While there are social media sites where it is possible to add someone as a friend, there are others sites where this is not necessary. In this case, the only thing they need to do is to ‘follow’ the other person.
When it relates to adding someone as a friend, the other person will need to accept their friend request, and this means there is the chance that they won’t end up being friends. Yet when it relates to ‘following’ someone, the other person won’t need to do anything, and this is likely to mean that they will be able to connect to them.
One way of looking at this would be to say that when one is ‘friends’ with someone, they are not just another person. The other person is likely to know them, and this can mean the connection that they have is more meaningful.
Whereas if they were to ‘follow’ someone, they could be just another person, and this is because there is a strong chance that the other person won’t even know them. As a result of this, the connection they have might not be as meaningful.
At The Same Time
Having said that, this might not be the case and this is because one can be ‘friends’ with someone without even knowing them. Therefore, it might not matter whether they are ‘friends’ with someone or whether they are just ‘following’ them.
This can mean that both of these connections can have same impact on their life, and this shows how times have changed. In the past, a friend was typically someone one knew, but in today’s world, a friend can be nothing more than a number.
Just like how one would collect mugs or something similar, they can also collect friends online. In this case, who they are is not important; what matters is reaching a certain number of people.
On one hand, this can have an effect on how other people perceive them, and on the other hand, this can have an effect on how they feel about themselves. This is not to say that how other people perceive them won’t have an effect on them as well, as this is unlikely to be the case.
But if ones self-image is based on how many ‘friends’ and/or ‘followers’ they have, they are likely to have the need to gain as many as they can. If they were to come across someone who has accumulated more than they have, it could cause them to feel angry or they could end up feeling down, or both.
Through having this outlook, they could also look down on people who have less ‘friends’ and/or ‘followers’ than they do. This can show that their need to experience real relationships with people has been covered up, and in its place is the need to accumulate as many ‘friends’ and/or ‘followers’ as they can.
Accumulating numbers on a screen won’t allow them to experience the kind of fulfilment they would experience if they were to have real connections with people. In order for this to happen, they will only need to have a small number of close friends.
The value they bring to their lives will far outweigh the connections that they have made online. They will be able to provide them with the human contact that they need in order to thrive.
However, even though one can ‘follow’ someone with the hope that the other person will ‘follow’ them back, this can also take place for another reason. In this case, they value what the other person has to offer, and as a result, they want to stay in contact with them.
This comes down to the fact that social media has given people the opportunity to reach out to people from all walks of life. Nowadays, one can not only listen to their favourite musicians, or watch their favourite actors; they can also find out about what they do each day.
But as these kinds of people are so well-know, there is not much chance of one being followed by them. This is going to be something that most people accept, and if this was to change and they were to end up being followed by someone they admire, they can feel as though they are on top of the world.
If this was something that happened all the time, it might soon lose its meaning, and one could come to believe that they are ‘special’. Yet it might only be necessary for one person they admire to follow them for this to take place.
When one ‘follows’ someone with the hope that they will ‘follow’ them back, they are going to have a certain expectation. If their expectation is not met, it could cause them to experience inner unrest.
While this may mean that they just carry on with the rest of their life, it could also cause them to ‘unfollow’ them. As a result, it won’t matter whether they value what the other person has to offer or not; the only thing they are concerned about is the fact that they haven’t followed them back.
One Way of Looking At This
This is then similar to one having a business and then buying something from another business. But once they have bought something, they then expect the other business to buy something form them and if they don’t, they will ask for a refund.
For one thing, one has chosen to buy something, and this means the other business is under no obligation to buy something from them. Also, just because one buys something from someone else, it doesn’t mean they will want to buy something from them.
A more sensible approach might be for one to ‘follow’ someone because they want to, and not because they expect anything back. If one was going to give someone a present and they expected them to give them a certain response, they could end up feeling let down.
But if they were to give them a gift without being attached to the outcome, they are les likely to be effect by their response. They will have given then gift because they wanted to and not because they expected to get anything back.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.