Friendships aren’t what they used to be, it’s a common complaint these days. Instead of conversing, individuals are looking at their phones in restaurants. Selfie culture has transformed us into narcissists who are more concerned with managing our public image than with being present with one another.

Friendships today are in some ways more conditional than they were in the past. Even the word “friend” has changed as a result of social media: becoming friends with someone now simply entails clicking “accept” on their friend request without ever saying hello. The internet link has become more important than ever in recent years. So, what is the evolving nature of friendship? Even if interacting through a computer isn’t ruining friendships, many people worry that the way we choose and nurture our friends through digital technology favors low-quality social connections. What should we take away from all of this? Friendship’s mediums and technologies may change, yet much remains the same. Although phone calls and handwritten letters from a few decades ago may appear to be more wholesome than today’s WhatsApp communications, their purpose is the same.

While it may be tempting to keep their electronics locked away and send them outside with a skipping rope, doing so would likelyexclude them from an important community. And while spending every waking hour hunched over a smartphone isn’t a recipe for a fulfilling life, neither is spending every waking moment writing letters.