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Andy:
from "Ya Gotta Have (Real) Friends," by Tony Woodlief, WSJ.com, 12 June 2009

We assemble relationships because we need them, but many of us—particularly men—shrink from intimacy, generating the modern dilemma of dense social networks afflicted with loneliness. Allan Bloom indicates this in “Love and Friendship”: “Isolation, a sense of lack of profound contact with other human beings, seems to be the disease of our time.” He decried the word “relationship” as “pallid” and “pseudoscientific,” itself an obstacle to genuine intimacy.

My 298 Facebook friends aren’t the ones who remember our dead daughter’s birthday or leave flowers at her grave. Nor among them is the pastor who baptized each of our children and waged a personal holy war to keep our marriage from crumbling years ago. We have these deeper friendships because we’ve tried to build a life in one place. They sprang up because the stuff of life happened to this cluster of us living near one another, and much of it was too joyous or heartbreaking not to share with someone. If friendship is the key to happiness, then maybe this is the key to friendship, to be enmeshed—not just tangentially or voyeuristically, but physically—in the lives of others.