When I was young, my grandmother used to tell me to smile and say hi to passerby strangers. She believed it could make their day, and in her times, it probably did. Nowadays people are far too cynical of anyone showing an inch of kindness; you smile at a stranger and they turn away or give you a ‘creeped out’ look. And god forbid if you say hi, half of them will walk away without a word. This doesn’t go without saying that there are also those who smile back and don’t mind starting a conversation with a passerby, but yet again, these people are rare nowadays.
Similar is the case with friends; you have many of them, but the real ones are few. The sad part is that society, as always, following the trend, ignores the real well-wisher and holds on to the one who leads the crowd; majority is authority my friend, and if majority says jumping off a cliff is fun and the minority says that you’ll die, then of course, the majority is still more important. Mark Twain once said, “When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to stop, pause and reflect.”
Our friendships are greatly influenced by what is ‘popular’. Gone are the times when friends who offered to pay for your lunch were appreciated, and arrived have the times where friends who are too selfish to even pay for a single person’s meal, are considered ‘bro’s’. People would rather have a dumb popular jockey on their side than the nice guy who helps them pass the Chemistry quiz. People would rather have a friend who loves getting ‘high’ than a friend who says drugs aren’t cool because you don’t need to ‘blow your brains out’ to have ‘real’ fun. People would rather have the ‘perverse disrespectful’ hothead as their friend rather than the sweet guy who gives up his seat, so a girl doesn’t have to stand on the school bus.
Human nature has a natural thirst for approval and being noticed, and as a teenager, the easiest way to have that is to be part of the most popular crowd around, needless to say that they are seen as a bunch of ‘wannabe’s’ with mean attitudes by the so called ‘unpopular’ crowd – which by the way in many cases is the reality. Friendships that began in kindergarten come to an end once one of the two friends makes it in to the ‘cool crowd’. As a teenager I have seen many friendships being broken just because, even though you’re a nice person, you’re weird, just because you don’t like getting hung-over and just because you don’t need the approval of others to survive in society.
Our generation has lost the meaning of ethics; they don't listen to advice and start wanting independence as soon as they learn how to spell the word. We need to ask ourselves where the times have gone when we considered comic-cons fun? When getting high meant getting high on life? When adrenaline rushes mattered? When the exhilaration from climbing a mountain to see a sunset was all the peace of mind that we needed? When seeing your weird best friend mattered more than the approval of others? When true friendship was appreciated?
Think about this. Think about the fact that why you would rather have a friend you could ‘chill out’ with, than a friend who’d stand by your side.
Think about your definition of fun and think about the people whose approval really matters, the people you love.... while I go and get ready for dinner with the hottest jockey on my high school team… Oh wait, I wasn’t suppose to tell you that…Oops.