Media offers girl unrealistic images of friendships

Friendships in the media are portrayed as being flawless and perfect, leaving girls to feel insecure in their own relationships.


by Lily Manning, News Editor

Every day we check our social media accounts and come across pictures, videos and comments of celebrities and their “perfect” friendships. The portrayal of these friendships in social media and plastered across magazines and tabloids offer a very narrow perspective on the complexity of friendship.

As we grow up, the dynamics of our friendships change. Some of our friendships have lasted our whole lives, others have fallen apart at little disagreements. We know that there is no such thing as perfect friendships, where two people constantly get along and don’t fight over stupid things like what to do Friday night. Yet, because of media constantly throwing these seemingly perfect friendships in our faces, we begin to feel insecure about our friendships and start to wonder why our relationships aren’t as perfect as the media makes us feel like they should be. Social media and print media has a negative impact on our relationships with each other, making us feel more constricted to our specific friend group and form cliques rather than friendships.

In today’s culture, we constantly hear the phrase “friend group”. This implies that everyone has a specific group of people that they must hang out with, and therefore it’s a scandal when they venture outside of it and hang out with someone new. Personally, I hate this. I hate being asked who’s in my group, I hate feeling like this determines who I am, and I hate feeling like it’s newsworthy whenever someone hangs out with someone that isn’t labelled in their group.

Even inside the determined friend group, hanging out with other people can have detrimental effects. Feelings get hurt as members of the clique start to wonder “How come I wasn’t invited? Does she hate me now?”

This stigma also has a negative impact on younger girls. They grow up with this idea of cliques ingrained in their mind, which increases the possibility of catty and exclusive behavior. As they grow up, the idea that they can only hang out and form a relationship with a select few causes them to make phony friendships formed by an unspoken social contract. Then they are locked into a strict friend group and forced to follow implied social rules.

We hear it a lot, but it is an important message – people need to work together and not against each other. We can’t do this if we are forced into unhappy friendships where it is taboo to form relationships with anyone outside of our designated group. The proper way to do this is form the right relationships with anyone you’d like – whether it socially acceptable or not. Instead of complying with the strict social standards, it’s important for us to venture outside our groups, invite someone you don’t always hang out with, and stop the gossip. Let’s embrace more fluid friend “groups” and make it the new norm.