Dubai: Social media has created a different set of relationship rules leading to users misusing the term ‘friend’ in their online interactions, Dr Saliha Afridi, Clinical Psychologist at Lighthouse Arabia, said.
“Facebook has greatly influenced our use of the word ‘friend’. If someone ‘friends you’ on Facebook, it doesn’t automatically mean that you now have the closeness and intimacy that you have with some friends in the real world.”
People who ‘friend’ and ‘unfriend’ others with the click of a button could also feel that they can maintain a friendship with a couple of ‘likes’ and positive comments on posts. “Genuine relationships require sweat, tears, and a lot of hard work,” Dr Afridi said.
Some users, especially adolescents, engage in what is called ‘friend-collecting behaviour’, she said. These users ‘friend’ people they don’t know personally in order to increase the size of their online network. This could be what is known as ‘impression management strategy’.