General Question

wundayatta's avatar

How does internet "friendliness" vary by age?

Asked by wundayatta (58367 points ) July 12th, 2010

How old are you, and how aggressive would you guess you are compared to people of other age groups in seeking internet friends? Do you friend anyone who asks? Do you only friend those you know? Do you screen internet friends in any way?

Do you think there’s any difference in the willingness of people of varying ages to “friend” someone? If so, what is the difference and how do you account for this difference?

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23 Answers

mrentropy's avatar

I never use “friend” as a verb. On sites like Facebook I only add people as friends that I know, or am related to, even if I don’t know them. On other sites I don’t make friends. I’ll chat back and forth with whatever the mechanism is to do that, but that’s as far as it goes.

I’m 41 and cranky.

BoBo1946's avatar

I’m 63 and a people person. Enjoy making friends anywhere! Also, relating is not about age, but about two people who like people. some people just don’t like to be friendly! Have no idea why…but, that is the way it is!

CMaz's avatar

We either relate or we don’t.

Friendship in general is earned.

Coloma's avatar

I am 50.

I am a people person as well, but, don’t have any regular online friends that I email or have daily contact with.

A few friendly notes and joking around, but nothing consistant.

I have been participating here for about 4 months now and pretty much know the nice folk from the not so nice. lol

Seaofclouds's avatar

I’m 28. I am open to making friends online and I will add someone to my instant messenger lists if I enjoy talking to them or e-mail back and forth if they want to do that, but I am picky about who I add to my Facebook.

Cruiser's avatar

I used to make friends readily way back when. Now I am much more selective and will even be more so now. As you go through life, people you trust and care about always seem let you down when you least expect it and when you need them to be your friend the most.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m sorry. I think I gave out the wrong idea. I meant “friend” as in Facebook friends or friends in your fluther, and friends of that ilk. I mean the kind where people ask you to friend them and you say yes or no.

Aster's avatar

I accept anyone who wants to be an internet “friend” except for the now-grown man who punched me in the stomach in sixth grade. I was terrified and crying.
—at least I got him back in 7th when I kicked him in the leg hard as I could when we crossed paths in the aisle ((-;

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Some people, no matter what age, like to befriend others, whether they know them or not. In the latter situation, I would think that they have found some common bond (i.e., play the same FB game).

Some people just don’t have the time or interest in befriending a lot of people, much less ones that they don’t know, like people who work full time, are parents, are going to school full time and also have a job, etc.

My fiancĂ© and I do not send “Friend Requests” without asking them first. AND he never ever would initiate friendship requests with a female who isn’t an adult.

DominicX's avatar

I’m 18 and I’ve been on Facebook since I was 15. When I first joined, it was just about getting as many friends as possible, so I added anyone who requested me and I requested as many people as possible. It did kind of feel like a competition to me. I was pretty willing to be “friends” with anyone. I’m still pretty willing, but I do really only add people I’ve met in person. That still gives me over 1000 friends on Facebook, more than most of my friends. And I’ve met them all in person, I swear (some of the early ones I might’ve met after I friended them). What I can say…I know a lot of people… :P

Does that mean that I’m close to 1000 people? No, not really. Some people have added me after a brief conversation with me and I’ve done the same. Some of those people are people I will probably never see again. I figure that having that many friends doesn’t hurt anything, so there’s no reason to defriend anyone.

Seek's avatar

“Friend”-ing someone is not equitable to friendship, in my opinion.

Online friends are my friends. They are not a subgroup of the Internet, they are real people with real lives, with whom I have shared stories and experiences. I look forward to seeing them every day, and when they are gone I miss them. When we have disagreements I am upset and sometimes lose sleep. It is a real relationship. The fact that we haven’t met face to face doesn’t change that.

Adding “Friends” just to see a number on your Facebook page go up is no less shallow than joining the cheerleading squad to gain a clique of cookie-cutter followers.

janbb's avatar

I find FB a very shallow and unsatisfying way to relate to people so I tend not to initiate FB friendships. If I know someone and they request me as a friend, I will confirm it. I do enjoy seeing the snippets of my kids’ and overseas relatives’ lives there and interacting with some of my kids’ friends.

On Fluther, I do not use my “Fluther” actively so it is not very important to me except as a fistbump. However, over the years of being here, there are a few people whom I have come to know and whom I consider friends, whether or not I have met them in person yet.

wundayatta's avatar

@DominicX The kind of thing you’ve done is my impression of how it is. When people first get on at age 13, they want anyone who will friend them to friend them. It’s a competition. As people get older, they get more selective. Indeed, I think that some people, post-retirement age, for example, are likely to be overly selective—as in afraid to friend anyone. There is still much fear of the internet. A lot of people don’t think they can protect themselves from its threats.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I turned 67 in May.

I generally will accept anyone as a friend ( unless I know them to be a stalker, a hacker, etc. ) and wait for them to prove they don’t deserve to be friends. I do not pre-screen anyone.

I rather suspect that the degree to which someone is friendly on the Internet varies significantly with age. And I think the reason for this is that having survived life for awhile makes people more sympathetic and caring. Just my personal belief.

wundayatta's avatar

@CaptainHarley Sorry. Maybe I’m missing something, but would you mind telling me how you think internet friendliness varies by age? Thanks. I think your answer is pretty interesting, by the way.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@wundayatta

I think it’s pretty much a function of having survived a few more years. Life can be kinna hard on all of us, and the longer we live, the more sympathetic and kinder we are inclined to be.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I am 56 and prematurely retired. I can be a really good friend and I am open to meeting new people but I am not aggressively seeking to have a circle of friends.

I have found that some regulars here on fluther appeal to me because of their intellect, their compassion, their sense of humour or their unique perspective on life.

I have made the commitment to offer individuals the benefit of my professional skills for free as my way of contributing to the sense of community that is an emergent quality of fluther based on my experiences here. Of course their identity, their issues or their progress is strictly confidential.

There are some Jellys whom I would love to invite to my home or to meet in person because I admire and appreciate them for their contributions here.

le_inferno's avatar

I think loneliness is a better correlation for Internet friends than age is.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@le_inferno That, or possibly a craving for human interaction, depending on the site.

YARNLADY's avatar

On Fluther, and a few other Q & A sites, I accept any and every contact, but I hate that the word friend has been misused so. It gives younger internet users the wrong idea.

Ultramarine_Ocean's avatar

I’m not very comfortable saying my age but I’m under 20.
I usually add people that add me. I also add anyone that asks me too! I don’t really care on how big my friend list but I don’t mind having a huge one unless it changes my exprience on the website. I like to think I’m pretty friendly since I won’t (try to) say anything that’ll hurt anyone or any groups.

wundayatta's avatar

What are your privacy settings, @Ultramarine_Ocean?

SavoirFaire's avatar

I am 28 and do not aggressively seek to add people to my Facebook friends list. So far I have only added people I know, and even then only people I actually like and might want to contact. I have rejected plenty of requests from people with whom I went to high school on the grounds that we never liked one another even a little bit. I would consider adding someone with whom I had a purely online relationship, but only if I thought we had reached a sufficient level of closeness.

As far as I can tell, this is not standard behavior for people my age. Many of my friends seem to be what a colleague of mine calls “friend whores.” They want giant lists of friends and think it will have networking potential, but they go to great lengths to filter who gets what information. If you have to filter every post to Facebook, though, it seems you’ve made a mistake somewhere along the way. And if you’re keeping people out of your business, it’s unlikely they’ll be sending any your way. Because for all they can tell, you’re not ever on Facebook in the first place.

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