Home > relationships > beyond facebook… does facebook create loneliness?

beyond facebook… does facebook create loneliness?

I love facebook.  I’m able to connect with friends who live far away and feel like I live right next door.  I’ve been able to meet up with friends way back even from elementary school!   I can post photo’s of my kids and friends, no matter where they are,  can watch them grow up.   I can daily check in with all my buddies, see how their day is going based on their status, and follow up accordingly.  And what an amazing friend I am now thanks to facebook reminding me who’s birthday it is today!  Facebook has become my main source of communication.   From a friend I have in Australia to my neighbour right across the street.   Not to mention, the networking potential now seems unlimited!

 

Some have called it “crack-book” – some mock what a time waster it is.  Moms call it a “life-saver” (isn’t that right fellow momma’s?!).  Its a connection to the outside world when it snows and you’re shut in.   It’s a way to feel a part of people’s lives when life is just too busy to be able to have a visit or even a decent phone call.  It’s a way to touch base quickly when you want to be available but just can’t be at the moment.

 

But there’s a problem with facebook…. its on the computer.  I don’t know about your computer, but mine’s temperamental.  His name is Mac.  Sometimes Mac gives me a lot of stimulation of incoming messages, comments on my status, a new friend request…. but other times Mac isn’t very interesting at all!  He gives me nothing AND keeps me coming back to him every 10 minutes hoping he’s got something for me.    God forbid if he ever decides to get sick.   He’d stop all lines of communication for me and honestly…. what would I possibly do then??

 

When Mac convinced me to join facebook I became a hard-core user fast!  (sounds like I need rehab!) I quickly connected with all sorts of people which fed my need for friendship.  I had just moved to Calgary and I loved how it kept me connected to my Vancouver family, yet also allowed me to get to know people here in Calgary who I was meeting.  However after using facebook for awhile I noticed I was feeling quite….. lonely.  Even though I was connecting digitally with a lot of people each day, loneliness was like a wave that had crashed over me.    Why was I feeling this when I was in contact with numerous people?  My friends list would never give the impression that I should be lonely.

 

I’ve found that Mac is deceitful.   He likes to team up with facebook to show me all the fun everyone is having.  He shows me pictures of people and the amazing places they’ve gone and the cool parties they went to.   At first I enjoy being able to see all the cool things people do but then I start to think about how dull my life is compared to theirs.

 

When Mac’s feeling really slanderous, he’ll even show me conversations my friends have had with each other on their walls.  Conversations of outings they went on…. without me.   Parties they had that I wasn’t invited to.  Mac shows me this so I can get insecure about where I stand with my friendships.   Close friends I thought I had, maybe they weren’t really?…..

 

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another… (Hebrews 10:25)

 

Let us not give up meeting together.   This verse is talking about gathering together as a body of believers, but not just attending a “church”.   We all know you can go into a church and leave right after without connecting with a soul!   God made us relational and He knew that we’d need each other to make it through this life. The “church” God envisioned was as simple as people just getting together to encourage one another to keep going in their faith.

 

Mac has not delivered the kind of encouragement God wants for me.   The verse states that many were in the habit of not meeting together.  Not much has changed has it?   The illusion that facebook gives is that even though I can feel so involved in people’s lives by seeing their status, knowing their birthday, seeing updated pics of their family – its a relationship that ends with a screen. At the end of the day, am I really in relationship with them?

 

So why had they given up meeting with each other?   Many of us know how scary friendships can be to cultivate.  We choose to run than to face possible rejection with courage.  We fear people seeing the “real us” in fear that they will not accept our weakness.  In fear, we build ourself a fortress on an deserted island with walls no one could ever conquer….  and after we have build this all powerful shelter from the cruel world we feel…… alone.

 

How many live their lives in front of a computer screen only to feel more lonely every day?  How many feel insignificant and uninteresting after seeing all the amazing adventures others seem to be having on facebook?  How many remember how to use the phone? (and I’m not talking about texting…)  How many can bring themselves to ask someone to go for coffee?  How many are afraid of opening their hearts to others in fear that they will be rejected?

 

I’ve decided to put up some boundaries with my friend Mac. Even though I still use facebook as a way to connect,  I’ve chosen to invest in some friendships I’m cultivating through (gulp) phone calls and face to face visits.   The amazing thing is that the loneliness and insecurity is disappearing!  And even though I’m scared spit-less of rejection, I’ve taken the leap to be so bold as to even ask a couple of gals to be my friend.  (does anyone DO that anymore?)

 

I’ve been finding some quality friendships….. beyond facebook.

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Categories: relationships
  1. Angie Hung
    January 10, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    I think people over-analyze facebook and other such things, at times. True that a lot of facebook friends are people you just casually meet one day in class or something, but not a real friendship. Real friendships are those people who you phone to invite to your birthday. 🙂 Depending on who, I think facebook also promotes quality friendships without being fake. for example, one of my best friends lives in England, so we goof around on facebook because we don’t get to goof around in person.

    on a funny and cool note: I think facebook influenced us to meet. You had checked out my facebook and realized I’m a Christian then one day approached me about it at DJD, that was really cool, nobody has ever come up to me in dance class or outside a dance class (who I don’t know well) and said “Hey, so you’re a Christian!!”. 🙂

    I think a problem is that facebook also lets you know when you’re left out, such as you being the only person out of a group of friends who wasn’t invited to someone else’s facebook event. But in those situations, the inviting person probably just doesn’t think you’d care to come anyways.

  2. January 10, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Hey Angie! Yes you’re right! Without facebook we would have never met!

  3. Maria
    January 14, 2011 at 4:36 am

    Connie

    I keep calling…..I haven’t forgotten. LOL

  4. July 14, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Facebook is like anything powerful I guess…it can easily be used for good or harm. I really like how Bruxy at the meeting house views social media…as a way to connect, with the intent of “enfleshing” the relationship whenever possible. A tool in the relationship, not just the relationship, I guess it’s hard though when there is so much distance between people. Me and Mac need to have a chat too. 🙂

  1. July 14, 2011 at 12:56 pm

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