Have Our Relationships Evolved Over Time Just to Become Digital Friendships?

The invention of the internet shook the world.

The feeling of having the world available at a click was nothing less than magical.

But the advent of internet wasn’t complete until social media sites stepped in and changed the way we communicate with each other.

Whatsapp has replaced telephone calls, coffee chats have morphed into Skype calls, and talking about personal feelings has turned into Facebook statuses.

In some ways, social media has brought us closer to each other. Long forgotten friends can be found again after one rigorous search on Facebook. Our opinions can reach a wider audience through Twitter. In fact, our artistic abilities have found an abode in our Instagram feed.

Facebook has 1.71 billion active monthly users as per statistics of the second quarter of 2016. In fact, social networking has become the #1 online activity in the U.S followed by email.

Internet has hijacked our life and confined it within the walls manufactured by comments, likes and followers. Human life has become dependent on status updates and marking those events as ‘interested’ that they will never attend anyway. Internet and social media sites are ruling us in numerous ways, and we have become robots that are relying on these social sites for our daily dose of validation and maintaining a social life.

But is this the future of our relationships? Can we lead a healthy and happy life by simply relying on Internet and online friends for meeting our emotional and mental needs? Of course not.

1. The curious case of the Dunbar Number

Dunbar number is defined as the maximum stable relationships a person can maintain in his lifetime. As per Robin Dunbar, the maximum number of friends a human can have is 150. But a Facebook user has an average of 338 friends online. Now, the question arises: How many of them are your real friends?

As per a study at Oxford University, only four of our Facebook friends are real, irrespective of the number of users who are gleaming under the ‘Friends’ section of our Facebook account. It means almost all of your so-called Facebook friends are fake.

Habeeb AkandeAuthor

Fake friends are like shadows: always near you at your brightest moments, but nowhere to be seen at your darkest hour. True friends are like stars, you don't always see them but they are always there.

90% of UK Facebook users receive a ‘friend request’ from a stranger. Around 51% of them accept those friend requests and add them as their friends on Facebook. How stable are the online relationship when friendship is not determined by the mutual likes, dislikes and interests, but simply by clicking an ‘accept’ button if you want to be someone’s friend?

307 million UK citizens use Facebook.

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What is the lure of social networks that is causing us to stay so active in the world of virtual reality that we are neglecting our real life and real ties? The reasons are revealed in a survey by The Atlantic. One of the top reasons for using Facebook is to keep a tab on our friends’ activities and to stay updated.

Facebook and Twitter have become top platforms to stay in touch with online friends. Around 64% teenagers meet a new friend through these social media sites. Social media has become a new way to widen our social circle.

2. Real life friends versus online friends – Is there any difference?

Real life friends offer a kind of intimacy that online friends fail to give. Real friends not only know about your likes and dislikes, but they have experienced all the good and the bad times along with you, unlike your online friends who can offer sympathies only after you update a sad status.

Physical presence is really important in any kind of relationship, as nothing can beat a consoling hug, human warmth and the security of having someone by your side when you are going through life.

The number of friends online is two times more that real life friends.

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Body language plays a big role in the human connection. It is missing in an online connection. It can mislead us since we cannot see the other person physically. That is why one has to be really careful while making new friends on the internet.

Connection with people has reduced to status updates and likes. These tiny buttons dictate how strong our friendship is with numerous people. In fact, if you don’t like a friend’s status or picture, it becomes the evidence of your disloyalty towards them.

In every one minute, 510 comments are made, 2,93,000 statuses and 1,36,000 photos are posted on Facebook. It’s an insane amount of activity. From posting a status about our lunch meal at KFC to sharing a sad status hinting at our latest breakup, we keep our online friends updated about every tiny event going on in our life. But how many of them care to know about our 14-year-old dog who recently died? Not many.

Alex Morritt Author

The more time we spend interconnected via a myriad of devices, the less time we have left to develop true friendships in the real world.

The truth is, online friendship has replaced emotional honesty that comes along with real friendships.

Around 56% of U.S. women have a close online friend even if they have not met them once in their life, whereas around 44% of the guys also have the same.

3. Transitioning to the digital age

How many of us have pretended to be on our phones while standing somewhere alone just to make it seem like we are busy?

It is a very common practice, almost a reflex action, but why do we do that?

The reason is simple. Having your eyes fixated on the glowing screens of our cell phones has become a way to prove that we have got a social life. We are living in a generation where our popularity is measured on the basis of how many friends like our pictures.

Facebook is the leading source of socialization for people, with Instagram being the second and Twitter coming at third place. As new social sites are coming into the market, more and more people are getting engaged in making a permanent residence in virtual reality.

Amelia Gray Novelist

Tess realized one of the great modern dating sadnesses: everyone is so used to the comforting glow of the computer screen that no one can go so far as to say "good morning" in public without being liquored up.

Instagram has around 400 million active users. It is filled with pictures of cats, dogs, food and of course, selfies. Instagram has led to an upsurge of models who post numerous photos on Instagram on a daily basis. Social media has turned into a competition to prove your worth. It has put an immense pressure on young people to have the perfect hair and flawless contouring.

Moreover, there is a rush to prove that your life is better by posting pictures of the latest parties you’ve attended, the new place you have visited and the expensive wine you’ve just tried.

It has become the major source of depression for many people. It is not only impossible to compete with someone’s seemingly perfect life, but there is extreme stress regarding how you should portray your own life. It causes people to feel insecure while posting anything on social media.

Social media has caused depression and anxiety among many users. 53% of the UK citizens who were surveyed accepted that social media brought a change in their behaviour while 51% agreed that the change was negative.

Internet is brimming with trolls, fake profiles and bullies. Almost all of us have been victims of cyber bullying or trolling in one way or the other. With Facebook at the top, every social media site has become a hotspot for bullies and trolls.

83 million Facebook profiles are not real.

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4. Match made in virtual reality

It is so easy to maintain relationships these days, as no real efforts are needed. All you have to do is send a ‘good morning’ and ‘goodnight’ text, post some statuses showing how much you love your partner and tag them in some lovey-dovey pictures. But is it really intimacy or a bogus way to stay single while being committed?

Benjamin Franklin Founding Father of the U.S.

If you would be loved, love, and be loveable.

Traditional romance requires efforts from both the parties. Candle light dinners, late night conversations under stars and cooking breakfast together used to be the ways to express one’s undying love towards another.

But meetings have turned into late night Skyping and gifts have morphed into posting videos.

People have given up the old way of meeting new people as potential partners and have moved to online dating in order to find someone compatible.

Although the people who have experienced online dating have a generally positive feeling towards it.

But is it safe to assume that the person you are chatting with, is portraying their real self? They might say the sweetest words and treat you perfectly, but how can you be sure that they are authentic enough to go and meet them in real life?

As per an online survey by SurveyMonkey, 33% people have portrayed themselves differently when online.

In fact, many people in India have joined dating sites simply to pursue casual dating or friendship, and not a serious, long-term relationship.

Is it wise to rely on dating sites and other social networking sites in order to pursue a serious relationship with the expectation of getting married at some point? As per the statistics, it doesn’t look like a really wise decision.

But everything is not as black and white, as 9.4% Americans among those who were surveyed met their life partner on online dating sites or other social media sites.

When you are pursuing a relationship in real life, there are responsibilities. They are not simply confined to sending texts. You learn to manage your own feelings and emotions while understanding another person. An argument or fight is generally resolved by having a discussion.

There is not much chance of ‘discussion’ online, as the reader cannot understand the context of the message you have sent, and they can misinterpret it in any way they want. It often leads to an escalation of conflicts which generally ends up with blocking the person.

16.67% men have ghosted to end a relationship.

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‘Blocking a person’ is an easy way out, as all it takes is just a click to throw someone out of your life. In this way, a relationship has lost its meaning in this quick-makeup-quick-breakup era.

5. Balance is the key – Manage offline life and online life together

It is important to not neglect the value of real life interactions, relationships and intimacy. There is no substitute for them. It is healthy to maintain some online links that can help you personally as well as professionally, but you cannot depend your entire life on these online alternatives.

10% UK citizens don’t have a close friend. It means that a person should start building more relationships in the real world. Try to find people with similar interests at parties, libraries, science clubs and other places you can visit. Make efforts to go out with them and have fun in real life. You can always rely on some of your online friends for emotional support, but nothing can beat a good hug and spoken words of encouragement.

Victoria Aveyard Writer

I see a world on the edge of a blade. Without balance, it will fall.

An average person spends around 2 hours 51 minutes online every day. This time can be used to learn a new language or instrument, exploring new places or doing social work. Some time can be spent on the internet, but it should not be at the cost of neglecting your personal development.


It is time to shut down your laptops and switch off your cell phones to step outside the world of virtual reality where everything is regulated by numbers.

You must learn to appreciate the world beyond the mundane pictures and updates. There is a lot to see and a lot to experience. But how many of us can say it boldly that we have seen and experienced everything and that’s why we are spending the rest of our time online?

The Internet has become an addiction.

It is no less than opium, heroin or cocaine. People cannot sustain without an internet connection anymore, and they need to stay connected 24/7 in order to feel alive—just like a drug user. It is time to give up our addiction and to embrace life as it is meant to be.

Spend some quality time with your loved ones, go out to a restaurant with friends, sit with your partner and have a long chat and then if there is some time left, open your internet browser gladly.

Are you ready to transform your life by stepping away from virtual reality?


5 Important Lessons You Get to Learn at Menial Jobs

How many of us dream of a job full of comfort, flexible work hours and lots of foreign trips? All of us. When we are studying, most of us structure our life in such a way that the moment we graduate, we should land a job with good pay. But is it as easy as it sounds?

Due to a large number of unemployed and incessant graduates, getting jobs has become much more difficult. Competition has increased in the market, and people even with good degrees fail to find a job as per their capability.

There has been a shortage of jobs matching the person’s skills. Six in every ten UK graduates are doing a job which is not at par with their skills and degrees. They are overqualified for the work they are doing. As innumerable graduates cannot find jobs, they are forced to work for low-paying jobs. In the year 2011, around 10,270 graduates were found working as waiters, bar staff, road sweepers and doing other menial jobs. The recession of 2007 was a major factor contributing to the lack of good jobs for college graduates.

Among the 100 million Americans that were working full-time in 2010-2012, 70 million workers either ‘checked out’ or hated their job. One of the major factors for such despondency towards one’s job is low wage. Here is what the statistics of the Gallup survey found out:

Since there is no escape from the menial and low-paying jobs for most of us, it has become important to understand what they can teach us. These jobs can form the foundation of a gleaming career.

It is not possible for many people to get a grand job early in their career, so they should use the menial jobs in order to understand some life lessons and gain experience to face any obstacles. Here are 5 important lessons that you can learn from working at menial jobs.

1. The value of money – Money doesn’t grow on trees

Money cannot buy happiness, but it is important for the survival and continuity of the human race. It gives independence to a person and helps him to live a life as per his wish. But many people who have not worked too hard to earn money don’t value it. They spend money on the most futile of things, and don’t know how to use it in the best way possible.

As per a study published in Bloomberg, the money spent on unnecessary stuff by people has increased by 3.3 percent since mid-2009. It might be a sign that most of the wealth is accumulated in the hands of rich people when the middle and the lower class are still struggling to make ends meet.

In fact, the luxury market in the U.S. has been increasing at a constant rate. 33% consumers are buying luxury products, whereas the people who aspire to buy luxury products outnumber the luxury buyers by 8%. One of the main reasons for such a vast luxury market can be the need to maintain a status quo and to show-off.

Lots of money is being spent on fatal habits like smoking. When their pay is already less, people squeeze out some more money in order to provide themselves a daily dose of nicotine. But how much of a responsible act is it to spend money on habits that are not only expensive but leading you to dangerous diseases like cancer?

Each cigarette reduces your lifespan by 11 minutes.

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As you will perform menial jobs, you will not have enough money to spend on either unnecessary stuff or luxury products. It can be both good and bad. It’s bad because you will not be able to gratify your senses by buying the products you desire. But it’s good because you will learn to manage your finances wisely and spend money only on those produces and stuff that is needed for survival.

Pope Paul VI Pope

All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.

2. The ‘No work is big or small’ philosophy

Jobs like being a manger in a company or working as a CEO are considered grand—not only in terms of money but also because of the reputation and respect they bring. But many people fail to see any good aspect in a menial job, and because of that, they don’t feel the same kind of happiness while doing a so-called small job.

For example, working in McDonald’s is considered degrading to the point that many people study just because they don’t want to end in a restaurant like McDonald’s, flipping burgers.

It’s estimated that 1.7 million people are working in McDonald’s restaurants across the world.

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Having big dreams is really important for your development, but it should not be done by devaluing small jobs at the same time. A person should learn to see the positive aspect of a low paying job like that of McDonald’s. The gentle workers and their delectably-made burgers are the reason you visit your nearest McDonald’s every day and soothe your tickling taste buds.

Around 91,500 people are working in around 1200 McDonald’s restaurants across U.K. 42% employees of McDonald’s are under 21. McDonald’s is one of the biggest companies to hire first-timers. In fact, many people start their career with McDonald’s.

No job can degrade your status, as every job gives you something to learn. It’s a myth that once you start doing a small job, you get stuck in it and block all your paths.

Emily Dickinson Poet

If you take care of the small things, the big things take care of themselves. You can gain more control over your life by paying closer attention to the little things.

Reed Hastings is the co-founder and CEO of Netflix. Do you know that he started his career as a vacuum cleaner salesman? He didn’t consider the work small for his giant brains, but simply did it because he considered it to be the stepping stone to the vision he had in his mind.

3. Stress is a killer; don’t be the victim

Stress has always been a prominent source of unhappiness for a majority of people. Most of the suicides among the middle-aged at workplace happen due to job-related and financial stress. Suffocation is one of the widely used methods for suicide. In the year 2009, Canada faced 3,890 cases of stress-related suicides. Even in the U.S., the rate of suicide among the workers within the age bracket of 35 to 64 has increased by 40% since 1999.

Karoshi is the term used in Japan for death due to stress caused by overwork.

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As per the American Journal of Epidemiology, many people are dying due to work-related stress caused by unhealthy lifestyle, high blood pressure and long working hours. All these factors have led to an increase in the probability of deaths due to heart diseases by 67%. In fact, due to working for more than 8 hours a day, the risk of stroke rises by 33%.

People do not know how to handle stress and anxiety which leads to such drastic consequences. Various methods like meditation and yoga should be followed to relieve stress. Author J. David Creswell led a study in which people who meditated for 25 minutes for the next 3 days, showed less stress during a test. Meditation has also proved useful in managing anxiety disorders. In a study published by Sara Lazar at Harvard in 2011, it was proved that mindful meditation leads to changes in the brain.

Scientific studies have even proved that art can help you to reduce your stress levels drastically. You do not have to be as talented as Leonardo Da Vinci but must use art as a form of self-expression. It was seen that just after 45 minutes of creative activity, participants admitted to having low stress levels and feeling more relaxed.

George Burns Comedian

If you ask what the single most important key to longevity is, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.

4. Flexibility is the pathway to success

Most of us would like to settle in a secure job with a regular pay, and it is deemed as being successful. But many a times, you have to do various jobs in order to finally settle down with a job you deserve. You might not find the security of a regular job, but it makes you much more flexible and adds more skills to your resume.

An average American changes his job in every 4.4 years. An average American man does around 11 jobs in a lifetime whereas an average American woman changes 10.

Debasish Mridha Physician

The measure of a person’s strength is not his muscular power or strength, but it is his flexibility and adaptability.

In fact, as per a report by CNN, by the time you will reach 32, you would have changed at least 4 jobs. Most of the workers who hop from one job to another belong to media, government and non-profit organizations.

A stable profile is required to land a good job, so you must not leave the job just for the sake of leaving it. If you see brighter prospects ahead of you and you know that you can do well under the pressure of having no financial security, only then is it advisable to explore your field and the jobs it offers.

Don’t be afraid to start from scratch.

It is only through sheer dedication and creativity that you can reach the top. The founder and CEO of Dell, Michael Dell, started as a dishwasher in a Chinese restaurant. Then he got promoted to the position of water boy. After that, he got employed in a Mexican restaurant. Such jobs not only made him aware of different cultures and languages but also made him adaptive to different environments.

Do you know that Michael Dell today has a net worth of 20.4 billion USD?

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5. Welcome to reality: No one cares about your degrees but what you can offer

Your real-life experience holds greater value than your degrees, percentages or awards. As you step into the real world and learn everything practically, it not only expands your mind but gives you new ways to deal with people, harsh environments and obstacles. Such lessons are valuable not only to live a healthy life but to be successful in your career as well.

You must focus on honing your skills and experimenting with new and different things. Shape your passion and start investing your time in it, as that is how you gain experience. As per a research by The Creative group, the most important factor in landing an entry-level job is previous experience.

Geddy Lee Musician

You spend most of your life working and trying to hone your craft, working on your chops, working on your writing, and you don't really think about accolades. Then you get a bit older and they start coming your way. It's a nice pat on the back.

Duncan Walker Bannatyn, a Scottish entrepreneur, has a net worth of £122 million. He started with an ice-cream van worth £450. He expanded the business and had a turnover of £350,000 a year but sold it later. He has gained knowledge and is investing in spas, hotels, health clubs and media now.

Duncan Bannatyn has a keen interest in business, so he kept experimenting in this field. It not only gave him an idea regarding how a business has to be managed, but he learnt how to handle money and how to go about investing it properly.

Dun Bannatyn holds an OBE for his charitable works.

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As you enter into the real world, you must be ready to do any job with ease. The initial years can be full of struggle, but it doesn’t mean that you will never progress.

Consider the menial jobs as the beginning of a career that holds immense potential.

Keep an optimistic attitude while doing any menial or low-paying job, as it’s your attitude which makes the biggest difference. If you jump into a job with a negative frame of mind, you will neither increase your skills nor will the experience help you in any way.

Stay neutral towards jobs.

Don’t segregate them on the basis of their salary or reputation. Just because a particular job is viewed as degraded by society because it cannot build your status quo, it doesn’t mean that it can’t help you.

Keep your focus clear: You are in a learning mode and whatever is being taught to you by any job holds importance.

Are you ready to handle a menial job with enthusiasm?