I’m wandering through the book store nuzzled right in the corner of cobble streets and warm summer air. Losing myself in the world of stories knitted into pages, all different in stature and texture and ink. My eyes scan across the magazine shelf and I focus in on a women’s health magazine, second row from the bottom, three magazines in. It’s title reads: How to Friend Someone in Real Life.
I shake my head. So sad. So tragic. Has our world really come to this? That we need a how-to on building relationships here? Here, in this space that we have come to label as “real life.” Funny how we now need a distinction, a dividing line. One that defines our “real life” separate from our “fake life.” The two: our life behind screens and on-line profiles & our life alive and interacting with face to face people. When shoulders touch in passing, people stutter through their sentences and we can see the blue and green specks flickering in eyes.
We are living in a time where:
there is an adrenaline that comes from new notifications & stress ulcers begin to form awaiting an anticipated text message to light up your phone screen & you are updated on your friend’s personal lives through a mere Facebook news feed.
we can’t go a day without checking social media and suicide rates stand higher than ever. and we see loneliness sweep through our nation like the black plague. It bites and tears, threatens to make you believe that you are truly worthless and alone.
We are living in a fabricated world of Facebook friends, instagram moments and twitter feeds. Walking amidst a bunch of people who are lonelier than ever before.
Often I dream of the society that existed before the presence of technology, a world absent of conversations through screens and personal information displayed on social media. A time when relationships were carved out of the moments spent together and the memories created side by side, where words were exchanged while looking into each other’s eyes. When you could hear the inflection of their voice, see the emotion written across their face and see the language of their body express the ideas & feelings they try to articulate. People did life along side each other- connecting in the rhythm of the daily life and mundane activities. Hearts met when you arrived at a certain place at a certain time- for such a time as this- you were brought there & you know that you would never have found each other if God hadn’t led you to exactly to that place. Because before technology, you couldn’t meet people through a man-made dating site or through the search box of your Facebook account.
Relationships have become more superficial & less real over the years.
Because it’s easier to hide when there’s a screen between you and the other person. You can say the things you want to say, without shaking hands or sweating through t-shirts or stumbling over words. There is safety behind a screen. But there is also loneliness behind a screen.
It’s sad really, when I look at the way social media has shaped the way so many people do relationships.
Let’s get back to the real, the vulnerable, the face to face connection amidst the daily grind of life.
I miss relationships in the true, beautiful way they used to be before we were drowned in a world of social media. We were made to literally walk along side other people, to look in each others eyes and strive to understand why they crinkle during conversations of injustice or light up at the sound of the piano. To hug them tight, and show them how much you care with a gentle squeeze on the shoulder. A world full of people are standing within our fingertips- don’t hold them at arms length & put up screens between you- instead stretch your hands out and invest. Build a relationship that is real and true, uncontaminated by our fabricated world.