The other day Wyatt was taking a nap, and I decided to turn on the TV to see what was on. And for those of you who have been reading for a while, yes, we got cable back! It was really good to take a break from it for a year, and we probably will take another break in the future - but there is so much going on this year, like the Olympics and the election, and we decided to get cable again for now.
Anyway, I came across this show about women who hide their pregnancies, so I decided to see what it was all about. But one of the stories stood out.
One of the girls on the show decided to hide her pregnancy because a few months before she had a son that was stillborn. And when she shared this heartbreaking news on Facebook, hoping for some support, she got a grand total of 6 responses. Out of 300 Facebook friends.
I found that to be so sad, and I honestly didn't blame her a bit for not wanting to share the happy news of her pregnancy after getting no support from her "friends" on Facebook or in real life. I'm not sure I would want to share anything for a while after something like that either.
And it got me thinking - is this what the world is coming to? A place where people can't muster up the energy (or even just the courtesy) to reach outside of Facebook in the face of a tragedy? Worse than that, that these people couldn't even reach out properly within the confines of Facebook? I find that so disturbing.
One thing that I dislike about Facebook is the fact that it does promote apathy when it comes to friendships. It's one of the reasons I took a Facebook break not long ago, and why I limit what I share on it now. I don't like the thought of someone just checking my Facebook page to see what I've been doing when they could call or e-mail me directly. If they want to feel like they are interacting with me, the only effort they have to put out is one click on the "Like" button.
I think it creates a false sense of friendship, one where someone can get all the benefits of knowing what is going on with their "friend" without having to put out any actual effort to find out. Where they can feel like they are being a "friend" to someone without doing anything but clicking a couple times and hitting a few keys.
Obviously there are exceptions to this, like in the blogging world (all of our interaction is online by necessity!), or in the case of people who combine Facebook interaction with real life interaction, which I think is good.
But it is not fine to see something so tragic happen to your friend and comment on Facebook but never follow up with them in real life to see how they are doing. It is not fine to see an announcement of something so tragic and be so lazy in your friendship that you can't even take the time to type out an "I'm so sorry."
That is not okay. That is not a friendship. And it frustrates me that someone could have the nerve to call themselves a friend to someone when they can't even be there, in the flesh, when they are needed most.
At the end of the show this girl reconnects with her friends, tells them the truth, and it appears that these friendships are on the road to healing after that. And I'm sure they probably did reach some level of trust again. But I don't think those people can ever reach the level in their friendship with this girl that they could have reached if they had just been there for her in the face of tragedy. They've forever missed that chance. And that is sad.
I guess I say all this to remind you (and me) to take the time to be an outside-of-Facebook friend to someone this week. Because the people who can reach outside of social media to touch someone else are the ones that are the true gems in the midst of all the people that social networks call our "friends".
I don't want to just be a digital version of someone's "friend". I want to be a supportive-on-social-media-and-in-real-life, all-in, gem of a friend to someone.
I want to be a friend worth having.