Have you ever had a conversation with a friend, like this? “Hey, how are you? What have you been up to?” “Hi! I am good. I actually went to a great concert last week.” “Oh yeah, the Cher concert right?” (Because Cher would be crazy.) Then you stop and think, because you cannot figure out how your friend knew about the concert. Then you realize, “Oh, I posted a picture at the concert on my social media…and a whole review of the night…and the funny thing I saw on the way home.” Leaving nothing really to share, except maybe the load of laundry you had to do three times because you could never get it in the dryer.
This demonstrates another little issue with social media I have begun to notice. For me, it was affecting the way I made and developed friendships. My friend and I have begun a Facebook Live “show” and the first topic people want us to talk about is how to make real, meaningful friendships. As I think about what we will talk about, I cannot help but think about how social media has changed things. As I stated in my post yesterday, Oh Social Media…Part One, I do enjoy social media and see many benefits. However, I am learning to be a bit more intentional in the way I use it.
Over the last few years, I feel like we have redefined friendship. If we look at someone’s feed every day, like their posts and comment a time or two, especially if it is a bantering comment, we feel like we are friends. I was content with this for some time. However, I noticed with all these “friends,” I began to feel lonely. I would actually get in a room with one of these people and we would act like we had really connected, but there was something missing. They knew everything that was going on with me, knew all about my kids, and I the same with them, but still, there was a shallowness of connection. We never had dinner together, never sat in each other’s living rooms and talked for hours, we were not really developing a friendship.
The other thing I noticed, was when with a friend or family member, there was sometimes a lack of things to talk about…because we had seen everything on social media already. We were missing that, “Catch me up on your life, and let me tell you a good story” conversation. So, I decided in September of 2017, two things. First, to stop posting every single thing about my life on social media. I did this partly to begin to separate my “friends” from my friends. I knew, my friends, would make an effort to ask about my life, my kids, etc., and I wanted something to talk about when they did. Second, I really started praying about friendships and diving in with the people God put in front of me…and WOW! What a difference!
Please hear me, I am not condemning or judging how you use social media. I know not everyone uses it the same way I did or do. I am simply sharing something God is doing to help me have, and be a better friend. Look at this description of friendship from the book of Job. If you have read the story of Job, you know he was experiencing some terrible losses. This is what Job 2:11 tells us, “When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.”
Because of the decisions I talked about above, God has blessed me with some incredible friends. In fact, last week, I was feeling a little sad. Two of my friends stopped everything, took me out for pie so they could, “sympathize” and “comfort” me. That is the kind of friend I want to be.
Lastly, in my post Summer Reading I talked about a book by Bob Goff. In the first few chapters of that book, Bob talks about the relationship he made with his neighbor. It was not a wave into the garage kind of relationship…it was a friendship like we see in Job. It was a friendship like I experienced last week. Posts and likes and comments, will never measure up to true, meaningful friendships…that was something I had to learn.
If you are feeling lonely, I urge you to start with Jesus. He wants a relationship with you. If you would like to start that relationship or just want prayer, please send me an email.
As always, thank you for reading, I would love to hear your thoughts on friendships, social media, neighbors, anything! Please comment below. If you have not yet followed my blog, please do so through the link on my page, and find me on Pinterest. Finally, please share my post to help jumpstart my blog!