Mending the Modern Family | Being Jane

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mending the Modern Family

“Our society is so fragmented, our family lives so sundered by physical and emotional distance, our friendships so sporadic, our intimacies so 'in-between' things and often so utilitarian, that there are few places where we can feel truly safe.” 
― Henri J.M. Nouwen



This Sunday our pastor's wife spoke and mentioned this quote in her message. When I read the above words I felt like it encompassed so many aspects of dis-functionality that we deal with in this generation!

Friendships these days really do feel sporadic. We consider texting and Facebook, among other social media sites and phone apps, as ways of keeping in touch, but how often to we actually speak to each other or see each other in person? I still "talk" to many friends from high school that I was very close with, some even being considered my best friend at one point or another, yet I am not invited to personal events of theirs like their weddings or baby showers.

And why is this? Would I think of them when inviting people to an intimate gathering? Probably not. Because we aren't truly engaged, we aren't truly friends, because we don't invest in each other. A "friend" is defined in the dictionary as: one attached to another by affection or esteem.

I think I feel connected to my high school friends because I am holding on to special memories of those days that connect us. When we talk we don't have much to commiserate about via Facebook message besides the "good ol' days" and asking each other how we are. We are not truly attached by affection.

I actually removed my friends in Arizona from my Facebook friend list because I was settling for their updates on my newsfeed and feeling like I was connecting with them regularly, when in fact I hadn't seen one of them in a year. Text messages and online conversations took the place of real interaction in person, and I was shocked so much time went by without me seeing a "friend" that I considered one of my closest. Now I have to work harder to stay connected with them and that has made both of us talk on the phone more, visit each other more, and plan activities for our girls to do together.

This is not to say to defriend everyone you aren't close to, or those that you don't talk to enough in person, because social media is great and it has done wonders for my close family who cannot watch my girls grow up in person. What I am trying to say here is that our friendships shouldn't be sporadic. They should take time, and they should have more in-person interaction, or at least verbal communication through Skype or the phone.

Lets take time in this busy world to invest in our friendships so that we can truly know a person in this fast-paced age, and lets try to maintain those special relationships so that we can have meaningful connections with others. My mother has had her best friend for over 30 years. I have had mine for about 15 years so far. We don't live in the same state anymore. We are at two different places in life. But we still try to talk as often as we can (which isn't much, honestly!) and text almost every day. I want to keep this friendship close and alive. I want to make efforts to stay her true friend so that we can have these years and memories when our kids are grown. We have been there for each other through many dark times and many beautiful times. That is important to me, and I think taking extra time out of my day to sustain that friendship is 100% worth it.

Who do you need to call?

11 comments:

  1. This is so true! Technology is such a blessing, but if used wrong, it can replace real life friendships. Great post!

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  2. I agree our friendships are more sporadic these day. But I also feel that if both parties are making an effort then the friendship has a chance but when it's only one party then no it feels like you're nagging. I have been trying to stay connected with people but it's not easy. Lovely post

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  3. Beautiful quote and great post. I agree with Miranda. If both parties make an effort, a friendship will always remain strong!

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  4. I've made my closest friendships through social media...knowing I can just text or use instagram to reach a friend has been a blessing to me. Good post!

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  5. really interesting perspective and one that definitely needs to be addressed. so glad you shared!

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  6. I feel the same way and I know I need to be a better friend as well. Thank you for posting this! :-)

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  7. This is such a good reminder - I'm definitely guilty of substituting social media for more substantive interactions, especially since I'm a total introvert! But really talking to people and forming lasting relationships is such an important part of life. Thanks for this post!

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  8. Great reminder not to take our friendships and other important relationships for granted! Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Technology can be such a blessing if used the correct way. I've met some of my soul sisters through social media and I'm so blessed for them. Good for you for de-friending some people who you don't consider "friends" I share a lot on my Facebook and if I haven't really interacted with people in a few months I delete them. Nothing personal it's just my way of simplifying and staying connected with people who really care what we are up to and who we really engage with. Thanks for posting!

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  10. Technology is such double edged sword. it's great to keep up with friends you only see every now and then, but eventually, it totally takes place and I hate that! I love to call people just to catch them out of their comfort zone.

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  11. That is a really interesting (and brilliant) approach. Technology is wonderful for those you cant see on a regular basis but it should NEVER take place of person to person connections. Thank you for sharing!

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