Socrates Exchange: Do we need friendship in the age of Friending?

May 9, 2011

What makes someone a true friend?  We use the term friend in so many different ways to refer to so many different kinds of relationships and people: we friend hundreds of people on Facebook; spouses, children, parents are all supposed to be our friends now; we have bffs, friends with benefits, and frenemies.  On the one hand, when we use the term so widely we risk emptying it of all meaning.  On the other hand, we use it so widely because we value friendship so highly.  How can we cut through all the confusion and find our real friends?  What does genuine friendship entail?  Can we foster genuine friendships while spending so much time and energy on all of our other “friends”?


  • Ed McGushin, professor of philosophy at St. Anselm College