Muse & Meander

Shaping a Genesis week from the chaos of my life

We collect friends like stamps

We’re collecting friends like stamps . . . and converting the deep meaning and intimacy of friendship with exchanging  photos and chat conversations.  By doing so . . . we claim to have many friends, while actually being lonely.

Shimi Cohen

I’ve had a few discussions with my closest friends regarding how social media is very anti-social.  The irony of raising it here is not lost on me, I assure you.

I’ve realized that while many people show an on-line status, for example, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are available to me.  This has been a challenging lesson for me.  I was one of the people who was connected and yet most definitely lonely.  My loneliness was perhaps amplified in that I was sometimes a shut-in for weeks at a time and depended on social media for my companionship. People were always afraid to call me, they said, because they didn’t want to wake me up. So I chose to only be “available” when I truly was.  I wasn’t the popular girl at the online party. Frankly, that wasn’t so different from my in-person life sometimes.

Does that sound like I’m feeling sorry for myself? Okay, sometimes. But mostly, I’ve accepted an opportunity to reclaim the original meaning of friend. It’s not a numbers game. It’s about mutual affection, caring and support.  The reason I raise this though, is because of Shimi Cohen’s next thought.

More and more people define themselves as lonely . . . thus, loneliness has become the most common ailment in the modern world.

Loneliness promotes depression. Depression and other mental health problems are significant and for many people can lead to self-injury or death.  In my case, it fostered a victim mentality in me and when I couldn’t get others to see where I was coming from, I realized I needed to make a change in my expectations of other people.  So I declared a social media moratorium for several weeks–and a permanent moratorium on certain platforms.

I want more in my life. Friendship–solid, joy-filled, blessed friendship–takes time. It requires effort but I believe it will be worth it.  Sure, I have people who can see my pictures and my stories and what things I like or don’t.  As a not-yet-published author, I know I have to learn to be okay with that.  But that, is mostly a numbers game.

It’s not friendship.  I choose quality over quantity.  Do you?

8 comments on “We collect friends like stamps

  1. Nancy Rue
    October 21, 2013

    I absolutely do. As a person who has never gotten into the online community thing except for my blogs, I’ve had to learn how important a Facebook post is to some people and, more than that, responding to their comments. Still, when it comes to relationships, i want hugs and Skype sessions and lattes shared across a table and laughter on the phone and long newsy emails or short answers to, “Please pray for me today, my friend.” Whether we “friend” people on Facebook or promise face-to-face, we just can’t get sloppy with relationships.

    • Crystal Thieringer
      October 21, 2013

      As you’re pointing out, social media–soul media as you call it–has a place. It’s provided a way for you to have that community, and me too. I don’t have issues with that. I love how you’ve worded it–we just can’t get sloppy with relationships. Thanks for getting it!

  2. Donna Noakes
    October 21, 2013

    As always Crystal, I like the way you thoughtfully reflect and communicate that personal reflection. Nicely stated.

  3. Melody
    October 21, 2013

    *Sigh* I’m getting the feeling God wants me to take a break from facebook. This is the fourth time in two days that I’ve read/heard something about fasting or taking a break from social media. Did you and Mrs. Rue plan this? 🙂

    • Crystal Thieringer
      October 21, 2013

      OH Melody, no we didn’t talk about this at all. In fact, I drafted this a couple of weeks ago!

  4. Pingback: Reflect, don’t drag | Muse & Meander

  5. Pingback: I thought we’d be friends forever… | Muse & Meander

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