Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Friendship


Gotta be very careful here. After all, this is a blog, which means "web log," and it is online. Lest this seem like a diatribe against the internet or any one online community, let me offer some reasons I like the internet. I buy books online, both eBooks and print books. Online, I check the weather, read the news, and I am one of the few folks who still likes email. Well, most of the time, I like email. My classes at my tech school job have an online component, which means I don't have to grade tests, which is a wonderful thing. I found my publishers online, my avenue to follow other authors' careers is mostly online, I even see how much I will or will not be paid online. However, as I spend time online and mostly offline, I see that the internet can and often does screw up relationships. Cases in point: Folks have actually sent some of my posts (some deleted, some still around) as evidence of my wicked character. My daughter has been the victim of cyberstalking by so-called friends, and she continues to have problems with long-distance venom. My son has also been lead astray by an online pal. Certainly, I have seen the dark side of online communications. Recently, the Wall Street Journal published an article entitled "How Facebook Ruins Friendships" and the premise behind it is sound.

Some years ago, I was at a store and someone I know came up and we chatted for about five minutes. My daughter was about ten at the time and she posed the question, "Is that lady your friend?" After we got out of hearing distance, I told her that the lady was an acquaintance. To further illustrate, I mentioned that someone who visits your house or you visit their house, someone you have lunch with, or someone you talk to regularly on the phone would be classified as a "friend;" but that someone I knew from a previous job, such as the lady I had conversed with, would be classified as an "acquaintance."

I have a Facebook account that I seldom use, and when I do access it, my purpose is to view my own children's public pages. Yet, I have "friend" requests from people I could not count as acquaintances, much less friends. To call folks whom I talk to only online as friends is to cheapen the term.

My circle of friends is not large, but they are real people, who call to have lunch, sit with me in church, or send cards when I am having a difficult time in life. I love my friends, for they are quite real.

This post is not to trash online sites, but to remind readers to get off of the computer, get out of the house, and invite a friend to lunch.

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