Friendship or Followers : Dilemma of Gen-Z

Graphic by Priyadharshan

“Some people go to priests. Others to poetry. I to my friends.”

This thought by Virginia Woolf is such a simple representation of why humans require an emotional connection. Friendship is the basis of any healthy relationship in the world because it is only with a friend that you dare to bring down your inhibitions and insecurities. It helps you flourish in adversities, nourish in despair. It is pulsating to think of a person who does not have a friend or relation as good as a friend. We have observed that for harmony in the society, one needs to have understanding and respect for one another; values every friendship should have. Unfortunately that is not the scenario in this technology driven era.

The World Happiness Report has reported that The Happiness Index of some developed nations is considerably low as compared to their economic stability. India ranks 136 out of the 149 participating countries. Even developed nations like the USA, Canada, UK have not secured single-digit ranks. One of the factors for this dip can be that as the world progresses forwards and we grow into this Artificial Intelligence(AI) driven universe, we have started to lose our emotional intellect (EQ). We rarely strike up a dinner conversation with our families anymore. Everyone is so focused on their ambitions in life that being human and having emotions have taken a back seat. In these scenarios, we are left with minimal or insignificant contact with our surroundings. And we start trusting the person who shows even the slightest flicker of compassion towards us. We want to believe that the person close to us always has the best interest of us. This is what gives the path to an abnormality in trust or popularly called the Ride or Die culture.
Let’s briefly understand this wavering trend of Ride or Die. What happens in any relationship whether it is romantic or platonic? You care, trust, support and encourage. If one tries to test your loyalty to them, by asking you to agree with them whatsoever may the outcome of a decision they take (ride); ethical or unethical. Also to be through it all even if it fails (die). As enchanting and thrilling as it may sound, it is “TOXIC”, no matter what. As human beings, we have the understanding and intellect to be used to one’s full potential to thrive and survive in life. But being in the dynamics of a relationship that demands you to trust them and believe them unwaveringly is too much. A healthy relationship is established only when you acknowledge and care for the opinions and thoughts of each other.

However, the ride or die culture basically tells one to dominate the thought process of others and establish you as the propeller or protagonist. It not only damages the equation in a relationship but also hampers the contemplation of one being submissive. Instead of making them empowered with your association, they may rather feel weak and neglected. Arguably, you are a ‘JIHADI’ in your own relationship. You would be violating their basic freedom of expression which only has the best of your interest in their heart.

People who justify the culture as being a phase in life, forget that this attitude, if encouraged, will only create problems for them in the long run. They will not be able to trust and respect people who have different opinions in life than them. The insecurities, longing for companionship, and dominance of others will only result in them being socially out-casted in the long run. One can never be happy with people who agree with them at all times. It’s like restricting self creativity by expecting people to be consenting to you all the time. You would be trapped in a box of thoughts and become reclusive of anything outside. How do you know that the thought or action which you propel them to take with you is all correct? Why must they suffer the consequences of your actions? Just because they love you and care for you. If you don’t welcome them with their freedom to express then you too don’t deserve their attention and respect. History has always given us the example that dictators like Napoleon, Tzar, Adolf Hitler, etc. have failed to flourish and grow, despite their conquest and support from the people. We must learn to imbibe and be acceptable to our shortcomings, insecurities, and beliefs. Then only we can find the solution to our problems.

A healthy relationship is the benchmark of a healthy society and nation. A healthy relationship requires you to be mentally strong, compassionate, and empathize with others. Then only we can save ourselves from the faded trends and cultures like the Ride or Die.

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