I've been noticing my online friendships of late, just kind of observing what they are doing and what I am doing about them. Over the past four months or so I've seen less interest in myself to go over to a friends blog site or Twitter, or facebook site. I've wondered if I'm less of a friend or don't care any more about them or even if this whole internet connection thing is past due. That's really done a number on my head because it makes me feel less than whole.
These friends I have, now scattered throughout the world have fed my spirit in the past. We've shared deep moments and an occasional insight, and in so doing we've shared life. But lately it feels like there is really no life there in words or pictures on a screen. It's not that we are no longer friends, but for some reason I'm missing something from our friendship that I can't get from an online representation.
Finally it dawned on me the other day as I was leaving a comment on a good friends blog.
To be honest I haven't been hitting the blogs too much lately because, I don't know why. Something to do with always being with my friends in this virtual space and wanting so much just a good old face to face. My heart can only stand the distance so long and then it's hungry for a kiss on the cheek or a bear hug or even a pint across from a friend.
It's like half a relationship if you can only read about the person. If you never get to sit with them or be together then how does a relationship grow? Even with a live Skype video call, there is no place for sitting together in silence or moving together to another room or a walk or laughing at subtle jokes. This lack of intimacy is the biggest hole social networking has in it. It's networking socially for power's sake. For making bigger networks and having many followers. It's not for making and carrying friendships because it lacks the ability to share intimacy.
What I'm after in a friendship, is intimacy shared. Moments where hearts can be shared, honestly. Where laughter can be shared and joy celebrated. Where tears can flow and no words need to be spoken because presence is enough. In fact, it's everything.
When I add the online "presences" to flesh and blood connections, then it enhances our relationship. But when the online is all that we have, it feels like the life is slowly drained away from the connection, until it becomes a dried up empty shell of a relationship.
I'm wondering if there are many people out there, running around thinking they have hundreds of friends because they've been "Friended" by people. When in fact they don't. They don't even know what a friend is.
So I'm rethinking my online stuff. How does one create intimacy or shared moments with another human being? How do we build good friendships even with these online tools, or can we.
That's really what we are all after, I think.
It feels like I have a better sense of myself and my own needs these days, and after months of kind of worrying about it, that realization makes me feel a lot better.
Seems I'm human after all.