social media’s effects on friendship

Yesterday, with a “fear of missing out” (“fomo”), I decided to resurrect my Instagram. As I add more of my contacts as friends, I already feel my heart rate rising and my breathing getting faster. I wonder: What? This is supposed to be an enjoyable moment!

I quickly realize that truly, I have not been missing out from connection with others due to a lack of social media presence. I realize that I have enough of that already (on Facebook!) and that I am merely opening up another means of surface-level sharing with the world. Yet deep down, I know that it is deep-level sharing for which my heart keeps longing! Oh, the irony.

My husband never goes on social media to socialize. He’s a “lurker” who likes to casually see others’ posts and content of interest. In my reflecting upon my own relationship interactions, I’ve come to realize that many of my best friends tend also to be lurkers or just casual users who update accounts very seldomly. Interesting coincidence.

It also seems that (in general), the less that I interact with someone on social media, the closer I am to him/her in “real life.” Perhaps it is because I text and call and Skype with these people instead. Better yet, I hang out with them, in person, one-on-one, in a vulnerable and private way– rather than a way in which all is exposed, a.k.a. social media.

My heart yearns for friends with whom I can waste time together. My heart yearns for friends with whom I will plan to spend time together in intentional, meaningful, and purposeful ways! And isn’t that what– I mean, isn’t that who— we want in our life? Not just contacts or “friends,” but real friends?

May we (attn: millenials) revel in our closest friends and re-learn how to make and to cultivate genuine friendships in this ever “updating” world of social media.

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