Thursday, November 29, 2007

What is friendship?

Like many people online I have been bitten by the Facebook bug. Don't get me wrong, I think it is pretty cool being able to catch up with people I haven't seen in years, those I can't get to see physically and the odd random person I've never met but share connections with.

Yet it has me thinking, or maybe just being paranoid, insecure and generally messed up. What is friendship and what does it mean online? I've had online 'friends' or acquaintances for some time via yahoo groups and usenet. Alt.callahans used to be a great time waster but source of comfort and sometimes angst. But what do these friendships mean? Is online community an oxymoron. What do you do when someone you'd rather forget wants to be a Facebook friend (not happened to me yet)? What if you are that sort of person to someone else? Is the rejection to be taken as a serious blow to the ego? I know many people online I haven't asked to be a friend on Facebook, perhaps out of fear they'll knock me back. And do I want them as friends? Am I stamp collecting?

I collect all sorts of things: books, shells, old games, insects, DVDs. Friends aren't a possession to be cataloged but people to be treasured. Can I treasure 100 people online? 200? I'm often surprised when people accept me online - are they being gracious, collecting or what? Only time will tell, and real community, however that is made real.

2 comments:

Mike Philliber said...

Mick,

This is a wee bit of a struggle. On one hand someone could 'think' e-friendships are 'real' friendships, & that would be bad if they forsake embodied friendships. On the other hand, this can me something similar to the old 'pen-pal' thing. You can get to know people better, whom you'd never really get to know in any other way. & The gracious acceptance/rejection of 'friend' status should probably be taken on the same substantive level as a pen-pal.

I'm glad I can call you a 'friend' & that we're on the Wright Said group.

Cheers man!

Mike

Anonymous said...

Ah that's a question and a half isn't it?

What do we hope for in our friends and what is reasonable to expect.

Yes we can choose our friends but rightly we are exposed and vulnerable if we are rejected.

Good to see you are grappling with these issues. I think in today's world we too easily devalue friendship.

There are many levels of friendship and like the concentric circles we can choose who is part of our inner circle and the next level and so forth, I guess how big those circles are is probably a reflection of how big our hearts are.

Those who work with people on the streets and embrace others who are so different and maybe even difficult, like Jesus have a heart wide open to loving others, but even Jesus needed time to himself and time to recover from people

Hope face book opens up some positive friendships for you and if you are feeling messed up, take some time to ask the big questions and let God provide the answers