With so many social media option, it is easier than ever to maintain friendships over time. Social media grants us the power to maintain contact with people who would otherwise have fallen by the wayside during a lifetime of making friends and then abandoning them as we move on. Now we can hang on to them forever, unless some major incompatibility emerges.
I would love to meet a friend for the simple pleasure of coffee and a good conversation, but who has the time? I mean, most friendships fall by the wayside for simple reasons rather than a huge falling out. Usually one person either moves away, changes jobs, or is otherwise no longer in our immediate sphere of consciousness. Certainly with friends going back 4 decades over 3 continents, I was bound to lose contact with the majority of them.
Facebook has been amazing for allowing me to reconnect with childhood best friends whom I lost during my many address changes as a child. But Facebook has also been amazing for allowing me to maintain friendships during periods when my entire focus is on family and work. I have no time to spend with friends, and all face to face social activity revolves around meeting adults whose children are connected to mine. Without Facebook I would have lost touch with many friends who live less than 10 miles from me just because there was no time to call and set a date.
All this is good, Facebook is good, but why am I afraid that it will replace the effort once made to cultivate and maintain friendships.
Enter Facebook, and voila, I can “manage” all my friends and stay connected even when I don’t have energy to talk on the phone. A phone can be too interactive when I’m wiped out after the kids are in bed and I can finally have a quiet 5 minutes for a phone call. But Facebook abides, allowing me nearly effortless friendships. If you make no effort, can you really call it a friendship?
I struggle with this issue because I truly have no time to see longtime friends. I love following up on them by checking out their latest FB photos but when it comes to chatting, or actually scheduling time together, I fail. Some friends are also very busy, and they understand because they too have no time to meet up and are also happy to maintain the friendship in a holding pattern for a few years until the kids tell use to get lost. But others feel slighted, and I don’t blame them.