Do friends overtake relatives in the social hierarchy of a global citizen?
The 21st century heralds a truly global world. It is not uncommon for people to travel to distant places in search of a career. Relocation almost seems to be the order of the day.
You may have moved away from roots for multifarious reasons. For some education at a foreign university beckons them while for others it could be a lucrative career option or sometimes just simple personal preference. Surely you have friends who visited a country and just fell in love with it. Then voila! Before you know it they have moved to the land of their dreams.
Well for a moment there if you brush aside the logistics of moving, then you actually stop to ponder over the emotional upheaval that such a change may bring about.
Most of us on an average tend to have a healthy balance between our relatives comprising cousins, aunts and uncles along with a huge assorted list of friends from the neighborhood and school. So while we hang out with our friends, we are used to the occasional visit from a relative as well as the loud and chatty family dos which can sometimes be a lot of fun.
Suddenly with all this travelling one aspect of your life gets frozen in time. You have moved but your relatives haven’t. To offer you a social respite in a foreign land you befriend unknown faces. You meet them over coffee, then maybe dinner at home or a movie and soon enough some of them become an integral part of your Friday evenings and weekends too.
You aunts, uncles and cousins still exist but their images are now becoming a blur. You enjoy the occasional conversation over the phone and the bonhomie during the annual trip back home.
But somewhere deep down you realize that you are losing that touch. Your relationship is being driven apart because of paucity of time caused by the distance. In its place the more frequent recent contacts have formed a more important bridge.
You value these friends because you know that in the event of any kind of exigency they are possibly the only ones who are likely to bail you out. So you tend to lean more towards these relationships because you are smart and you realize that you are mutually dependent.
This symbiosis is critical if you are living outside of your hometown. Soon enough this concerted effort that you put into building these friendships pay rich dividends and you have forged an emotional bond with a non-blood.
However during this very phase your blood relatives have moved on with their lives as you have with yours and today you offer polite exchanges at that odd wedding that springs up but you soon realize that the relationships have lost their flavor with time.
Man as a social animal tends to genuinely live in the present. We need constant reinforcement of relationships to keep them alive.
Hence if the present is increasingly crowded with friends rather than relatives, then it only a natural outcome that they then tend to occupy a distinctly higher position in the realm of social hierarchy.