Sunday, May 05, 2013

Friendship 2.0

The new mindfulness extends to every area of life. Communication and romantic relationships often exist now on much improved ground compared to even a few years ago. Now friendship is under the spotlight.

The new idea is becoming more active instead of passive with regard to friendships: learning and acknowledging that friendships are a dynamic process that needs deliberate focus and ongoing tending. At least two new genre-pioneering books are on the scene: Friendships Don’t Just Happen! and The Friendship Fix. The books are aimed at women, but have broadly applicable themes. The attendant friendship development meetup groups, workshops, and conferences are already popping up to help hone the new skillset.

Some obvious Friendship 2.0 things to examine and sync with friends and potential friends are your and their friendship rules. These are your potentially unconscious rules for how you think a friend should behave. Just like with unexamined relationship rules, friendship rules are likely to differ and could cause conflict. Stating expectations is one way to communicate intent and boundaries. The books suggest determining what is most important to you in a friendship – for example, sharing values, experiences, or interests. The more kinds of points of overlap (if possible), the better; but one cannot be overly perfectionist about the criteria list either. There are different steps to follow in identifying and cultivating friendships. Overall, Friendship 2.0 has an exciting esprit of empowerment and possibility for experiencing more fun and life fulfillment through friendships.

An obvious critique might be ‘Is Friendship 2.0 YASFSM (Yet another San Francisco Social Movement)?’ San Francisco is not just the home of technology innovation, but also social innovation. Numerous social movements, if not spawned in San Francisco have been taken up, popularized, and made more acceptable in the Bay Area. A few of these include: co-working, co-housing, hackathons, biohacking, DIY science, unconferences, polyamory, homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgenderism, queer theory, happiness, calming tech, persuasive tech, spiritual intelligence, and mindfulness. Shifting models in romantic relationships, longevity, and the mobile fungible lives of the modern individual suggest that Friendship 2.0 could just be starting as a deeply relevant social concept.

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