Thursday, March 26, 2015

My Computer is Over There, but I'd Rather Hang Out

When you look at the outer layers of people you see things like their Facebook statuses, their appearance, perhaps their houses. The under-layers, the significant stuff is not initially visible. It can be easy to make judgments about people based on these accessible overlays. I don't want to admit it, but I have found myself judging harshly and without a lot of thought given to what might be really going on. Not only have I done this, but it has been done to me. In either position, it doesn't feel good.

I can't help but wonder if it is due in part to scrolling. We think we know things about people because we scroll through their lives instead of really breaking the ice. We have hundreds of friends on twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest and yet we don't really know these people. Sometimes? If we see them at the store we might not even say hello. Why is this? I know that I'm not the first person to say this, but how is it that with all this connectivity from all the world we've ceased to really know people, to really have relationships? 

It's like walking through the produce section at the store. We have come to have a certain expectation of what produce is like because everything (for the most part) usually looks so pristine and like it's just been picked when it is actually on the shelf. Never mind that it's probably been sprayed with several different chemicals to give it that shiny look and keep it from ripening early. Yet, we see it and think it looks great! On the flip side, when the fruit has a bruise or a blemish of any kind we toss it back on the heap and say later on, "I'm not so sure about that store.. their produce isn't that great." Have we forgotten that bruises can be removed and things can be salvaged? With a little bit of effort that fruit might just be the sweetest fruit on the shelf. 

Is this how we see people too?

We glance at their statuses and pictures and we say, "Oh that looks nice!" or "Yikes. I'm hiding them." Have we cheapened our relationships because we've learned to scroll in order to feel connected and yet have forgotten how to make a call or get together thereby in fact losing our connection? 

According to researchers at Brigham Young University, having too few friends is the equivalent mortality risk to smoking 15 cigarettes a day and is riskier than obesity.

I don't know a person through their statuses. I know them because I meet them for coffee. 

I don't know a person because I see their pictures. I know them because I'm in the picture with them making memories. 

I don't know a person because I have their contact information. I know them because I make contact with them regularly. 

I truly do believe that real friendships can be forged online. I have done this numerous times. However, I believe that those friendships have stood the test of time because the connection has gone from online conversations to life, to depth, to a realness that cannot be obtained via scrolling. 

Once a week I gather with my lifelong friends to talk, to encourage, to commiserate. Why do we do this? I've known these girls my entire life, yet we get together weekly. Is it necessary? Absolutely, yes. These relationships are important to me and so therefore, I prioritize them. I invest in them. I spend time on them because I want them to continue, to flourish, to bear fruit. 

My husband and I go on dates whenever we can. We need the time together uninterrupted - to talk, to listen, to love deeply, to connect. It's essential to the well-being of our marriage. 

It's too easy to scroll through life and miss the real opportunities at relationships and experiences.


What are the ways that you connect with others? What are the things that you really enjoy doing with others? Perhaps, today you can text someone, call someone, or send them a message asking them to get together.  Just one person. Literally... one person. It could make the difference for them - and you. I know taking the time to get out of the house in this season isn't always easy, it doesn't always feel fun, but afterwards? Well, it's much, much better than scrolling.

Now, who wants to get together for coffee?


2 comments:

  1. Oh I so wish we could get together for coffee! I've connected with such beautiful people through blogging and Facebook and while I love that, I hate that I don't get a real life relationship...though I do try hard to be as real and conversational as possible through the interwebs. ☺ it's amazing how much personal connection is lost these days though. What striking statistics those were about friendships, it is so important! Great post!

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  2. Yes! My husband likes to joke that all today's social media is supposed to make us feel more connected, and yet it doesn't. Like you said, it takes actual quality time to nurture relationships.

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