Thursday, December 13, 2007

Are we growing antisocial as we grow older?

This is a question, which I have been asking myself frequently. It is not as if I have been a very social person all my life. Till some time back (ok, make it a few years back) it was very easy for me to smile and do a “Hi, how are you? ” and talk about weather, global warming and other such social niceties. But it has always been very difficult for me to let somebody become really close to me. I have now reached a point wherein I don’t want to go to large gatherings consisting of mostly unknown people.

I heaved a sigh of relief when my close friend also complained about the same thing. Atleast I have the satisfaction of knowing that I am not the only one having this problem. I guess the basic reason is that as we grow older we become more averse to change. We also become more confident about ourselves and we are at a point where we don’t bother whether are popular or not. Also it becomes very difficult to find people with the same wavelength. Earlier it was easy for me to relate to people even if there was a single common thread between us. But, now I am finding that it is not enough. On top of this I see a spate of networking sites opening up left, right and centre and I am left wondering whether is it just me who is feeling very antisocial?

Orkut, Facebook, Yaari, Dushmani, what nots… these kind of sites are just multiplying exponentially. Though yours truly is present in one such site (didn’t understand the logic to join multiple sites and meet the exact same people in all the sites), I have just made 2 new friends whom I didn’t know before. One thing I see commonly as an introduction is “I am here only to keep in touch with my old friends. If you don’t know me personally, don’t add me as your friend.” Now I confess I too have something on very similar lines on my profile page. To my defense, I am fed up with people having profiles like “Luv me plzzzzz” and “Yours foreverrrrr” begging me for frandsheeps. Now I have very clearly mentioned in “Vendakka aksharam” (Bold & Big letters) that I am married and have also listed out my sterling virtues (pessimistic and antisocial being some of them) but these requests still keep coming. Though I would have to admit it does give my ego quite a kick that Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt had come requesting "friendsheeps" and I turned them down, how I wish they were the real ones and not the “desi” clones.

Now the networking sites do resemble Venice during its carnival time. How else do you explain the multitude of Hrithik Roshans, Deepika Padukones and Aishwarya Rais in my friends list? On the last count I am friends with atleast 3 Deepikas, 2 Lindsays and 4Hrithiks. Now this is a very dynamic situation as “Deepika” can suddenly morph into “Kate Winslet” depending on the “friend’s” immediate frame of mind. What is it about the Internet that makes people try on different masks? Also what is it about the Internet that makes people do things that they will never dream of doing in real life. I know of adolescents who would break into a sweat if a beautiful girl walked past by and the same boys don’t think twice before sending friendship requests to some girl who happens to be a friend of neuighbour’s daughter’s classmate’s relative. Whew!!! All these are rhetorical questions and yes, everyone knows the answers to these questions as well. One word, anonymity.

While I am being over the hill and rejecting all the “louveee” coming my way, I am extremely dazed that my “kutti” cousins some of them all of 10 years are chatting away to glory to totally unknown people whose profile pics makes me think that they have just got out of jail. What is it with today’s world? On one side there are people like me who neither have the drive nor initiative to make new friends and on the other side people who take intense pleasure in sending friendship requests to just anybody and everybody in the site. Where do you draw the line? I sincerely hope and pray that my “kutti” cousins know where to draw the line.

Oops, instead of discussing on people becoming anti-social, this post has turned into a tirade against networking sites. Somehow my views seem very negative when it’s put down in black and white. Networking sites also have its positives. I should admit that I have met some of my long lost school friends thanks to such sites. More so it helps people specifically like me who ended up studying all over India.


mathew said...

agree very much with this post..
am self confessed member of such a network is like if you are not in orkut you are probably not in the real world..

and i used to be a big fan of it in the early stages coz of the sheer novelty of the site..but now it seems to losing the shine..I have found lot of school friends..but ironically i dont have much to relate with them now..just where do you work..oh you got married..thats it..and then we dont really have a common ground to talk..

and i guess the spammers are in networking sites or anywhere..i must say it becomes dangerous when young kids get hooked to it..but other wise there are good healthy discussion forums which are quite informative..

I must admit that in the huge list of 300-400 friends in the list i hardly can relate to 3-4 of em..others are just acquintances who are probably lost in the time machine of life..

sorry for the long comment..;-P

eljo said...

@ Mathew:I also have the same mindset as you regarding number of "friends" in the friends list vis-a-vis the actual number of people to whom you can really relate. After the initial thrill of meeting the long lost friend and finding out what they have been upto, there's nothing much to talk about. The subsequent conversations are either "season's greetings" or an occassional "Hi, how r u?"

P.S. You don't have to be so formal abt using comment space :-)

anN-series said...

Chech...damn i am late!...somebody did the honours before i cud.. :~( ...u jus bashed up okt and the like...i was hoping to find true love and now u dashed my hopes...

but hey u r getting a lot of fraand requests even i hv another reason to be J of u (as always)

eljo said...

@ M: can't help it if my blog is teeming with people, can I??? ;-P
also u do remember that my S% is more than urs... As regards the fraandsheeps, I am quite fed up. I don't know from where these people catch hold of my profile.