Lonely with 1,000 Friends
“No one has greater love than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (Jn.15:3)
I recently hit the “400” mark for number of friends I have on Facebook. I have been looming around the 300’s for a while. I am actually pretty selective of who I invite or accept to be friends. However, if I really think about it, 400 friends is a lot!!! And yet I know having thousands or millions more friends is easily possible for many people on Facebook.
There is a new study that links Facebook with depression. Though Facebook is deemed a “social network”, it seems “social networks aren’t purely social, and they may even veer into the realm of anti-social.”
Instead, social networks like Facebook can cause people to retreat in their own closet for hours “connecting” with people without having spoken a word to a single person the whole day. According to the study, social networks also increase feelings of jealousy and social comparison.
People seem to post more glamorous parts of their day or life rather than the gritty parts that would actually encourage a person in a world with no technology to reach out to a live person, a friend. Or be a friend to someone.
Though we have created technology that makes it more accessible to reach people, I wonder if we have created a world that makes it less possible to be known….to be really known. While we are trying to be more accessible, are we becoming less accessible to be a friend to someone?
After all, isn’t communication 93% nonverbal (55% body language and 38% tone of voice)? Without meeting a person face to face we miss a huge part of the relationship. Jesus’ guideline for friendships comes from John 15:12-14. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.”
A true friend is one who will lay down his life for his friends. I’m afraid we we can’t even lay down our computer or phone for a friend. Am I anti social network? Absolutely not. I believe everything has redeeming qualities. It’s just we must be careful and intentional.
Spend a week timing how much you spend on social network. We give our time to what we value. Secondly, use social network to encourage others. Think about what people really need to know or hear. Take some time to take an inventory of your friendships and how you would like to be a better friend to them. Nothing substitutes a good, personal date with a friend.
There are many people you would never guess who are lonely in this world. If you think about it, they may actually be the ones who are most ‘popular’ on Facebook. Is there a friend you would like to reach today?