Face-to-Face Friends in an Age of Internet

I love my cyber friends.

Really, I do.

They challenge me, inspire me and often encourage me.

When I read their clever, and sometimes convicting, comments or receive a timely, refreshing email or  a heart-felt Facebook message, well the smile it puts on my face stays for days.

Yep, I love my cyber friends.

But have you ever noticed that when you go too long without face-to-face encounters with a flesh-and-bones nearby friend, something feels wrong.

So we keep hopping on the computer or texting away on the cell phone, hoping for some connection that will fill our friendship needs.

Our souls yearn for that eyeball-to-eyeball connection with another human being.

Nothing can replace it.

And do you know Jesus expected it of us? My pastor pointed out not too long ago that the phrase “one another” appears over 50 times in the Bible.

As in love one another.

Pray for one another.

Encourage one another.

Meet with one another.

Spur one another on.

Consider one another.

Live in harmony with one another.

Offer hospitality to one another.

Forgive one another.

Thats a lot of one anothers.

Just this weekend, I was feeling disconnected. While I love the ministry I have with Proverbs 31 and the fabulous people I am able to meet because of it, my soul was out of sorts.

I was coming off of a week of connecting with many women far away, both to encourage and be encouraged, but I wondered the difference I am really making in my little and actual corner of the world. Am I being used by God to touch the lives of people right in my own backyard?

When Todd & I were in full-time ministry, I often felt used (and even sometimes plum worn out!) but the feeling was fulfilling. I still get those feelings, but they are more now in regards to women at my events or whom I know from cyber land.

I mulled this all over in my brain as I downed a cup of coffee early Saturday morning.

Then, I set off to run my errands.

My first stop, the bank, found me running into a woman who’m I’d coached in cheerleading back when she was in high school. She had such kind words for me.

Next, I bumped into a high school classmate from waaaaaaay back. I smiled as we chatted about our former friendship and where we both were today.

Then, it was a fellow mom with whom I’d visited with on the sidelines here in town for many years when our boys played baseball together. A year or so ago, Todd had decided we’d help them out financially when the father in the family lost his job. She said she’s never forgotten it.

As I made my way home, I thanked God for the reminders that face-to-face friendships make a difference.

Oh yes, I still plan on connecting with my cyber sisters and Facebook friends, but I also plan to be more intentional with my friends, old and new, nearby.

Maybe it is the Michigan cold that is keeping me holed up indoors. I don’t know. But I do know that we all need those nearby friends with whom we can do life, bearing one another’s burdens and sharing each other’s joys.

What about you? How are your face-to-face friendships? Any of the rest of you in need of a coffee date with a friend or a home visit to help her with a chore (maybe one of the ones we all talked about here last weekend?)

Do tell.

Speaking of telling….I wanted to tell you that on both Wednesday and Friday this week, we’ll have a giveaway. And I also wanted to tell you the winners of the weekend “Paralyzed Procrastinators” giveaway. They are:

Amanda Spaunhorst

PK

and  Kiley

Send your home address to me at karen@proverbs31.org so I can get your prizes to you pronto.

As for the rest of you, what are your thoughts on friendship this day?

Friendly Blessings,

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16 Comments

  1. I was reminded of my need to have face to face relationships as I struggle with my need to stay at home and isolate myself in my depression. I did not feel as tho I had the accountability to my group of girlfriends and I felt God was leading me out of my comfort zone, I started a Mom’s life Group in my church a small “cell” group that meets weekly.

    I wrote about the one anothers here http://soccermomingiggletown.com/devotionals-by-jeanie/we-cannot-do-it-alone/ on my blog Soccer Mom in Giggle Town.

    blessings & giggles
    Jeanie

  2. Because I have severe depression and anxiety it is very hard for me to leave the house. So my online friends are just incredible. But I do agree that we need friends ‘in person’ as well!!

  3. I agree that we NEED those face-to-face friendships. They take work, and I think that’s why we tend to neglect them. We have to PLAN when to get together instead of just sitting down at the computer when it’s convenient. Plus you’re more vulnerable with someone flesh-and-blood. But God SO blesses those efforts when we do connect with real-life friends. I praise our Heavenly Father for providing me with some amazing godly women who enjoy spending time with me! Wow! I take them for granted, at times, I know. May I continue to make the effort to keep them near. Treasure your real-life friends, ladies!

  4. I’m with you Danette! I have to have my face-to-face. And I also committed several years ago to making it happen. I meet one friend every Saturday morning for coffee and on Tuesday evenings we go to dinner and a movie. Another friend and I have lunch every Tuesday and I also see her at church on Sunday. However, there are a few friends that I need to make more effort towards. I’ve missed them. But I’ve found that many people are so busy they don’t think of it. I had to get over that irritated feeling you get when you are the one that ALWAYS calls.

  5. I’m blessed with friends far and near and some cyber friends that I have never seen face-to-face. I do have a BFF here that I see every Sunday at church, we email every day and try to do a dinner or breakfast every few weeks. We also have a lifegroup that meets in our home once a week so I get to see those precious friends every Wednesday night for an extended period. I couldn’t live without my face-to-face friends. I really, really need that in my life!!!

  6. Dear Friend,

    Thank you for the reminder! It is so easy to communicate via the internet. I tend to get caught up in that. I lvoe relationships face-to-face so much and am going to try to put more into those relationships.

    God Bless,
    natalie

  7. When my husband retired – we moved. I have prayed for a friend – the kind that listens as well as talks – as yet unanswered. As a manager listening was the skill that the people I supervised always said was one of my best traits. Even after I left they would call to tell me they needed my ear, and my heart. I love the friends I have made in cyberspace – breast cancer survivors, quilting buddies and knitting friends. I just really miss a “sit down for a cup of coffee and look them in the eye” friend. They are all back home.

  8. Thank you Karen! While I love emailing all my girlfriends and sisters online, I can’t really hug a computer! Well, I mean I could but it would probably hurt!

    But there is nothing that can take the place of a touch from a family member or a dear friend…

  9. Since high school, I’d been feeling like something was missing. Sure I had my friends that I would hang out with as a group, but that was nothing like what I got out of hanging out with someone one-on-one. For the past 4-5 years I hadn’t had someone that I could get together with in that atmosphere, as well as in a group. This past year, God led my husband to a church he loved (huge story there), I went with him and loved the church as well. Shortly after deciding that was the home for us, I started to get involved, because knowing me, if I wasn’t involved — I’d lose interest, it’s the way I’ve always been. Through one of the ministries I got involved in, God gave me a friend. She’s 15 years older than I am, but we are going through similar situations and have been a good support system for the other. There has been nothing so beneficial to me in a long time than to have a girlfriend in whom I could confide and know beyond a shadow of a doubt she knows exactly how I feel.

  10. One of my best girlfriends is so good at keeping up with her network of friends – I have told her she has a gift from God in this area. She calls me all the time when I forget so often. I’m going to try and make some connections in the near future with my friends. This is the time of year I’m feeling really isolated and separated – so I’m going to work on my “one anothers” this week!

  11. Wow. You spoke right to my heart with this post.I find myself yearning for some one on one time with a friend a few weeks ago where it got to the point where Satan was corrupting my thoughts. I did talk to two dear friends about it and found out the reason why. I am now going to ask dear friends out to lunch before Satan corrupts my mind again.

  12. Last week I received an email from my friend and I could tell by the sound of it that she was down. I told her that we needed a girl’s night out. After I sent the email, my husband called me about what we were having for dinner and I realized it was one of their favorites and quick to make after getting home from work. I emailed back, invited her and her hubby for dinner, and I was so blessed to have that one-on-one conversation with her face to face! Sometimes we have to look into another’s eyes to see what’s in their heart! I plan to do this more often!

  13. I love this Karen and totally agree. I do not text at all. I do not have a problem with people who do but for me I think it is just a time wasters and a way to avoid communicating. It is also setting up a generation of people who can’t write and truth be told that annoys me. If I can’t have face to face time then I like to pick up a phone especially if friends don’t live close and catch up on life. My spirit loves to connect with friends- although a lot of times people are too busy to catch up and I think that is sad. I am learning to simplify my life so that I can make time for the things that are truly important. Thanks for sharing and for blessing me.

  14. I’m really terrible at keeping up with people. It was never instilled in me that people were important—from my parents’ example, it seemed you only called them when you needed something. I need to get better at being intentional about my friendships!

  15. Hi Karen,

    I just had a fabulous weekend at a cabin with my daughter and a friend and her daughter. The main goal of the weekend was getting photos in our srapbooks but the conversation and fun we had playing Pictionary was wonderful and very needed. I had been having a tough week at work and it was so great to be able to process things with my friend. There are two other friends that I haven’t seen for way too long so need to make plans to have lunch or something with them soon!
    Thanks for the great reminder to be intentional with our friendships.
    Rebecca Ann

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