When did "friendship" get so complicated?

Just kidding.

Friendship has never been complicated. Not true friendship. Sure, fights happen and disagreements arise, but at the heart of it all there is a mutual respect and love. There's this grand dance of not only speaking and listening, but of truly hearing and understanding one another. So, most hurts are forgiven and compromise comes quickly and relationships grow stronger as a result.

Friendship is beautiful.

Enter social media.

Which mucks it all up.

Do you remember when becoming someone's "friend" actually required something of you...like time, space, effort? I do. I still do.

I'm kind of anti-Facebook. Passively anti-facebook.  I certainly have to use it as a means to an end.

I've been nomadic my entire life - so, it's a great way to keep up with dear, old, friends. Many of the groups that I am involved in communicate via Facebook...so, I've just kind of trudged along. But I've always disliked it. It makes things convenient for sure, but not easy.

It all seems like a good Mumford and Sons song, too much too quick.

If you can look past the fact that I have been blogging about my life for some time now or that once you meet me, I seem very outgoing - I'm a pretty private person. I don't want most people knowing my business and I don't need to know yours. In my writing, I use parts if my life to illustrate larger points...not just to prattle on about my life. I prefer relationships cultivated over long cups of coffee and shared experiences...not so much over shared links and news articles.

So, sometimes, I'm a bit of a bipolar facebook person. I'll accept friend requests willy-nilly, but then when my home screen fills up with pictures and stories and comments of people that I don't KNOW in real life...I go through and "unfriend." For one, I feel weird looking at all those personal stories...and I should. It's unhealthy to LIKE staring into the life of someone you don't know. It's voyeurism (at best) and stalking (at worst).

And the Truth? I also don't like everyone getting more than a glimpse into my life.

Call me old-fashioned, but I fear that most of us have lost a sense of what it means to be a friend. The definition of friend in my book is not: we met once, you looked cool, let's share all our intimate life details on a semi-public forum.

I fear for daughters. My three-year-old says that everyone is her friend and I'm a bit of a debbie-downer when I respond, "Well, honey, you don't really even KNOW them." This happens on a regular basis and other moms just share at me in shock.

Do I want my daughter to be kind to everyone? To be loving? Absolutely. Do I want my daughter thinking EVERYONE is her friend. No.

She needs to be able to trust her friends. She needs to be able to recognize friend from foe or mere acquaintance. She needs to be able to protect her space, her boundaries, and her heart...and her privacy. When did acquaintance become a bad thing? Since when have we felt the need to be best friends it everyone? Is living online really worth it all?

I've had a couple of times where a few great folks have pointed out my unfriending them or that I have never responded to a friend request. I've had to take the hard road and be honest that I'd love to get to know them in real life, but that it feels really weird forming a relationship online. 

Facebook re-shaping our entire view and concept of friendship will do and has done its damage...and I'm afraid that I might just take a step back. I really don't want friends who let friendship be defined by the hot-right-now social media site.

So, if your my friend on Facebook, HUZZAH. At some point, we walked closely through life together. If you're not. I'm sorry. We are acquaintances...and I would be more than happy to share a cup of coffee with you.

So, what do you think about Facebook redefining friendship?


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