Saturday, September 17, 2011
That's What "Friends" Are For...
But, alongside the love affair comes a very real disdain for what Facebook represents. As much as it brings people closer, it also keeps us apart. You've heard these arguments before, they're nothing new. I agree wholeheartedly that, while I now have connections with many friends I've fallen out of touch with, I also have lost true face-to-face time with those closest to me.
The latest convenience from Facebook is particularly eye-opening. You can now divide your Facebook "friends" up into categories, one of which they've designated as "Close Friends". Well, once I saw the feature, is started to load my list up. But then I stopped. "Close Friends." That's a mighty tall order.
Fact is, there are some people I've become very close to BECAUSE of Facebook, others who I have befriended on Facebook, having never met outside of this maddening lil' social network. Others still have actually grown more distant from me as they've used the platform to express some rather small-minded or divisive beliefs. But to define who I consider to be a 'close friend', well, those are the folks who answer that phone call at 2 a.m., who drive in the rain to pick you up at the airport when your car won't start, who don't just show up for the memorial service, but are at the hospital holding your hand as you feel more alone than you ever have before.
We could all flatter ourselves by filling up our "Close Friends" list with people who bring us the occasional smile or laugh. But, in truth, if we can find three or four people to put on that list - the real list that doesn't live on the left column of a web page - then we've got cause to celebrate.
We live in a world that encourages convenience over authenticity. But, when you log off and take a moment to live in gratitude, you'll be astonished that there are a handful of people in your life who would go to the wall for you. Ride with you through your self-induced detours until the wheels fall off. Tell you that you're acting like an idiot when you're, well...acting like an idiot.
To all the people in my life I consider friends, thank you for enriching my life and allowing me to do my best to return the favor. You are a blessing. But to that sacred handful of close friends who know what my greatest fear is right now, what moves me beyond mere words, and at least a dozen stories about me that I never want shared on any social media platform, I am humbled by you. And I think I love you too much to put you in a category on Facebook.
Because that is not what friends are for...