October 21, 2017

Friends without Facebook

Posted

I’m not on Facebook.

Even as the social media site has proven to be more than a passing fad and has embedded itself into our very culture, I’d just rather stay out of it.

I’m not judging those who are on it. Facebook abuse definitely runs rampant, but many people I talk to say they use it just to keep in touch with family — see pictures of their grandkids or siblings in another state. For others it’s a business tool or something to get a few laughs out of. These sensible people aren’t posting selfies, memes or status updates every single day. I totally get that.

I’m not in my 70s and I’m not anti-technology. OK, so I do still have a flip phone. I don’t really care to have a smartphone anytime soon, or any smart technology. For many like me, there comes a point when you find you’re behind on a lot of the latest updates, and you really don’t care. It doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy learning a new program or utilizing technology that simplifies your life; but you’re more apt to be selective according to what you really need. It has something to do with priorities, choosing the hobbies and interests you most enjoy, based on your time constraints.

And for me, Facebook isn’t one of them.

I just don’t want to go through the process of choosing who will or won’t be my “friend,” and dealing with the big can of worms that opens up. I don’t want to sift through a mile-long “wall” every day. Do I feel out of the loop? Once in a while, but it’s almost never anything of consequence. If it is, most likely someone will share it with me by other means.

So I’m not on Facebook… Do I have a social life? Do I have friends?

Yes, my friends are valuable to me, valuable enough that almost any communication I have with them is done on an individual basis. Each friend is different, and each friendship is different. I have different things to share with different friends, in different ways.

So how do I balance my work/social life? There a million things vying for every minute of every day, but most of the time we have a choice. How valuable are your friends to you? Valuable enough to take an hour to have a one-on-one conversation, via phone or chat? To sit down and write a long email just sharing bits of life? I love exchanging “book emails” with friends; it harks back to the Jane Austen-era days when people would sit down and write pages of letters to a dear friend. But if you’re not longwinded, can you send a text to say “Hi, haven’t seen you in a while” or give a holiday greeting?

What about cards? I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been having a bad day and received a sweet card in the mail or a little email note saying “I’m thinking of you.” My friends know that sometimes when I get stressed, I drop off the face of the earth. They are patient with me, and thoughtful.

Some of you have a special talent for note writing. You are awesome. Keep it up! Then, for people like me, let’s work on our #goals. (That’s a thing, right?) You don’t have to buy $10 Hallmark cards. I just bought a little pack of five notecards for $1; one is gone and I have plans for two more.

And then, there’s actually visiting people. I don’t feel that it’s an intrusion if a friend stops by to chat. They’ll probably be offered one of my latest baked goods. Yes, people do overstep their bounds; don’t be one of those. But what’s wrong with just visiting people? I love hearing old-timers in the area talk about their friendships from days gone by, because somehow they seem different. People got together to help each other get things done. Why not come over and help me paint, and I’ll come over and help you weed your garden? It makes the time fly, and chances are you’ll have fun.

If you read this and thought, “I’m too busy to do that,” do you spend time on Facebook? Or maybe you’re just too busy.

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