I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who said that he no longer needs friends. I respectfully disagreed because it is impossible to say something like that when we meet people on a daily basis. I will go a bit further to say that the word “friend” (a word that has had its definition cheapened drastically in 2017) can actually be split into two categories: friends or opportunities.
Adam Smith states in The Wealth of Nations (which most of you may need to read to understand concepts such as economics) that man is self-interested. Self-interest is the motivator of economic activity, and to get anything done, we must look out for our own interests. The same friend also says he literally hated money, which is another impossibility because bartering has been superseded by currency, and unless we’ve found something to supersede currency, we’re all stuck loving money (some more so than others). Even religious organizations, who claim to be beyond the concept of money, love money more than even those who are not religious, and thus violate their own precepts by pursuing something temporary (money) than something permanent (the grace of God).
The main point is: are we making friends or opportunities? Chances are it’s the latter, especially if you are under the age of 30. Friends may be great and all, but opportunities are far more scarce than friends. You make friends when you’re in school because you have to interact with others on a daily basis. You make opportunities when you don’t have the bubble of school protecting you from any sort of responsibility. In fact, you also make opportunities in school. Group projects (which are in no way a real representation of the work force) require people to make opportunities over friends. You’re not there to establish a relationship, but rather to complete a task.
My personal experience is only one experience in the grand scheme of things, but I can tell you this: there are very few friends and an almost infinite amount of opportunities. People do not want to be your friend because of the traditional sense of the word, but rather they are your friend because of an opportunity they may have that requires you in the present or the future. There are very few altruistic people left in the world today. I will bring up, once again, the example of people going to church on Sundays. Many people are there because of the opportunity to gain the grace of God, not because they want to establish a relationship with God. No one is truly good for goodness’ sake, but rather, good because they expect something in return (i.e. the promise of Heaven).
People have stopped talking to me because they no longer view me as an opportunity, let alone a friend. It is difficult to reconcile who is a friend and who is an opportunity. There are many people who will view you as an opportunity, but very few people will view you as a friend.