Sunday, August 7, 2011

Friends or Frenemies?

In considering the effects of social media on friendships, my first thoughts are immediately positive. Some of my dearest friends from college and my childhood church are scattered all around the country - and a few have gone into missions and wandered even further afield! Email and Skype are excellent ways for us to stay in touch and I love how technology has brought us closer together.

There are friends from college who have been great sources of encouragement to me and I'm not sure that I would have continued to make the effort to travel across multiple states to meet up with them quite so often were it not for all of our online contact between visits. One of my closest friends has followed her husband through multiple job transfers all over the United States and I've noticed that those of us who stay in touch with her via our little email loop are the ones who still remain in touch offline as well.

Another aspect of social media I'm coming to love are blogs. I lurked for years, too shy to set up my own blog. However, now that I've dipped a toe into the online world, I'm starting to really enjoy the interactive aspect of blogging as I get to know some of the wonderful women out there whose blogs I admire. And I hope that someday I'll even get to meet some of these great people offline as well!

However, as with most other arenas, social media has a flipside when it comes to friendships. I've known friends to have terrible disagreements and hurt feelings over things said on email where it's impossible to take cues from tone of voice, body language, etc... And worse yet, there are times when social media contributes to jealousy among friends, hurting and poisoning those relationships.

Sometimes the face we put forward to the world online shows more of the rosier side of life and I know that at particularly hard times, this has made me struggle with jealousy. It can be difficult in weak moments not to blow right past that 10th commandment and start comparing one's life to others with a feeling of dissatisfaction. After all, so much of the online world looks like yummy meals, beautiful large homes and adorable children. Then again, who would really want to read about and see pictures of that desiccated chicken I burned the other night or the fact that I still have unsorted laundry sitting on my couch?

Because of this, I try always to pray before I comment on someone else's site or post on my own. I don't want to cause others to stumble, and I don't want to fall prey to sin myself and say things out of my own failings that hurt others. After all, I would rather build friendships and grow in faith than play the comparison game.

6 comments:

  1. That is one thing I have really committed to prayer...my blog. I want to glorify God in everything I write and bless it if He wants to bless it. It is such a comfort to give everything to Him.

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  2. That is a great idea to pray before you get online! So often we compare ourselves to others and the whole "I wish I had..." phrase appears in our thought closet. Great post! :)

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  3. Wonderful encouragement for today's bloggers! We do need to be sensitive to others, not cause them to stumble or create bad feelings. Prayer before all is the best solution!

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  4. Wonderful post, and wonderful advice. Praying before reading and commenting - why did't I think of that?! :) My post today is similar in nature - please feel free to hop over and read. I would love to hear what you think. ~Denise

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  5. This is a very thoughtful blog and thank you for reminding us of being careful when responding to blogs. It is so important to remember other people's feelings when writing a comment, comments can be hurtful and destructive.

    Have a lovely week:)

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  6. WONDERFUL POST!! I NEVER THOUGHT OF THAT. I'VE BEEN GUILTY OF THIS. SOMETIMES I WANT TO MAKE POSTS BETTER BECAUSE I THINK ANOTHER PERSON HAS A "BETTER" LIFE, ETC. SO SAD. ALSO, LONG DISTANCE FRIENDSHIPS ARE HARD BECAUSE IF THINGS DONT WORK OUT, YOU HAVE TO SAY STUFF ONLINE OR ON THE PHONE WHICH IS NOT THE SAME AS IN PERSON.

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