Where have all the real friends gone?
I miss the days of real face-to-face friendship, before Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram took over our social lives. What happened to showing up at a friend’s house to see if they wanted to hang out? What happened to chatting with someone without worrying about what time it is or notifications beeping from our cell phones?
When did we allow ourselves to become so busy that we’re too busy for friends, but we can get lost in social media, YouTube videos, and Netflix? When did we forget the importance of making time for what really matters in life, like relationships, family, and genuinely connecting with others? My much younger siblings would probably just say I’m getting old.
Hmmm…Growing up. Getting old. Too busy. What terrible excuses those are for no longer spending time with other people.
Growing up, getting married, and having kids shouldn’t be excuses for not having friends. We don’t stop needing friendships, ever. We’re not created to be alone all the time.
We still crave community. We’re just seeking it the wrong way now. We’ve become too comfortable with clicking “like” instead of talking to each other. Commenting on one photo is not equivalent to catching up with a friend. It doesn’t compare to sipping a coffee and chatting or meeting at the park with your kids.
We’ve gone into hiding because of social media. We’ve built a wall between our posts and our real lives. That filtered photo with makeup just right translates into us not wanting to be seen at home without makeup. How dare we allow friends to see what we look like anymore?
The sweet sleeping children photo becomes a mom turning down a visit from a friend because she can’t possibly let them see the day-to-day truth of the messy house and kids running wild. One might think she doesn’t have it all together or that she’s not a perfect mom. Oh my!
I don’t care if you have makeup on or your house isn’t spotless. I’m not wearing any makeup right now, and no matter how often I clean, my house is never spotless. So friends, come on over! This is me. The real me. And I’d like to get to know the real you again.
Stop worrying so much about looking perfect. Don’t worry about what the house, the kids, and the husband look like. Just start reconnecting with other people again.
At the risk of sounding old again, call a friend.
Wait…what? You want me to phone a friend? Isn’t that a life line in some former game show?
We may have forgotten, but let me refresh your memory. That tiny computer your holding in your hands can still make and receive phone calls. You know, that magical ability to hear someone’s voice from far away?
Ok, sorry. That’s a bit heavy on the sarcasm.
Seriously though. We should give that a try again instead of letting the last of the telemarketers and the scammers make up the majority of our incoming calls.
But what about texting? It’s easier. It’s more convenient. Um, yes and no. It’s easier for the person who doesn’t feel like answering someone right now or the person who likes to have time to think of a good excuse to why they can’t do something. So, texts are another avenue for laziness, excuses, and even misunderstandings because we can’t type 100% the way we talk. The tone of our voice and little ums and hmms make a difference.
So, call a friend if you’re brave enough, or text if you must. Just make a move to reconnect. Make plans. Show up. Stop worrying.
There are things to do, even if some activities now seem uncool or outdated. Invite others over for dinner. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Cook out. Order in. It’s about the company more than the food. Play board games. Adults don’t have to stop playing games.
Do something simple. Go for a walk with a friend. Go for a drive. Take the kids to the park. Oh, and don’t forget that your friends who don’t have kids still exist too. We often get neglected once everyone around us becomes parents. We still need friends.
Those who work on making time for meaningful relationships with friends and family are happier people. Once our basic needs are met, happiness increases more based on our experiences with others than just having more things or more money.
Let’s stop focusing on likes, comments, and emoji and return to conversations, laughter, and hugs. Let’s be real friends again.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24
Be a real friend!