel this desire as well, or whether they will continue to prefer change over continuity.

I don’t think it’s changed much. People still stick to their cliques.

Cell phones and the internet have complicated things, and likely eroded the meaning of friendship to many (i.e. the people with 2,000 “friends” on Facebook. They aren’t actually your friends buddy).

I have many friends across various generations. I am in my late 40’s, but have very close friends in their 50’s, 40’s, 30’s, and 20’s. Some cross circles, some do not.

Generally I don’t think much has changed in how people develop relationships and friendships since I was in my 20’s.

24 year old chiming in here.

I do have groups that I can drift in and out of, but within those groups I still have my “gangs”. For example, I have my “gang” in graduate school that are my best buds, and for most things I spend time with them. However, when I attend anime or comic conventions, I have a different “gang” I spend time with, because my grad school friends usually don’t share that interest with me.

I still have deep, long-lasting friendships. I have a handful of men and women that I know I will always be friends with, though oddly enough they don’t really know each other. I feel like it frees me to explore and express different sides of myself and different interests while still being in a comfortable environment with friends in each scenario.

I don’t consider any of my friends to be superficial, though some certainly do run deeper than others. But if I’m spending time with someone, I genuinely care for them in a meaningful way.

Don’t be jelly.

Both of my kids moved to new apartments in the past month. As near as I can tell, a friend is something that exists in their phone. Whatever it is, it never appears when visible work is present. In spite of the number on facebook, there was only family available to help carry furniture.

To be honest, this was no surprise. I have always maintained that no one has lots of friends. You’re lucky if you have 4 or 5 “real” friends in your life (as I define it anyway). I’m almost 60 and count about 3 of the (non-family) occupants of this planet as true friends that I could really depend on. The rest are just likable acquaintances.

My $0.02