Social networking is what they say is one of the purposes of Facebook. So when I veeerrryyy reluctantly joined, it was only as a ‘keeping in touch’ tool with a group of new friends from different places in Europe & the US… & only because Facebook was the chosen medium to do so.
What does that MEAN, social networking? I labor over that. Does it involve meaningful connections, virtually created, ala internet, using the fact that I ‘know’ someone for something that profits me, or merely a panacea that only serves to assuage the burning human need for real connections…?
Ok, I kind of get it – it helps us keep in touch with people we knew in high school &/or have interacted with over the years of life… BUT, for me, being friends is something I take seriously – it means something significant to me, more than a ‘social networking contract,’ something that can be put down as easy as clicking a mouse.
For example, I take time & really contemplate before ‘accepting’ a friend request… thinking, “Am I this person’s friend in real life? Would I/have I hung with them, drank a cup of joe, & shot the breeze? Shared deep thoughts? Pondered the complexities of life?” And depending on the answer to that internal debate, I have clicked CONFIRM. Or IGNORE.
There’ve been times where I overrode my gut & CONFIRMED when I think to be true to me & to not gloss over the reality of my relationship (or lack thereof) would have totally been to IGNORE. And then what? Fake it? Be ‘nice’ & carry on with surface level pleasantries once every blue moon, all the while ignoring the reality that if I saw my ‘friend’ in a store, I don’t think we’d interact. Perhaps that’s too mercenary, too serious, or just melodramatic – be that as it may, it’s led to a renewed contemplation of friendship & what makes it special…
BTW: I’m not going to rehash my BOUNDARIES posts here, though I may allude to them… –as I think they are really applicable to this topic (& any other that deals with relationships & interpersonal interactions.) Just know that the Cloud & Townsend info is a big part of the background of my thought processes.
And so it begins… I thought that my outlining would help my writing not be rambling & all over the place, but it turns out that rambling may be in the eye of the beholder. No matter – I’m going to lay out my friendship ‘givens’ – signs of a good friendship. Warning signs of a bad one. Assessing motivation in developing relationships. Looking to get from God what can only be gotten from God. And maybe some other stuff.
Coming up next: Signs, signs, everywhere the signs…