We’re more connected now than ever before. Cell phones, the Internet, instant messaging, Facebook, app downloads, Skype … with the click of a button we can connect with another human being, regardless of geography, in no time.
In fact, a teen texter from Toronto headed to New York a little over a week ago to compete for the world texting title, the grand prize being $100K. Connecting via an average 12,000 texts per month has its advantages.
Sitting at my desk I usually have six browsers open, FB, Twitter and my cell phone a foot away. We’re connected all right. Or are we?
Over the past two weeks I’ve enjoyed an ongoing Facebook conversation with a good friend on this very subject. With her permission, this is an excerpt of one of her messages:
I think less and less people seek out close relationships. This has been more painfully obvious to me throughout our moves from state to state. And for people like me who seem to be programmed to crave that, honestly, it really sucks! It has caused me to wonder if its a generational thing, or a geographical thing… or just a me thing.
I don’t think this is unique to just her. The most recent research claims at least 25% of people have absolutely no one in whom they can confide. NO ONE. And this number continues to rise. I’d be shocked except I’ve heard similar frustrations expressed by multiple people.
Would you like to take a stab at her question? Is is this difficulty connecting a generational thing, geographical thing, or not a thing at all???
(photo courtesy of p0psicle, stock.xchng)
When I moved from So Cal to Denver, I noticed a difference in the people. In CO, when I asked people over for dinner, they most often said they were busy. When people did come over, they rarely reciprocated and asked us over. It felt so weird. In CA, I rarely had that problem.
That said, once I joined my writers’ group, I am not void of friendships. I have found people who are like me, and I think that has made a huge difference.
I think it’s a “busy” thing. I don’t believe we’ve stopped craving close relationships, I think we’re too tired to pursue them—because we’re so stinkin’ busy. It takes far less energy to tweet a hello or email a note than to actually slow down and invest in a cup of coffee and an hour with a good friend. We end up starving our connecting souls. I count myself blessed to have a couple of friends with whom I can feast, but alas, the busyness of life leaves even my soul hungry and craving more.
Wow, you touched a bit of a raw nerve here Michele. I have to agree with Denise in her assesment of people in Denver. In all the states we’ve lived in Denver was the hardest to make friends with. We found it interesting that our neighbors were more available to spend time with us than people from church. However, I don’t think this problem is unique to Denver only. Teens “date” and “break-up” vie text without ever having a face to face conversation!
With more and more people out of work, it will be interesting to see if that makes them more available for friends..
Hmmm…I have many thoughts on this. I love how Twitter, Facebook, and Blogging can connect people I may have never “met” otherwise. I have several women I actually met through these mediums, one of whom has become a dear, real-life friend. Plus a few others that have become dear to me online and that I would so love to meet because I have a feeling we would hit it off immediately.
BUT, through my social networking fast, I have really remembered the importance of being an active participant in the community of friends around me. I missed out on so much by having my nose buried in my computer or my phone all the time. The connectedness is not a bad thing necessarily. I just believe healthy boundaries need to be set.
I believe I have greater ability to impact someone face to face than through the words I tweet. And honestly, I want to be available to God to be His hands and feet in the world. I want to make an impact in the lives of those around me. I want them to know they can count on me. I’m determined to cut back my “connectedness”, so that I can be more effective.
Love the post, Michele! Missed talking to you!
Denise, you’ll find this ironic … the friend I quoted lives in Cali. 🙂 She is definitely having a different experience than you had. Makes me wonder if it’s a combination of geography (there is data that shows some states having more “social capital” than others, believe it or not) and the particular circles with whom we connect. Almost like there are pockets of relational people and pockets of non-relational people. If you get stuck in the wrong pocket, MAJOR BUMMER.
Chrystie, I’ve missed talking to you, too. 🙂 And I agree with you … I’ve at times allowed my internet connections to interrupt my intentionality with face-to-face connections. I love my twitter/fb friends, but I can’t allow the internet to eclipse what is right in front of me.