Showing posts with label Friendship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Friendship. Show all posts

Why And How I Deleted Half My Facebook Friends



It's been two weeks since I cut my number of Facebook friends in half.

In November I decided to take a social media break (I wrote a little about why here), but through the entire year of 2019, I've been slowly starting to question the role that social media has been playing in my life.  I knew I was on social media way too much, using it as a distraction from the boring moments in my day.  The last straw was when I started to find myself holding my phone, scrolling through Instagram, without consciously making the decision to pick it up.

So right before Thanksgiving I got off Facebook and Instagram, which I've never done before.  During my break, I read several really helpful books, and took a good hard look at Facebook and Instagram to figure out what role I really wanted them to be playing in my life.  Maybe I'll discuss Instagram another day.  I'm still figuring that one out, since like it or not, Instagram is kind of the place for bloggers to be.  But today I thought I'd share one thing I figured out about Facebook over my social media break, and it's this:

Facebook keeps people from fading from your life.




If you had mentioned this to me a few years ago, I would have viewed that as a good thing.  Now, I'm not so sure.  I have started to consider that maybe some people are meant to fade from your life, and that doesn't have to be a bad thing.

There are people who aren't really friends, just acquaintances that passed through your life for a time. There are friends that you used to have alot in common with, but over the years you've drifted apart.  There are people that you were hoping to develop a friendship with, but years have passed and nothing has ever come of it.

I've always had a hard time letting people go, and I do still think there is value in being a tenacious friend, in making the effort to keep in touch with people who mean something to you.  But it's a tricky thing to balance when social media now gives you the ability to superficially keep in touch with your cousin's-husband's-sister who you met once five years ago.  Or that one person you hung out with at camp, but really don't know at all.  Or someone you used to work with, but who you haven't seen in five years.

Fifty years ago, you would have gradually lost touch with these people, no harm, no foul.  I used to think that was sad, but now I wonder whether it was a blessing in disguise.  These days, the social norm is for these relationships to linger indefinitely on Facebook, because no one wants to hurt the other's feelings by "unfriending" them.  If you dare to unfriend someone, you have to be prepared for the possibility of a conversation when you eventually run into them...or drama behind your back.

It must have been simpler back in the day when people were just allowed to drift apart.



One day I woke up and realized that a majority of my friends list on Facebook were these kinds of relationships.  People I don't really know anymore, or never really knew at all, had all this information about everything that was going on in my life, and I had information about what was going on in their life too.  But without ever putting in the effort to be an actual real-life friend to each other.

Not everyone should have unlimited access to your life.

And some people are meant to be in your life only for a season.

As I contemplate all of this, I also fully resonated with this article about how we make unfriending too much of a "thing".  I actually think we have made Facebook interactions in general too much of a "thing". The article mentions that we have started "validating our real life friendships by our online friendships", as if we aren't really friends with someone unless we are also Facebook friends with them.  I especially liked the question the author asks:

"When we feel like we need to add someone as a friend or maintain their access on Facebook in order to substantiate our interactions in reality, haven’t we reversed the natural process?"

And yes, I think we have.  




Personally, Facebook's most valuable functions in my life have always been as a convenient platform to share multiple photos with my grandparents and aunts and uncles (and other people who care about my children and don't get to see them often), and as a tool to facilitate real-world, face-to-face interactions with people.  

So during my Facebook break, I really started thinking about how to make sure that Facebook was serving those specific functions in my life, and drawing the line there.  To a certain extent, I had allowed social media to fill other functions in my life without my conscious permission.  I don't want Facebook to be a boredom buster, a friendship barometer, a self esteem-booster (or conversely, destroyer), a platform for all my thoughts (that's what this blog is for), a tool for life-comparison, an acquaintance-spying tool, or a cheap substitute for meaningful friendships (more on this coming in another post I think).  

I want Facebook to be just what I said - a photo-sharing tool between close friends and family, and a facilitator for setting up my face-to-face interactions.  That's all.

In order to fit Facebook into the box I had decided on, I realized that I was going to have to unfriend some people.  That's a hard decision to make, because for a lot of people, unfriending is taken as a personal insult.  I was afraid that some people, people I still like and wish the very best for, would take it that way.  I know some people probably did take it that way, but I posted this before I started purging, in an effort to explain:


"Hi Guys! I wanted to let you all know that in the next few days I'll be whittling down my friends list. Since taking my Facebook break, I've realized that some people struggle with social media more than others, and I am one of those people. I knew when I came back to Facebook I was going to have to make some changes, and this is one of them.If I disappear from your friend list in the next couple days, I hope with all my heart that you will know that it is nothing against you at all! This is more about my own personal social media mental health (how's that for a made-up term?), in an effort to maintain a proper balance in my digital life. If you ever want to connect or get together with me, I would absolutely welcome interaction outside of Facebook, through a text, phone call, email, snail mail, etc!  I'm thankful for all of you, and what you've added to my life over the years! I hope we can connect in the future outside a screen.  <3"


And then I took the advice and encouragement from someone who has done this before, and I cut over half of my friend's list.



Time will tell if there will be unforeseen negative repercussions, but so far I've received mostly positive responses.  I'll continue to refine my friend's list until I've achieved the balance that I'm looking for, but for now, I feel lighter.  I'm satisfied that Facebook is now more functional as a tool that serves me, instead of the other way around.  And I'm spending much less time on it.

The hardest part for me in purging my friends list was deciding who to keep and who to let go. As I tried to make some hard decisions, I was heartened by this quote from Digital Minimalism:

"It's worth noting that refusing to use social media...to interact means that some people will inevitably fall out of your social orbit - in particular, those whose relationship with you exists only over social media.  Here's my tough love reassurance - let them go. The idea that it's valuable to maintain vast numbers of weak-tie social connections is largely an invention of the past decade or so...Humans have maintained rich and fulfilling social lives for our entire history without needing the ability to send a few bits of information each month to people we knew briefly during high school."
-Digital Minimalism, pg 155

Let them go.

So I held my breath and took the plunge.  I kept some people that I am hopeful will turn into real-world friends, but I may have to do another purge in the future if nothing comes of those relationships.  I let go of some people that I genuinely like and wouldn't mind being friends with - but I've been Facebook friends with them for years, and we never see each other anymore.

I hope those people will understand that even though we are no longer Facebook friends, that doesn't mean that I don't want real-life interaction with them.  I am hoping that anyone who really would  have liked to keep in touch with me will reach out to set something up, or send a note, outside of social media.

And for the ones that don't - well, I guess we were meant to fade from each other's lives after all.






The Wednesday Five | Vol. 6



A Quote

"The woods are so human that to know them one must live with them.  An occasional saunter through them, keeping to the well-trodden paths, will never admit us to their intimacy,  If we wish to be friends, we must seek them out and win them by frequent, reverent visits at all hours, by morning, by noon, and by night; and at all seasons, in spring, in summer, in autumn, in winter...They have their own effective way of keeping aliens at a distance and shutting their hearts to mere casual sightseers.  It is no use to seek the woods from any motive except sheer love of them; they will find us out at once and hide all their sweet, old-world secrets from us.  But if they know we come to them because we love them, they will be very kind to us and give us such treasures of beauty and delight as are not bought or sold in any marketplace."
- Lucy Maud Montgomery, The Blue Castle

A little anthropomorphizing of the woods for you this morning, ha!  I always like L. M Montgomery's fanciful descriptions in her books though, and this one was sweet and a little true, I thought.

A Book

So, I started reading Little Women, which I've never actually read.  You are all welcome to be shocked now.

A Bit Of Nature


If you wake up early enough, and keep an eye out, there is a five minute window when the light coming up over the mountains is just gorgeous.

A Recommendation

So, I thought I'd give you a couple recommendations that were given to me this week.  One is this pumpkin chili recipe.  I had friends over for a book chat this week, and the conversation turned to different chili recipes.  Pumpkin chili sounds interesting, so I think I'm going to have to try it one of these days!

The other recommendation was Wick Wish Candle Co - this company makes "literary and fandom" candles.  One of the girls brought over a couple of hers on our book chat night, so we could smell them, and they were so cool!  And weirdly they did smell like the books they were representing.  I want one now (maybe for Christmas).  The ones I smelled were "Jane Austen", "Anne Shirley", and "Little Women" and they were so good.

A Moment Of Happiness

This one is going to double as one more recommendation - if you have the room, you should consider a big dog.  Maybe a bloodhound mutt, like our Harvey.


(Harvey, crashing the pictures I was trying to take for the Stitchfix post that I keep forgetting to share!)

As I was doing my devotions this morning, our big 'ole dog came over to me and stuck his nose on top my lap, and while it can be a little annoying at times, I love how sweetly he gets his message across.  I scratched his ears and let him outside, and now he is back in, snoring behind me as I type this.  The sound makes me smile.

I love having a big dog, because whenever the kids are outside I know he is keeping an eye on them and will alert me if any strangers or questionable wildlife come too close.  And when Derek has to be gone for work trips, I honestly don't know what I'd do without Harvey - he sleeps at the foot of the stairs and makes me feel safe.  I'm really grateful for him.  He started out a little like the puppy in Marley And Me, but just like in that movie, he is a better and better dog with each year.

(If you want to join me for your own "Wednesday Five", feel free!)

On Spying On People I Used To Know | Short Thoughts #1


I sat down this morning to write a chatty post and realized that each mini-section was ending up too long for my typical "tea on a Tuesday" type post, so I'm going to try something different this week.  I'm splitting up what could be a very long post into "short thoughts" posts.  So expect a few of these posts this week, because I've had enough on my mind lately.  Here we go.

---

Yesterday, while not feeling well because of some sort of ear infection I have brewing, I picked up my phone to zone out for a while and somehow found myself looking up people that I used to know on Facebook.  Not to friend them, just to poke around and see what became of them.

I know I am not the only one who does this, right?  But after looking up two or three people I suddenly became aware again, and asked, "Self, why are you doing this?"

I didn't really want to be friends with these girls again, so I had no intention of adding them on social media.  And it's not like they were the mean girls and I needed to prove something to myself either (well, not too much anyway - maybe a tiny bit).

I was mainly just...curious.

What a weird world that we live in, where we can remember someone from 15 years ago and immediately go spy on them on social media.  It's the kind of world that makes high school reunions obsolete, and that kind of makes me sad.

I think I would rather go 15 years without the ability to know anything about a person at all, and then run into them in the flesh at a reunion.  Catch up on their life all in one go, hear it from their own mouth, make note of the look in their eyes as they tell you what they've been up to.  Physically and emotionally see if there is any hope for a friendship left there, or if it was a good thing it faded in the first place.

And then I thought, I wonder if people that I used to know are spying on me.

That is a weird thought.

In many ways social media and blogs are a blessing - they let us keep in touch with people that we care about who may have faded away otherwise.  But they also allow us to keep people in our lives that it might be better to have fade away.

Perhaps it requires a lot of wisdom to know the difference, and to know how to handle these current times.  It's hard being the first generation to really figure out how to navigate the social media era with wisdom and grace and proper boundaries.

And as my little exhaustion-induced spying proves, I clearly have not figured it all out yet.


I guess if I have anything else to say about it, it would just be to encourage you (and myself) to evaluate whether it's worth reconnecting with the people that come to your mind - and if it is, reconnect!  Send a quick message and say hi.  Social media can be a wonderful way to naturally rekindle friendships.

And if you know that person you are curious about is not the kind of person you should reconnect with - well, try to pretend social media doesn't exist, mind your own business a bit, and let it fade.  Some people are only meant to be in your life for a season, and with social media now, sometimes we have to actively choose to keep it that way.

Have you ever spied on someone you used to know on social media?  (Come on, guys, 'fess up.  I know I'm not the only one.)

Why did you look them up?  Do you think it would be better if we didn't have that option?  


A Trip To The Ranch (And A New Turntable)



We have eight inches of snow outside my window as I type this.  Hello Spring! 

My appetite must be back, because all this snow has me in the mood to make ginger cookies.  Who says it has to be a Christmas thing?  I'm contemplating the concept of making some gingerbread egg-shaped cookies...Easter is right around the corner, after all!  We could fancily frost them and everything.  I've always loved gingerbread better than sugar cookies.

A Trip To See Friends

This last weekend Derek and I loaded the kids up and took a mini road trip to visit our rancher friends!  I grew up with these ladies in a tiny white-steepled church in the mountains before they moved away, and they will always be dear friends of mine.  We always have such a nice time when we visit them, and they are such an encouragement to me.  

The kids loved seeing the lambs and calves (some of them born just the night before!), riding in the chuckwagon, getting to watch the baby animals have their bottles, chasing the chickens, and riding a pony!

(Of course my camera battery died, so I had to rely on phone pics - hence no pictures inside the barn of the cute lambs.  You can see my cute kids outside instead.)




(Grooming the pony!) 





(One of the best pictures to date of Clarice's curls!) 



(Bringing the wagon around for a ride!) 


 (My dear friends and myself - Holly, Me, Hazel, Heidi.)

We had lunch together and we adults had a nice time to visit too.  And the sweetest thing was that Holly gave me (drumroll please)...a Victrola turntable!  I am so excited!  She had read that I wanted one on my blog, and she wanted to give me this one as a "just because" gift.  She included the sweetest note of encouragement that was just what I needed to hear.  I felt so blessed by her thoughtfulness!

The Turntable

I have been so excited ever since I got the turntable home, and I went to the thrift store the next day to hunt down a few records to try out on it.  I love it!  Vinyl records sound so different than CD's or digital music, and I am a huge fan.  




So far I found a classical music record that ended up being more of a jazzy classical version.  I was wondering how they fit so many pieces on one CD - it's because they are all up-tempo medleys. It's okay, but not quite what I was looking for.  I'll try again for a different classical record the next time I am at the thrift store.  I also found a Flyin' W Wranglers record (which is fun cowboy-style music), a Hawaiin collection (there is my desire for Summer winning out again), a hymn record that is excellent, and Peter And The Wolf (narrated by Lorne Greene! Of Bonanza fame).  The kids have been requesting Peter And The Wolf over and over again, so that has dominated our player so far, but I am excited to go hunting for some other good records to play on it.

Anyone else have a turntable out there?  Where do you find records?  Isn't it the most fun way to play music?!

Old School Blogger Shoutout

I've been a horrible blog reader since the first trimester hit - all my blog reading time now goes to napping.  I'ms sorry!  Hoping to change this soon.  However, here is a new blog I have been enjoying reading, It's Just Angi, and Angi is just the sweetest.  I have been enjoying swapping comments and getting to know her over the last month or so!

What I'm Drinking:  I finally got over my uptightness about caffeine in the first trimester (it just takes me a while with each pregnancy), so I have been allowing myself some decaf coffee here and there! Ah, sweet nectar!  I'm drinking Boyer's Mountain Roast Decaf with CoffeeMate Chocolate Toffee Truffle creamer.




Hikes, Hurts, And Haircuts



Does anyone else have a hard time getting back to the rhythm of life after New Year's?  This week feels like the first "normal" week since before Christmas - and it's not even actually normal since we had a long weekend for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  I'm declaring today an honorary Tuesday, so this old-fashioned post is a day late (but not really, because it's an honorary Tuesday).

A Winter Walk

I am happy to report that our sickness last week was fairly short-lived.  I had about a day and a half of feeling miserable, and then I felt almost totally better the next day.  A couple days after we had all seemed to recover from our cold I was definitely feeling the cabin fever though.  So I decided we'd take a winter walk!  I see no reason why we can't still enjoy the outdoors in the winter (we just have to bundle up first).  I drove us all to a stream, and the kids had a grand ole time poking through the ice with sticks.  It was a short walk, but it was lovely.  I think we might do it again this week.



























First Friendship Hurt

Today I sat down to type this with my bowl of mini wheats, Gwen sitting in the chair next to me.  Then I heard "Bobby* doesn't talk to me anymore."  I looked up, and she was looking at me with big, sad brown eyes.  She just looked at me, because I'm the mom and it's my job now to explain these things and make them better.  And my heart broke a little, and I didn't know what to say to my sweet little four-year-old with her first friendship hurt.

I remember the first time it occurred to me that my children were going to be hurt by their friends.  When Wyatt was about two years old, he made a little friend in his nursery class at church.  Every time I sent him in, his friend would grab his arm and include him in whatever the kids were playing.  I stood outside the nursery window and watched this once, and I just remember feeling that squeeze in my heart.  I was so happy he had a little friend, but I was also strangely scared.  What if his friend dumped him eventually?  What if the friend decided he liked playing with someone else more and Wyatt felt left out?

I've had my share of friendship hurts, but it's even harder for me to think about my kids being hurt.  I know it's the nature of the beast, so to speak.  You can't really venture out and make the good friends without also taking the potential for hurt that comes with it, but knowing that doesn't make it easier to watch your children as they take steps into the friendship minefield.  It's only a matter of time.  I just pray that they'll find friends who are good enough to make the risks worth it.

I looked at Gwen, grasping for words.  I mumbled something about little boys going through a stage where they only want to play with the other boys, and said "I'm sorry, honey."  It seemed to be good enough.  Now she's bouncing around Clarice's high chair and laughing, friendship woes forgotten.

I'm the one still sitting here thinking about it.

Hair Color and Cut

Moving on to something more superficial, this week is not only inauguration week (for which I've planned a whole little President unit study for our homeschool), but it's also haircut week!  For me, and for the boys (because I need to break out the razor and give them a haircut this week).  I still can't bear to cut Gwen's hair.

On Saturday I'm getting my hair cut and colored.  This is what it looks like now:



I think it looks fine now, but I'm overdue for a trim.  The shape is getting a little wonky, and I wouldn't mind an inch or so taken off (not too much because I want to grow it out a little for the summer, but we'll see).  The part I'm having a hard time with is the color.  I'll probably just get my usual blonde and red highlights, but part of me wonders if I should try something new.

What is "in" these days?  I rarely color or highlight my hair, and I am definitely not up to date on current hair trends.  I kind of do my own thing, at least thus far, but I am going to ask my hairstylist/friend if she has any ideas.  I kind of like these (ignore the purple and blue ideas, those are for if/when I get up the nerve someday - which is not today).

Brunette Friends, do you color or highlight your hair?  What's your favorite look?  Should I try something new or stick with the old stand-by?

I'll post an updated picture next week!

What I'm Drinking: Celestial Seasonings Coconut Thai Chai.  Think of a more summery spin on chai tea.  It's good!

Old School Blogger Shoutout:

Felicia at Behind The Yellow Door - My dear friend Felicia has jumped on the old-fashioned blogging bandwagon!  She wrote a post about her New Year's Goals, and I think I need to steal her book goal for myself (too many books, you know).

Bekah at Shafferland - Bekah is a newer blog friend, and I have really been enjoying getting to know her better through her blog!

*Bobby is not the real name.  But it seems like a great fake little boy name, right?










What Do You Want To Teach Your Kids About Friendship?




Do you remember the very first friend you made?  Are you still friends with that person?  I am curious because I made my first friend in first grade, because we found out we were reading the same books (which I'm sure surprises none of you who read this blog regularly).  Unfortunately the friendship didn't last beyond the beginning of third grade, but that's another story for another day.  

Seeing my own kids making friends now has made me think harder about what kinds of things I want to teach them about being a good friend.  What makes a good friend?  What can you do to help your kids treat their little friends well?  

I'd love to hear your answers to these questions.  Personally, Proverbs is like a handbook for friendship to me - there are so many principles there for all kinds of relationships, including friendship.  I wrote a post that is up over at Tommy Nelson featuring some of my favorite Scriptural principles for friendship - and how to teach those to our children from a young age!  

Check it out, and please let me know what you try to teach your kids about friendship in the comments below!  I'd love to hear!


How I Stop Comparing On Social Media





I'm sitting down with a bowl of salad and scrolling through my Facebook feed.  I have carefully curated my feed to make sure that I will only see updates that I want to see - updates on what my good friends are doing, pictures of their cute kids, interesting articles.  I have blocked all complain-y posts and I'm not friends with anyone who annoys me, so it's about as harmless as a Facebook feed can get.

But as I scroll, there is a small knot in my stomach that twists a little.  

Oh, she got to go to Hawaii?  How fun is that?  Why can't we afford Hawaii?  

Oh my goodness, look at her adorable baby.  Perfectly styled, no less.  I need to buy new outfits and take new pictures of the kids.  

Oh, the newlyweds are on another date night.  I think they've had about five date nights since Derek and I went out last.  Was that three or four months ago?

Suddenly I am feeling a little jealous and much less content with my life.  

And you know what, I can't even blame my Facebook feed - it's carefully curated, remember?  I want to see this stuff.  No, the problem isn't with social media or anything else.  It's with me.

I have a comparison problem.

I know I am not the only one who struggles with comparison - this is a hot topic.  But no matter how many articles I read on the subject, no matter how much I am reminded that I have it pretty darn good too, it is still hard not to let that knot twist me into a discontented mess.

(Note: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for a review.)


I was excited when I saw a book available for review called "I'm Happy For You . . . Sort Of . . . Not Really" by Kay Willis Wyma.  Don't you love that title?  I'm not going to lie, I have secretly had those feelings in that exact order.  Many times.

This book was so helpful to me in this struggle with comparison.  As I was reading through it I was more aware of comparison than I normally am, and I realized just how much it affects my day-to-day happiness.  When I am so focused one what everyone else is doing, it's harder to be happy for the things I have, and this book brought sharply into focus for me.

The chapters addressed different areas of comparison and reasons why this is such a struggle in our modern culture.  One thing that stood out to me in this book is that comparing to others is the way we can be sucked into the sin of coveting.  Whenever we desire something that someone else has (often through comparing what we have to what they have and coming up wanting), we are coveting.  Comparison doesn't just "steal our joy", it is also a gateway into sin.

I love the solution this book offers to the comparison problem - to say "I'm happy for you" and mean it.  Without a hint of sarcasm.  It's not easy to do, but the book made me realize that being happy for someone isn't just something I feel, it is something I actively choose to do.  

It's hard to pick a favorite chapter because the whole book was so good, but I really appreciated the chapter on the need to belong.  This chapter was a good wake-up call to me that people want to feel known.  It should have been obvious to me, because I know that I want others to notice and encourage me - so of course other people want the same.  I felt challenged to look at those around me with fresh eyes, notice what makes them unique, and maybe even tell them.  I want to be the person who can make someone else feel noticed and special.

Since I started reading this book I have been trying to truly be happy for those around me.  So when I scroll through my Facebook feed, my goal is to turn off the train of thought that will lead me to be jealous of my friends, and instead smile to myself at their blessings. 

And the one thing that has helped me most in overcoming the comparison game? 

I like the status update and comment with something encouraging.  

It is really hard not to be happy for someone when you focus on crafting a non-sarcastic, truly happy comment.  It's the perfect solution because it encourages them, and I feel my own heart changing in the process.  It's a chance to slow down and remember that I do really care about this person, and I am really happy for them, regardless of my own situation.  It takes my eyes off me, and puts it onto others - and maybe even directs my mind to God as I shoot up a "thanks for blessing my friend" prayer.

So the next time you find yourself feeling a little jealous as you scroll through your social media feed?  Type out a nice comment and mean it.  I know it's made Facebook a lot more fun for me!

Do you struggle with comparison and jealousy on social media?  What do you do to overcome it?

Note:  I received a copy of "I'm Happy For You" for free in exchange for a review.  This is my honest opinion.



(Also, yes, I didn't paint my toes for this picture.  (1) It's the dead of winter, and (2) no time.)

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