I am picking up on the theme I wrote about last week- social media. Today is more about the concept of “friends”, “likes”, and relationships. Last night I had a conversation, a face-to-face conversation with someone important to me. We talked until midnight—two people sitting in a living room laughing and sharing stories. This person happens to be a dear friend, and also my mother.
During our evening we covered many topics including telling stories of an old family friend who used to be able to create chaos, total silliness, and total commitment. We had lots of moments to remember. Each story, some very very funny, had to do with an experience one of us had with this friend. Face-to-face experience.
With email, FB, and Twitter we’ve started having friends and colleagues we’ve either never met or have met only once or twice. They are our “friends”. This has become a safety net of communication for many. How many loops do you belong to? How much encouragement have you received after you share a victory or a disappointment? How often do you post a question to a loop so others will help you out of the corner you’ve written yourself into? I reach out for clarification in tiny details I want to get right.
I do it all the time. I seek out many of these contacts. They are my friends. And, I can find them while I am sitting in my kitchen wearing PJs.
One writer friend and I touch base nearly daily. She is in Europe; I’m in the US. She is a professional chef on a luxury private yacht. We write about our writing, about what’s happening in each of our lives, what is driving us nuts, exchange recipes (she is a chef after all), what the next project will be, and more. I consider her a good friend. She's planning on visiting me this summer- and we have two books thought through for which we will collaborate. Yet, we’ve only spent a few days together two years ago at the Brainstorming in Matera, Italy time I have told you about. I would be deeply saddened to lose contact with her. But that is part of the point I am making. How many people do you have as friends that you might never have met, or have met in passing? She is not "in passing". But so many are.
We have developed a new paradigm for communication. In part it’s fantastic. Yet again, as I now sit in a nightgown writing this to whomever wishes to read it, we are living in tiny bubbles.
I still laugh about the stories my mother and I told last night. They wouldn’t have been the same if we only had the words on our screen.