In a culture of text messages, cell phones, Skype and Facebook, true face-to-face time with an actual human is becoming more rare. I wouldn’t say it’s quite obsolete yet, but we’re well on our way. Why carve out two hours to meet a friend for coffee when you can get your questions answered with a text or quick phone call? Why go to the grocery store when you can have them delivered?
Over the last two weeks I’ve been reading Better Together, Robert D. Putnam’s follow up book to his revealing Bowling Alone. Whereas Bowling Alone examined the collapse of American community since the late 1960’s, Better Together takes a more positive approach, unearthing stories of people and organizations who have succeeded in building meaningful connections within their community.
During his research, Putnam discovered one powerful key to deepening connection: Face time.
Although our culture is connected as never before, it seems text messages and Facebook conversations aren’t sustaining our community roots. Each may be a useful tool, but they can’t replace good old fashioned time together.
Something happens when we come together. Just this morning I met a good friend for some face time. We both had a bunch of work to do. From a practical standpoint, I had no business leaving my home and to-do list to meet a friend for a short time. I just returned from a long week of traveling late last night. I leave again Thursday. Physically, emotionally, and mentally I’m exhausted. And I still have a list of things to tackle before I leave my family again.
Face time with a dear friend turned out to be exactly what I needed. Like recharging my cell phone battery, time with her fueled my spirit. For 30 minutes, we talked — face to face — about our weekend, the ways God spoke to us over the past several days, and how much we appreciated the presence of each other. THIRTY MINUTES. Shorter than a massage or pedicure, and I still feel like a new woman.
Want deeper relationships? Need to infuse your soul? Try a little face time with the right friend. Some friends drain, but other inspire. Seek out the inspiring kind and make an appointment for a little face time.
“…Love one another deeply, from the heart.” 1 Peter 1:22
How much face time do you spend with your important relationships?