16 February 2012

Wanna Go For Coffee?

While talking with a friend today, and by "talking" I mean messaging, I had an insight that I hadn't fully considered before.

As much as the internet has made the world significantly smaller, it also has made the world more insular.  Many of us have far-away-friends or e-friends that we've never actually spoken to. 

Yet we know the day-to-day details of each others lives.  We know nicknames, habits, and many of the traits that one used to list on those seventh grade friendship quizzes.

While this is lovely, this expansion of our world, the addition of friends that we would otherwise never know, it has a strange side effect.


But wait, what?  I just said that we had MORE friends than we ever would have pre-interwebs, I just said we were More knowledgeable about the people in our lives so what the eff with the loneliness?

With the push of a button, the click of a mouse, our friends are there. Virtually. They are there. We get caught up on gossip, moods, and milestones.  We even "chat".

But as my friend pointed out this easy access can actually isolate us.  We know information but we don't necessarily connect or bond.  We're not intimate, even though we believe that we are.

This is not to diminish how nice it is to keep up with each other via the interwebs or to imply that I am ungrateful for my far-away friends. 

As for myself, I am forgetful.  I write here nearly every day.  I write about whatever is going on in my head in that moment.  Like after today's chat, as I was thinking about it, I planned on writing about it.  I wanted to share what I was thinking about because my friend pointed out an issue that I hadn't considered. So of course I want to share it with my friends for discussion.

I might write about Kevin being sick but did I tell bff's C & K?  Nope.  I can't tell you why, it just seems easier to write it here.  Or I'll have a sarcastic thought and tweet it instead of the email, note, or phone call that I would have done in the past.

I often wonder if I remembered to tell my friends or sister-in-law something and realize that I didn't.  I think it's because I thought I already had, I wrote it "somewhere".

Also, as my friend pointed out, we have the tendency to hibernate instead of going out. Coffee dates aren't as easy as logging in.  Scheduling get-togethers take too much time when we can catch up while laying in bed with our laptops and smart phones in mere minutes. It's easy to catch up via electronics instead of in person in this busy world.

On a positive side though, us socially anxious folk feel better with this ease of logging in and catching up.  It's not as stressful, not as anxiety making, and so much easier to stay in touch.

So, here's the thing.  I will make an effort to send that email, make that call, or go have coffee.  While we will each understand that while this whole interweb thing is easier, we have to actually See and Talk to each other.

Join me, won't you?

1 comment:

Swistle said...

I find that when I've blogged about something, I feel like I've Told The World. I even feel silly if I write about it to a friend: it feels like repeating myself. Or I feel self-conscious about needing to use different phrasing when I email about it, because otherwise it feels like I'm cut-and-pasting.

I agree; it's got upsides and downsides.