Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The High Cost of Friendship

I've thought about friendship a lot recently. I feel extremely blessed for the great community of guys that I have around me. But I also feel a bit of guilt and shame because I don't love them as well as I would like to. It's easier to stay on the surface rather than talking about heart issues. It's easier to avoid conflict rather than confessing and forgiving one another's sins. It's easier to merely talk about an issue than engaging in prayer for and with one another. There is a very high cost to my comfort in friendship.

Over at Relevant Magazine, Seth Hurd has written a good article about this high cost. He takes into account how this culture of social networking has played a large role in re-shaping what our friendships look like.

Here's an exerpt:
"Everything in life costs us something—in time, money, energy, love or emotion. Friends, real know-you-down-to-your-soul friends, come at a high cost. They guarantee a lifetime of broken hearts as we say goodbye, farewell and amen, again and again over the course of our lives.

Sadly, more and more people are finding that cost too high. Fifty years ago, the average person had three or more close friends and family members in which to confide. Today, that average has dropped to somewhere between two and one. The world-within-a-world of social networking has its benefits, but it’s also continually drawing us further into an “invent your own fantasy” identity and away from face-to-face relationships. This year, the average American will spend more time with their computer than with their spouse. As a study in the March 2009 International Business News so aptly put it, “Facebook, Twitter users among the loneliest in America.”

It’s easy to see why escaping to the social networking world is so inviting. On Facebook, you can hide behind a persona, be any version of yourself you can dream up. Online friends don’t borrow money and not pay it back, gossip or spill Gatorade in your car. They don’t show up at your house after just getting dumped and stay until 2 a.m. when you have to be at work in the morning. Online “friendships” are always efficient.

True friendship demands vulnerability. It requires that you rearrange your schedule, and intentionally plan time to spend with other people with no agenda. It demands choice, as sociologists agree that it’s only possible to have eight to 12 “real” friends, and attempting to manage more relationships than that only ends in a series of casual acquaintances. "

6 comments:

  1. i just love this post David! seriously- you always find the best articles....i gotta start reading whatever you read. But i struggle w/the whole social networking thing myself. i mean it's great to keep in touch, but i do worry about it replacing genuine human contact and authentic relationships. it's like even though we have more ways of staying in touch, sometimes it really moves us further away emotionally. but then on the flip side it connects too- like getting to read your blog and hear good stuff about God! i love that aspect- the way God uses the internet for His message. anyways- lots of rambling here- just wanted to say hi! and keep posting. i love your stuff!

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  2. Hey Renee, thanks for the comment and the encouragement. I agree with you. All the virtual social sites can be great, as long as it doesn't become the main way you interact with people.

    Also, for some reason I don't think I've seen your blog before. I just got done reading about the last several months in your life. I enjoyed seeing and reading about your family and all the things going on with you. I put you in my Google Reader feed so I'll be able to keep up a little bit more regularly.

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  3. Anonymous8:43 PM

    i love you buddy and i'm glad you bear with me. i consider our friendship a true gift from God. thanks.

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  4. Thanks Anonymous. I appreciate your friendship too.

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  5. Thanks for the info David! I'm reading through a book right now and a guy I've been meeting with asked me to think of someone I'd "walk through a wall" for. Sadly, I can't think of anyone (other than Emily). I wish I could. I've got a couple hundred friends on Facebook, but no one I'm REALLY intimate with in reality. It's hard when people are so busy!

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  6. Oh yeah, something else I've noticed -- people sharing what's going on in their hearts on things like blogs, but not doing so with the people they are "doing life with." It's almost like intimacy w/o accountability. Not sure this has to with anything, but I thought I'd share it anyway!

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