"Friend" designation often a substitute for real friendship

In a discussion about accepting friend requests on Ryze, a friend of mine wrote:

Yes, in the beginning I would ask to be friends or accept friends right off. After all isn’t that what networking is supposed to be about? Making connections and relationships with people?

Here’s my reply:

Absolutely it’s about making connections and relationships with people! A designation of “friend” between two people who haven’t even carried on a meaningful conversation yet isn’t “connecting” or “developing a relationship”.

Now that I think about it, I think that’s what really bugs me about it. People use it as a substitute for actually developing a friendship. “We’ve said we’re friends, therefore we are” doesn’t seem like much of a basis for a relationship to me.

Meaningful dialog, collaboration, serving one another — THAT makes a friendship, not a hyperlink on each other’s profile. The link isn’t a connection — it’s a map of a connection. And as the saying goes, “The map is not the territory.”

Sticking with the map analogy, adding people as friends when you haven’t had dialog, collaboration, service, and reciprocity is sort of like drawing streets on the map that don’t actually exist. That doesn’t serve well either you or anyone else who tries to use the map. 😉