Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The cost of friendship.

"Fifty years ago, the average person had three or more close friends and family members in which to confide. Today, that average has dropped to somewhere between two and one. The world-within-a-world of social networking has its benefits, but it’s also continually drawing us further into an “invent your own fantasy” identity and away from face-to-face relationships. This year, the average American will spend more time with their computer than with their spouse. As a study in the March 2009 International Business News so aptly put it, “Facebook, Twitter users among the loneliest in America.

It’s easy to see why escaping to the social networking world is so inviting. On Facebook, you can hide behind a persona, be any version of yourself you can dream up. Online friends don’t borrow money and not pay it back, gossip or spill Gatorade in your car. They don’t show up at your house after just getting dumped and stay until 2 a.m. when you have to be at work in the morning. Online “friendships” are always efficient.

True friendship demands vulnerability. It requires that you rearrange your schedule, and intentionally plan time to spend with other people with no agenda. It demands choice, as sociologists agree that it’s only possible to have eight to 12 “real” friends, and attempting to manage more relationships than that only ends in a series of casual acquaintances."

You can read more from this Relevant article here.

I think this article brings up some very true points. It is so easy to allow people to see many facets of our lives via social networking. People know what I have been eating, doing for fun, where I have been traveling and more from what I openly display on the web. We seem to be in touch so there is little need for more contact outside of that, right? It can seem that way. It is convenient but lacks a true sense of vulnerability, emotion and depth. Then we find ourselves (or at least myself) wondering why we lack significant relationships. We have replaced genuine communication with stagnant texting, internet chatting and through the grape vine knowledge. There is a loss of face to face conflict resolution, story telling and life sharing. Marriages are torn apart because communication is a lost art. Underneath it all maybe we are avoiding pain, truth and being real. Don't get me wrong, I love the internet and technology. It has many pluses but there are always cons.

I could keep going but I won't. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Do you think communication has changed? For the better or worse?
How are you affected by social networking?

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