The Importance of Friendship in a Digital World
Which is the more likely scenario for you today: To have a lunch date with a close friend, or to be perusing your Facebook page or Instagram feed to see what your “friends” are up to? If you’re like me, your answer is likely the latter. This is not because I’m short on true friendships…it is solely because the latter is the much easier option for a busy person like me. Sad, but true! When you really stop to think about it though, what is a friend and why is it important to nurture true friendship rather than devoting so much time to our “digital friendships?” Just for fun, let’s check the definition according to Dictionary.com:
As a noun, Dictionary.com defines friend as “a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.” or “a person associated with another as a contact on a social-networking website: We've never met, but we're Facebook friends.”1 So, how do these “friendships” make us feel, and which “friendships” do we nurture more?
Social Media – Take A Fresh Perspective
Social media plays an important role in in society today, and has a direct impact on how we feel on a daily basis. There are lots of components to this and in the end, you (and only you) are in control of the way you react to your newsfeed. We have all seen our Facebook friends having fun at a party we weren’t invited to, enjoying fantastic vacations, and maintaining that perfect loving relationship with their partners and families. Rather than letting these examples bring about feelings of inadequacy or jealousy, try to think about them from a different perspective:
· Not everyone can be invited to every party. Maybe I should invite a few friends over.
· Now, that looks like a fun vacation destination, maybe I should put that on my dream list!
· Maybe my partner and I should sneak out for a quick date night!
Couple this different perspective with the realization that social media is a place to share the good things in life, and you can maintain a realistic view of your newsfeed:
· Most people share their vacations, not their piles of laundry and disheveled family rooms.
· Most people share their romantic dinners, not their arguments over finances.
· Most people share their parties, not their Saturday night spent at home in slippers.
Many of us, myself included, spend too much time maintaining our digital footprint, carefully curating details we share about our lives. Maybe it’s best if we spend less time maintaining our online image so we have more time to focus on nurturing our true friendships.
True Friendship – Why We Need It
True friendships are real, born from mutual respect and admiration…they are intimate, not shallow, and they make us feel loved. Your best friends are what your “Facebook Friends” can never be:
· They laugh with you and they cry with you
· They are your sounding board
· They are your confidant, and can be trusted with your secrets
· They are there for you, to help you when the going gets tough
· They are there for you when you need someone to listen
· They have good advice when you need it
· They believe in you, and you believe in them
· They give real hugs, not cyber hugs
True friendship is reciprocal and cannot be replaced, no matter how many “likes” you get! When is the last time a “cyber hugs” comment on your newsfeed warmed you like the arms of your BFF when you really needed it?
It’s something to think about…if you can couple this fresh perspective of social media with a renewed effort to nurture your true friendships, you’ll end up a much happier person in the end. What efforts have you made lately to nurture your true friendships?