Globally we are known for our friendliness, both within our own borders and beyond.
Some, including in America itself, find that trait annoying. But there has been a taboo for any Americans to admit in public that they weren't people who love other people.
That was then.
Now, it's becoming acceptable to question openly the value of having other people in one's life. Slowly but surely we could be moving toward an ethos of discussing friendship in terms of ROI - that is, return on investment.
Currently, investing in friendship doesn't seem all that promising. Perhaps that's because we are preoccupied with employment insecurity and stagnant wages. Just making ends meet has become difficult. It could also be because we are exhausted by interacting in social media.
Signs of this declining value of friendship seem to be emerging everywhere.
On Facebook, for example, a corporate ghostwriter, who usually jokes around, lamented how badly he felt. A friend had betrayed him.
The comments which came in were revealing. One asked: Why are you still depending on people?
Mine was that he should consider getting a dog. My four-legged son was the only live creature who cared about me when my leg went from under me. Until I could resume walking, he laid on my stomach, staring into my eyes with compassion.
Of course, most of us couldn't get by without the one or two human beings who are close friends. That's a given.
My three BFFs back in Connecticut and I have been propping each other up since the turn of the century. The issues are usually related to fear of running out of money as we age.
But, overall, the road more traveled could be to duck opportunities to become part of others' lives, beyond those few intimate relationships.
Essentially, I have taken down the "welcome sign."
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