April 29, 2019
Online, I have a few thousand followers/”friends.” My photos receive hundreds of likes, people read my blog, and check in on my stories. At least once a week, someone in real life will mention they follow me on social media or say they saw something I just posted. I’m not saying this to brag, I’m telling you this to call out something I think has been lacking in our lives lately. Real human connection and friendship. Yes, I have followers and “friends” but yet I still feel lonely sometimes. Why?
Because our friendships are living on social media.
Don’t get me wrong, I love social media. I think starting friendships from it is great. I cannot tell you how many wonderful people I’ve met. Social media allows you to connect with people all over the world. I love it because it allows me to check in with friends that don’t live in the same state as me. But what I’m noticing more and more is that friendships begin and END on social media. There is little interaction outside of our online world.
We’re using social media as our cop-out. We’re choosing to not show up in the lives of the people who are the most important to us. Instead of bringing our friend a birthday card, we’ll just write a post on their feed. We won’t come to a friend’s birthday party or bridal shower because we’re just too tired and no one will miss us anyway. We say things like “She’ll understand if I’m not there” or “I’ll try and make the next one.” A comment or a DM becomes our only way to communicate with our friends.
Yes, that’s why social media was invented. It allows us to connect with so many people. It’s so easy to use, we barely have to think about it. But is that what our friendships have come to? Barely thinking about showing up for the people we care about? I’m so guilty of this too. We are all so busy with our own lives, that if we just post something real quick or tag them in a past memory or funny meme, our friends will know we are thinking about them. That’s great, there’s nothing wrong with interacting with people on social media. What’s happening is that we’re NOT doing anything else.
Maybe I’m old school and just want to meet up with friends once and a while to chat and see how life is going. I thrive off genuine conversations and interactions. Maybe this is the way of the future. But I can’t help but feel like we’re missing out then. I feel like we could be doing more to show the people we love and care about that they mean more to us. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, here’s a few ideas on how we can show up more:
• Instead of posting on someone’s feed for their birthday, surprise them with flowers or a nice card!
• Visit a friend’s small business instead of just liking their post on Facebook. Bonus points if you purchase something. :)
• Schedule a coffee date with an old friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Really listen when they tell you all they’ve been up to.
• Plan a fun get together for you and your girls! Whether it’s a board and brush class, a floral workshop, or just a movie night; take the initiative to plan an activity.
• Call or text five people you care about and tell them. Don’t wait or even worse, never share what they mean to you.
• Show up to your friend’s party, art opening, open house, etc. I know it’s been a long week and I know this is your only free day and you don’t want to spend all your time there but it would mean the WORLD to them. They shared their heart, the least you can do is support them by showing up for a little bit.
• Set up a playdate with your friends and their children and don’t cancel! We all love cancelling plans, I know! It’s easy to back out of things but try and follow through. You’ll be glad you did.
• Celebrate the big moments in your friend’s lives. Show up, ask how you can help, be a source of support. Everyone assumes someone else will do it. Step up and be the person who takes charge.
Why is this so important to do? Because this is our ONLY life to live, what happens when our friends are no longer with us? What happens when they’re gone? Are we going to wish we talked to them or saw them more? Let’s not wait until it’s too late. Let’s start celebrating the people we have in our lives now!
I know we are all busy people. I know this is the last thing on our minds. We aren’t bad people, we aren’t doing these things on purpose. But I think we can all try a little harder to spread a little more love in this world. Why not start with the people we call our friends? It’s something I plan on working on this year. This doesn’t have to be big changes. You can do a little each week or month. It’s really up to you. But for me, I want to really, truly show up for people I love. I think it would be awesome if you did that too.
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