The other day I mentioned Hank to my dad and I referred to him as a "friend". He said that you can't be friends with someone who you only know though the Internet. I disagreed. But I got me thinking. What is the modern definion of a friend? Has the 21st cenury changed the way we see our relationships. YES. But has it changed the relationships thenselves? Hmmmm.

Views: 183

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hmm, when in doubt, let's begin at the dictionary.




1.a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
2.a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter: friends of the Boston Symphony.
3.a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile: Who goes there? Friend or foe?
4.a member of the same nation, party, etc.
5.( initial capital letter ) a member of the Religious Society of Friends; a Quaker.

It appears that you qualify under definitions 1, 3, and 4 (if you consider nerdfighters as a sort of club or association).  Also maybe 5, if you and Hank happen to be Quakers.  Are you a Quaker?

Also, before the internet, people had pen pals, and could consider them friends even if they never met face-to-face.

It's interesting that number 1 defines a friend as "a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard."  This as opposed to TWO people with feelings of MUTUAL affection or personal regard.  This means that I can be a friend to someone I don't even know.  Who knew?
**Apologies for the weird highlighting of some of the words in my dictionary quote.  I don't know why it's like that.

In my humble opinion it expanded the definition. There used to be something pen pals. Maybe he is a net pal or web pal.

technically you can be friends with Hank, but Hank cannot be friends with you unless he knows you. that is for Tazlima's first definition of the word. you are both friends according to the fourth definition.

Well unless you and Hank actually communicate directly with each other then no he is not your friend and you're displaying alarming behavior by referring to him as such. 

The modern definition of the word friend in America at least is very lax but it isn't lax enough to allow you to be friends with someone who doesn't know you exist. I'm just going to go ahead and do something I rarely do which is tell the dictionary to go to hell, friendship is a mutual thing. I'm not friends with Bryan Cranston just because I think he's one of the greatest actors of all time. Even if he started vlogging, despite whatever claims he may make to the contrary, at the heart of the relationship we have together I just enjoy mans work even if I begin to enjoy it on a very personal level and until I start somewhat regularly directly communicating back and forth with Bryan Cranston on an individual level (I.E we specifically make a point to specifically talk to each other because we both know that the other person exists) we will continue to not be friends. If thats not true then friendship is meaningless and we need a new word to describe the actual meaningful and mutual bonds we form with other individuals.

It seems like the modern definition of the word ''friend'' is weaker than earlier definitions. An old view of friendship is a strong bond between two people built on common interests, trust and loyalty. This does not seem nessecary today. For instance i can see how many ''friends'' i have on facebook. I have also had ''friends'' in school. I don't feel like I had/have any specific amount of loyalty towards them. But it is socially acceptable to call them my friends. When i think about it i have also heard the sentence ''I don't trust my friends''. This seems to show that friendship doesn't imply loyalty or trust anymore. Then one can assume that we are less loyal and trusting towards our friends today. 

I used to have a super-high bar for "friend": unless you were somebody I could call at 3 a.m., you weren't a friend.  I've eased up a little now that I'm old and rarely up at 3 a.m.  Now, if i can call you with a problem, you're a friend.  

I do have people I'd consider online friends.  But they're mostly people I've known from forums for years and years and have communicated with a lot.

Hi, new here. Thought I'd give my two cents.

I like to think of friendship as a sort of sliding scale or point system, based on mutual respect and general fondness. Anybody above a certain point (let's call it 0) is a friend, while anyone below is someone you dislike, not necessarily an enemy, just someone you like less than a stranger. A stranger is (in theory, I am aware that we make hundreds/thousands of judgments on people the moment we see them, but for this purpose I will ignore those presumptions) a 0. I personally would consider all nerdfighters above a 0, just on account of being a nerdfighter and not having any other evidence to go on. If I knew another nerdfighter personally, they might influence that scale in either a positive or negative way based on our interactions. That being said, with Hank being a nerdfighter, would I call him (or any other nerdfighter I don't know) a friend?

No, because my original definition was based on "mutual respect and fondness". Hank does not know me, so the "respect and fondness" is not "mutual". If we met, he might consider my being a nerdfighter a plus, and thus we would be friends, but that has not happened, and so I sit at the 0 point on his personal scale.

This is my overly complicated way of saying "No, it has to be mutual."

 I think a friend is anyone you connect with. I consider you a friend because you posted something i have been thinking a lot about lately. Maybe Hank doesn't know you personally but he is your and mine and everyone's friend because we connect with him and are able to find joy or happiness or a sense of comfort in his videos. SO yea A friend is anyone :)

I think that you've raised an interesting point.  What the internet has done, especially in communities such as this one, is make it easier for people to have a connection regardless of their geographic location.  It also has caused what I consider to be a blurring of the line between "friend" and "acquaintance" (not that this was ever a very solid demarcation to begin with).  For example, I have a lot of Facebook friends by my standards (484) and I would not consider many of them to be my true friend in real life since I don't have actual relationships with them.  When I call someone my friend, I mean that they're somebody whose company I enjoy and somebody with whom I have a relationship.  Without either of those, I wouldn't call somebody a friend.  Hank seems to fit my first criterion for you, I would assume that you enjoy the time you spend in his presence.  However, unless there's something you aren't telling us, I don't see that there's a relationship between the two of you.  So you can have a true friend on the internet without ever meeting them in person, but I don't think you and Hank are actually friends.

But I'm just a guy at a computer, so what do I know?


I think a friend is someone you know and have a connection with, and vice versa.  They should be someone you can rely on, and that won't hate you for making a mistake or because you have flaws.

A close friend is someone you can trust, call at three in the morning, cry on their shoulder, talk about your problems with, et cetera.

An acquaintance.  In my definition, an acquaintance is someone you have met/is close to someone you have met that would make you sad if they died/got into an accident, and would be happy for if they, say, got married.  And, no, famous-person-worship and the like does not count.  My neighbor, for example, is an acquaintance.  We say hi to each other, and I've babysat their kids.  Not to say that because someone is your neighbor they can't be your friend; I also have a very close friend who happens to be my neighbor.

Hero worship:  Another hard term to define.  I am going to focus on the famous-person type of hero worship.  You cannot count someone as your friend solely because they are pretty or have good style or are good at sports or acting, because that is not a full scope of someone's character.  You can say, "I like ___'s taste" or "I like ___'s ideas", but saying you are friends with someone based on that alone doesn't work.

Finally, friendship is not a checklist.  You can't really say, "This person falls into the category of friend because x, y, and z apply to them."

Now, for the internet aspect. 

A friend of mine recently said that they were "not even friends with ___on facebook", and I think this gives a real look into internet relationships.  I am not against facebook or social media; I wouldn't be here if I was.  However, the onset of mass messaging and communication has led to a further blurring of the lines that separate friend, acquaintance, best friend, and the cashier at your local grocery, and the unfortunate distancing of actual communication.  The person you went to summer camp with five years ago and have not seen or heard from since does not need to know about your cholesterol problems or the whiny little kid who sat behind you on the bus.  I do not think you should have a relationship with someone based solely on IMing and the sort, because there are people who pretend to be someone else online for the sole purpose of gaining information or harming someone.  (Not that the vlogbrothers are those types, and hopefully none of the Nerdfighters are, either.  (Just added 'Nerdfighter' to the dictionary on my computer!))  I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you wouldn't say it to someone's face, don't tell it to them online.

Where do Hank and John Green, and the rest of Nerdfighteria fall in?

For Hank and John:  Are they your close friend?  No.  Friend?  No.  Acquaintance?  Probably not.  You may look up to them, and share many of their ideas or passions, or even be able to recite their biographies verbatim, but that does not make them your friend.  My best guess at that would be to say that they are someone you admire and feel friendly towards, and would like to be their actual friend. You could say that you like them, because you care about them as a person, and not just for their status/situation.  However, in order to be their actual friend, I would suggest meeting them, or speaking to them in some way.

Nerdfighteria?  My best title for us would be comrades.

Hoped this cleared up the question somewhat, or at least did not make you more confused.

Signing out, DFTBA,


P.S. French the Llama, that came out longer than I expected!  My hand hurts now.

In talks with my mother, everyone I know from the internets are often referred by her as "little people". It is said jokingly, but there have been many changes with the internet and social media. I honestly talk to nearby friends less in "real life" and more on the internet.

Distancing the internet in even a joking way seems to base a fear around the change it has brought. Or at least discomfort.

I cant get over how many amazing people I have met, (and traveled to!), and I hope it never ends.

PS. I finally got my mother on facebook. She likes it and already has it on her Iphone. :)


Youtube Links!

Here are some YT links to channels related to Nerdfighteria and educational content!

*Can you think of any more? Pass along any suggestions to an Admin who will then add it to this list should it fit!

© 2015   Created by Hank Green.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service