My close friends keep me grounded, help me stay centred, remind me of what is important and make me laugh, a lot. Good friends are a necessity, particularly in the times we live in. Our everyday lives are hectic, filled with physical and emotional stresses that we increasingly have to deal with in isolation. Social media has taken over our lives and while that means we are connected to more people and have more friends than ever before, we aren’t necessarily connecting with our friends meaningfully.
Saumya Pant, an assistant professor at Ahmedabad’s Mudra Institute of Communications (MICA), who is leading a social media study at the institute, says on email: “At MICA, we have been researching the wide use of Facebook by the youth in India. Our preliminary findings are reinforcing the value of relationships both online and offline. Our research suggests that it seems to be more important to have a few good friends instead of a large network of acquaintances since deep relationships provide a sense of security and foster higher self-esteem, keeping our hearts and minds healthy.”
Anjali Chhabria, psychiatrist and founder of counselling centre Mindtemple, Mumbai, agrees. She says on phone, “Interacting with an online friend via social media versus meeting a friend in person is like watching pornography versus engaging in the real thing.” In other words, talking to a friend in person or over the phone is qualitatively far superior to a social media interaction when it comes to the impact it has on your happiness and sense of well-being. Read More
Sujata Kelkar Shetty, PhD, writes on public health issues and is a research scientist trained at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, US.