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How the word 'friend' has been commodified and infantalised in the age of 'likes'.

Illustration by Maurice Sendak from a vintage ode to friendship by Janice May Udry

Can you 'like' me on Facebook?' But  I was astonished recently to hear such a request from an adult
surely this is what 11 year old 'teenage' girls request but no the request came from a self styled educated adult. 

What is happening in our infantalising social media is the the commodification of the word “friend,”  this once-sacred term, now vacated of meaning by chronic misuse

We must go to the ancients for lasting advice on the values of friendship

In one of his letters, Seneca (c. 4 BC – AD 65)
,cautions against mistaking flattery for friendship — an admonition all the more urgent today, in the Age of Likes, when the forms of flattery and the channels of positive reinforcement have proliferated to a disorienting degree:
How closely flattery resembles friendship! It not only apes friendship, but outdoes it, passing it in the race; with wide-open and indulgent ears it is welcomed and sinks to the depths of the heart, and it is pleasing precisely wherein it does harm.
He turns the beam of his wisdom toward the only valid and noble reason for forming a friendship:
For what purpose, then, do I make a man my friend? In order to have someone for whom I may die, whom I may follow into exile, against whose death I may stake my own life, and pay the pledge, too.

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