Friends – The Latest Substitute for Marriage

by Alexandra Fox – ( August 24, 2012

(Alexandra Fox, 28, our London Correspondent, is an astute observer of new trends.)
For some time now, the media has been pushing the importance of “friendship” to young people. Advertising campaigns feature lots of happy, shiny friends laughing and having fun. All social media pivots around how many friends they have. The post popular sitcom of the last twenty years was called “Friends”.
No-one can disagree that friends are a good thing. However the media’s interest in the concept should be a warning sign. The kind of central, inextricable daily role depicted in the media belongs to an age-and-stage. Promoting them into adulthood is promoting arrested development.
We need those kind of friendships growing up to learn how to socialize and interact with the world, but the natural progression is that these bonds naturally loosen and take a back seat to marriage and children.
This is no longer happening. Nature intends marriage and family to happen at some point between the ages of 18 and 25; but is a rare Gen X’er or Millennial who would even consider settling down in their early twenties.
These are their prime years for having “fun”, and fun translates as hanging out with their friends every night. The usual story now is to graduate from college, and then recreate a sort of college dorm with 2 or 3 or more friends in a shared house, an arrangement that will persist for many years, often at the expense of forming meaningful romantic relationships outside. Young people are taught to distrust serious romantic relationships (i.e courtship) – they curtail your fun, they don’t last, they’ll hurt you. Better to stick with your friends.

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