An Outside-Of-Facebook Friend



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.


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Unknown said...

Great post friend! I saw that one too, it was heartbreaking! I limit my personal Facebook page posts, sometimes it's only once a month, because of people just looking for info. Completely agree with you!

LeAnna said...

Apathy amongst "friendship" is exactly why I kissed facebook goodbye. It is truly a shame what that kind of social networking has done to a lot of real life friendships. Like with many things, there is plenty of good, but also a lot of abuse.

Amanda said...

This is so true! Even though Facebook is so great for keeping in touch with long-distance friends and family, it shouldn't replace all other interaction.

Heather @ Simple Wives said...

I want to be a friend worth having, too! Thanks for sharing and for the reminder to be more than just another digital face on FB.

Nicole said...

That's a really good post and very true. I think you're right, it's not hard to express sympathy for someone's losses online, through FB or blogging or twitter. And that really is the LEAST we can do. Of my FB "friends", I would only say that a handful of them are my actual IRL Friends. And that's ok. I can't keep up with 300+ friends! But I do make it a habit to call or text one of my friends every day and I try to reach out to women that I'm trying to develop a friendship with... not just my comfortable friends from childhood. Friendship is all about reaching out, taking the step and hoping that you receive friendship in return.

Unknown said...

Can I hear a Hallelujah?! Making my facebook private was mainly for the reasons you have said in the post. I admit some of them are old school friends who I don't see out of the internet but most of them I do see physically and out and about.

It's another reason why I don;t do facebook status updates a lot because what am I trying to gain? sympathy? more respect? If I want people to know things then I call or catch up with them. What gripes me is when people use social networking as their ONLY form communicating because they're busy or it's easier. I think it's lazy!

I really feel for that lady who had a still born. At least those 6 friends are friends worth having!

Veronica and Daniel said...

Some days I debate just deleting my facebook page all together for lost of reasons, but one of this is because I want to be MORE connected to my friends via phone, real mail, visits in persons. I dont want to be a lazy friend...but facebook makes it so easy to be lazy. Thanks for the great thought today :)

Amanda said...

I agree with you completely. Sometimes I think Facebook is useful & sometimes I don't. I'm with you on this one. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I couldn't agree more.

Amanda said...

Thank you for this post and it is so true! I feel sometimes I have people tell me that I should know what is going on by looking on Facebook. You are right, we should be reaching out in other ways. I like the positive side of seeing people I haven't seen in a while and reconnecting but it's not something I have to look at everyday. I know some people get upset if you comment on 1 person's post and not on there's. Sorry this is so long but I appreciate the blog post and it renews my want to be a better other than facebook friend!

Unknown said...

Wonderful post Callie. Its scary how Facebook can change the "friend dynamic" so drastically. I LOVE reading your blog :) I'd love for you to follow mine at



Melanie said...

That is so true and what you said about facebook couldnt be more spot on. If hitting the 'like' button is all the interaction you get from another 'friend'..they aren't a real friend at all really. It takes alot more than that to be a friend (in my book)..including REAL interaction and REAL conversation (whether its an email, text, phone call, snail mail). Loved your post! :-)

katie said...

Great post! So tragic what that girl had to experience. We (my now hubs and I) intentionally quit FB way long ago (while we were still in college and before FB became available outside of colleges and high schools). Even then we saw and experienced friends and relationship suffering due to a lack of real-life connectedness. Virtual connectedness does not and cannot replace real life voices and touches. Just like a text is not the same as a call, a "like" or a status update or a comment isn't the same as a coffee date or a hug. At the time we quit and for a while after, I had a few friends plead with me to get back on, so we could stay connected. I remember one conversation in particular when it finally clicked for me and I was able to express to her that if our friendship meant enough to each other, we would find ways to connect. That she would make an effort outside of FB. She didn't for quite a while, but I can say now that we are again connected. Still only through email and google chat (due to physical distance), but even that is more personal, more connected in my opinion, than a status update and comment for over 300 people (from all areas and aspects of our lives) to see.

Brittney said...

I love this post. I too saw that episode and it had the same effect on is unfathomable to me how that poor girl could be so abandoned during her tragic loss:( No one deserves that kind of treatment and I didn't blame her either for keeping her second pregnancy a secret..I am glad she was able to (hopefully) start to heal..And I agree that Facebook is much too impersonal and does create a sort of 'laziness' with friendships - I have been guilty of this before! Your words are a great reminder to reach out and connect in more tangible ways with the loved ones in our lives:) Thank you for it!

Anonymous said...

I loved this post, Callie! Thank you for reminding us the importance of TRUE friendship!

Kate Craig said...

Do you think Facebook is the problem or just people in general? I have so many friends who are so over committed and busy that they don't answer the phone or respond to emails, but they will do one liners on Facebook. I don't want to think they don't care or just drop them, so I lower my expectations. Know that I will move every few years, I want to use every way to develop/keep friendships!

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