Are you a Friend or a “Friend”? How Facebook has Changed Our Lives

friendsLet’s just start off with an assumption. Even though my father always taught me not to assume anything, because… well, you probably know the line about what happens when you assume. I’m going to take a leap here and make the assumption that you are on Facebook. I’d probably be correct with about 95% of my readers. Now, take a look at your profile page. If you’re a blogger or other business person, I am just talking about your personal profile, not your business page. When you look at your profile page, how many friends do you have?

I have 86. Yup. 86 friends. Hmm. That’s an interesting number, because I know there are not 86 people who share my life with me, who know what makes me tick, who know who I really am off of this thing called Facebook. Do they support and encourage the latest things I am doing or stand by me when things don’t go as planned? Do they know what has happened to me in the past that played a part in who I am today? Do they know about my triumphs and joys, as well as my heartache? Do they know the loves I’ve lost or those who loved me at one time? Do they know the plans we have for my family’s future? Do they really know…me?

Wow. That kind of changes how we tend to look at our Facebook page doesn’t it? It kind of changes how we look at who our friends are and who we say our friends are. I mean, it’s great if you use your personal profile for networking with others, but I want you to think about something. What are you sharing on your Facebook? If you are like me, you share your life. The ups, downs and in-betweens. You share pictures of your family. You sometimes overshare things and sometimes delete them because you realize Facebook might not be the best place to say what you are feeling at the time. Have you done any of that? I have.

If I truly had to count, and not include my Facebook friends who are my family, I could use one hand for those who know me inside and out. The ones who I turn to when I need a friend. The ones who know they can call me anytime, day or night and I will be there. That is what a friend is. Not what Facebook believes friends are or who they want us to believe our friends are.

I think about one person. Jesus. He didn’t have Facebook. He didn’t have Twitter. He had a life He shared with others, but you know what? If we looked at who His true friends were, he had 12. Hmm. How is it possible that I have more friends than Jesus? Interesting. Were there other people who were in His life? Absolutely.

I’ve gone through periods of time when I have cleaned out my Facebook profile and then added more people because I knew them through something I was involved in. Then I look at my page again and realize that there are always the same people interacting with me and me with them. We are sharing our lives together. We are caring for each other. We are there for each other when things are good and not so good. Then there are people who never say a word. Never interact. Never comment when I post something is going on in my life that looks bleak. If someone can’t even be bothered to leave a comment like “I’m praying for you” (which I will get into in another post) then should I really be sharing my day to day life with them? Probably not.

And people get offended. They get offended by everything on Facebook. And people hide who they really are. At least some of them. I am not one of them. What you see is what you get. If I am having a bad day, you’ll see that. If things are awesome, you’ll see that. I don’t clean up my house or make things perfect before I take a picture and post it. If my house is a mess behind the beautiful child I am taking a picture of at the moment, then so be it. That’s me. Maybe I’m just weird. Maybe I’m an anomaly. Or maybe I’ve just figured out that what goes on in the Facebook world is meaningless. Sure, it can be used for good, but it can also cause immeasurable harm. I have had so many skirmishes with people who said they were my “friends”, even people from church who claimed to be my “friends”, who just did not like me speaking truth. I’ve had people who were “friends” slander me or my husband, not in person, but on Facebook. (because we know that Facebook is THE best way to call out people and bring up perceived issues in relationships) How did this happen? How have we gotten to a place where our “friends” really aren’t friends, where we share intimate details of our lives with pretty much complete strangers and stand by as our real relationships crumble away? And believe me, I have been just as responsible as the next person, but I am putting a stop to it.

Will you?

Oh, and believe me. I truly believe that Mark Zuckerberg knows that we have become addicted to needing to know what everyone is doing at every minute of the day, but we don’t need to know. Unless you are really a friend to me. Then I WANT to know. Wanting and needing are two different things. With my true friends, I WANT to know because you know what? They WANT to know what’s going on in my life. And not out of sheer curiosity. They want to know because they love and care about me. The feeling is mutual.

How much has Facebook changed our lives? Too much. In fact, a new verb was added to the dictionary because “friending” was not even a real word before Facebook. That’s how much our lives have changed.

So now, what I want you to do is look at your friends list. Pray over your friends list. Ask God to reveal to you the people He wants in your life. The impact that their daily input has on your life. Is it positive? Are they uplifting? Are they involved in your life…at all? If not, it may be time to…

Unfriend.

I can hear the reasons now, because I have said every one of them. But I can’t, I know them through ________. But I can’t, they might be hurt or offended. But I can’t _________.(add in your own can’t)

You can. It’s only Facebook. It’s not real life. It’s a website that gathers information and shares it online with a bunch of people. That’s it. If someone gets offended because you unfriended them, then you might want to question whether they were your friend at all and whether you should have been sharing your day to day life with them.

Now it’s up to you. Will you take the challenge and be bold enough to stand up and say, “It’s time to clean up some things in my life.” I can’t promise you that people won’t get offended (if they even realize you unfriend them-because they might have you hidden from their feed anyway). I can’t promise you there won’t be backlash. (but you won’t know about it unless they speak to you in person, email you or tell someone else). But what I will promise you is that you will realize that it was the best decision you ever made.

 

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 18:23-24

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