One of my favorite complaints about fraternity life is when people inform me that I am just buying my friends.
I can tell you for a fact that I am too cheap to waste my money on buying friends when I can get some perfectly awesome ones for free. Therefore, let me dispel this rumor and explain why it holds true in some cases.
1) If your fraternity is based on social fit and solidarity, you are really just a part of a gang. This mentality leads to practices such as hazing, whether mental, physical, or emotional. In this case, you are paying to be abused…
2) If your fraternity is based on some form of shared social experience (i.e. alcohol) then you are really just paying to be part of a party. You are paying to be part of a social club…
3) If your fraternity is based on belonging, or that home away from home feel, you are really just with a group of close friends. You have done nothing more than actually paid for your friends.
These first three are stumbling blocks that members tend to face when offering their ideals of brotherhood to potential members. If any of these represent your organization, than perhaps you are in fact buying friends (or worse in the first case). As such, I propose we “sell” more. People like to get a return on their money, and with this final approach, we can give them that.
4) If your fraternity is based on accountability, then you are an organization focused on making better men. You want to change the world. While you may not always agree with other brothers, you always hold one another accountable to your values and principles. You support one another as friends through the hard times and have fun at the social things. You build brotherhood without the use of hazing and feel that you have a greater meaning than to merely be a social club.
Brotherhood is different than friendship, or it should be. Fraternity is not merely buying friends. When put into practice, it is about building men, women, or those who do not identify with either. It is about standing on principles and supporting one another to make a change.
Just as each organization was founded on something grand (read up on the history of a few of these and you will find some incredible stories), it is time that we as members, potential members, advisors, and supporters call for these organizations that call themselves Greek to once again become fraternities and sororities.
Make fraternities different than just “buying friends”