Teenagers look at Facebook. Image Credit: Garo/Phanie/REX/Shutterstock

On August 6, people across the globe celebrated Friendship Day. Social media channels were filled with cute friendship pictures and emotional videos.

But times are changing, especially with the widespread usage of social media. With time, the definition of ‘friendship’ also seems to have changed and gained a new meaning.

The concept seems to have dissolved into a virtual world. Has it lost solidarity and depth? Your friend in this new world is a mere ‘contact’ whom you can ‘un-friend’ - based on your whims and the ‘mood’ of the day.

Many people these days seem obsessed with having numerous virtual friends. Some of them derive pleasure, just from the numerical increase of friends on social media.

However, it is very important to understand and maintain the distinction between real friends and the facade of virtual friendship. It is not a thin line, yet difficult to distinguish.

Your real friends are the ones who energise and support you — not leave you feeling drained. Friendship day is an important day, it is really needed. It is a day when we need to delve within and ask ourselves if we really have a true friend. Do we still have that “BFF” (best friend forever) or bestie with whom we connect, and can easily reconnect with - even after years of separation. A person who will never judge us on the basis of our financial status. With them we can gather loose ends and take it forward right where we left.

Friends are the ‘family’ we choose. We can trust them to be by our side in the toughest of times - comforting, reassuring and supporting. At times when even a sibling may let you down, you can fall back on a friend. They are probably the only people who will accept us despite our shortcomings. In a friend’s company you will always be yourself. With the parameters like respect and trust in place, we can let our guards down!

To me friendship means cosy evenings filled with laughter and inside jokes that only my friend and I can relate to and relish. We take time out, cook meals together. The genuine fondness we have for each other is like a magic potion, it relaxes the stress-ridden soul and embalms it with renewed vigour. I enjoy simple pleasures like a karaoke evening at home or singing mindlessly with no inhibitions when I am with my best friend. I forget about my torturous diet when we indulge in a tub of ice cream as she cribs about work or the mundane realities of life and then lo and behold, she is good to go, after being listened to patiently. Wise men believe - keep it simple. This probably applies to friendship, too. And yes in this relationship you get discounts and lots of goodies - and the best part is that terms and conditions do not apply!

- The reader is a writer based in Dubai