I do agree with you that relationships today are somewhat more on the shallow end. As someone who has lived both in the US and Europe, I have to say this is more pronounced in the States than in Europe, where people tend to be colder before you know them but as you get to start to know them better they warm up immensely.
Why this difference? There are certainly cultural reasons, such as the greater emphasis on maintaining face in the US, but I do believe the crazy importance of social media to social life in the US is also a reason. So, we can and should ask ourselves how social media is leading to shallower interactions.
As a gay introvert, I didn’t have an easy time growing up. During this time, the internet was my door to the world. I could talk to people like me without feeling insecure. Until recently, I actually found my online friends more approachable than my real life contacts. Today I feel differently about that, but that’s how it was back then.
Anyway, why am I telling you this? The reason is that I personally think the answer to your question, that is why daily relationships today seem more shallow, can be found in my experiences from back then. You see, because of who I am, I always felt excluded from the traditional rituals of the society I lived in. These rituals, things that may seem mundane to us in daily life, actually serve the important purpose of giving us stability - a familiar framework through which interaction takes place. And because these rituals are familiar, we feel safe when we are all part of it. You might see where I’m going. When we feel safe and accepted, we open up in our interactions.
My personal observation has been that we have fewer and fewer of these rituals. And social media is playing a part in that. That is because these kind of rituals require tradition - they need to be practices which have existed for a long time, because only then do they have the validity which makes us comfortable. Social media cannot provide us with that, because the platforms we use are not adjusted to the communities we live in. Because they have to be scale to generate revenue, they can’t accommodate to the customs and traditions of local communities and essentially disrupt them.
Many of the developments in the world today can be traced back to this lack of attention towards local communities - the rise of nationalism, but also the renewed interest in things such as community gardens and local governance.
Essentially, what I’m trying to say is: If we want to have depth in our relationships, we need to reconfigure social media so that it brings local communities closer together while emphasizing shared traditions.