We spent last night with some of our most delightful friends. We talked, we laughed, we celebrated, we chinked beers and we remembered. It was a one of those times when you realise how important it is to have quality people in your life, not just as a number on a social media site, but as flesh and blood.
The burst of social media and internet related relationships has boomed over the last decade. Many of these connections have benefited me and the world greatly.
But I fear we are losing the greatest of all: real friends.
“It matters not how many you have online, what matters most is the ability to hug and cry and laugh and see real friends in the flesh. This is where life is experienced at it’s deepest.”
I love that the internet allows me to chat with friends and family who live in interstate. This is an enormous benefit as distance is the stumbling block. But when we do catch up in person, our relationship is richer—much much richer. The online is good, but it has nothing on the beauty of the face to face human interaction that occurs when we share the same physical space.
It was funny, last night when I was chatting to one friend in particularly (whom I hadn’t seen in a while), and they mentioned they felt like they knew what was happening in my life, simply through reading this blog and the words I put online. It kinda hit me as to whether this was a good thing or not. Have I begun the slow fade by trading in real life friendships for the safety, security and anonymity of connecting online? I’m not sure. It’s a balance I walk, and there will always be some things that remain taboo for me to write online.
This blog will never take the place of real life friendships. Last night reminded me of that.
Real friends are rare
I am realising very quickly how rare it is to have real friends in our lives. Friends that like to hang out with us and we like to hang out with them.
I see this in reality everyday. The number of young people I work with that tell me they are lonely and lacking relational connection is unreal. Despite them being the most ‘connected’ generation ever, they want more.
They are lonely.
They are lonely within the world they see online, lonely to the world around them and lonely to the world going on inside them.
The ability to talk to real friends is becoming extinct
Having the ability to talk face to face with real people is becoming a lost art, and it’s incredibly sad. Nothing beats the interaction that occurs when people see each other face to face. No amount of connection online will ever supersede that. Ever.
We need real friends to help us navigate an increasingly complex world. And yet when we are in the company of real friends, the challenges of daily life make way for the beauty that exists when humans interact, and life suddenly becomes simple.
[Tweet “When we trade in real life for a quick text, Facebook message or email, our lives become worse off.”]
We need to carve out space to meet with, catch up and eat with our friends. When we do, we realise the delightful experience that occurs between people when they are in the same physical space as one another.
So next time, choose a coffee if you can over a text. Your life will be enriched, and the coffee will taste better.
In this way, we can ensure that real friends stay an integral part of society for future generations.