This is yet ANOTHER blog about friendship. *sigh*
I, in NO WAY purport to being an expert on the subject, but over the years I have learned what a friend is and is not through my mistakes and through others' actions. So today when I came across an ongoing situation between a friend and one of her old friends I began to notice some people don't know who their REAL friends are.
I am not going to go into detail about the situation, but this old friend, we'll call Olivia to avoid confusion, has recently told my friend to burn the road up because she doesn't need her. Olivia has decided that her internet friends are her real friends because they encourage her shenanigans, put up with her foolishness (for their own entertainment), and tell her "yes" when they should say "AW HELLLLLLL NAW!" (sorry for the "bad" words, but seriously here...)
Social Networking sites have given the mentally unstable, lonely, bored, lost and turnT out- much like Olivia- low-self esteemers a place to run wild & free and congregate with others just like them or worse! Instead of it being a place to keep in touch with folks, it has made many people lose touch with reality.
So many people say the internet isn't real life... and to a certain degree I concur. But at the same time these are REAL people with whom we are dealing. When I start taking people or things TOO seriously, it's time to let it go. Nothing on the internet should be THAT serious. If it isn't worth handling in person, then it's not worth getting upset about over the net. But there are Olivias out there that use Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, etc. for validation and comfirmation.
The first place I go when I have a real life issue is to the Lord, then inside, then my friends and family. The first place OLIVIA goes is to Facebook. There is a diconnect here! is NOTHING private, sacred, or just too embarassing for you to discuss in the wide open like that? Not family, not children, not sex, not alcohol.... EVERYTHING is for public dissection and consumption. Eventually the lines begin to blur between right & wrong, good & bad, friends & foes, reality & fantasy. Eventually you begin to craft your own reality from your internet life and that NEW reality becomes all that matters.
What Olivia fails to realize is that when it ALL really falls down. My friend cannot and will not be there to help her put it back together like she has done before. This internet family that she has built up like a fortress to protect her from the miserable existance that is her true reality likely won't be there when she REALLY needs something. She is relying heavily on them to fill the empty space within her and THEY are relying heavily on her for entertainment. But she can't see it because, for now the attention is all she wants and craves. Reality has become too much for her and has since been replaced by internet life. As she stands there contemplating on the RIGHT thing to decide... her internet friends are leading her in the WRONG direction and her real friends are being kicked to the curb or in SOME cases abandoning a sinking ship!
So what is the moral of this "story"? The internet is a place where REAL people congregate, but it is NOT your REALITY. REAL friends aren't only there when you want to go out & have fun... or when you turn on your computer. They're there when you have no place else to go, no money to spend and nothing to celebrate. REAL friends don't agree with all of your ideas and co-sign & "like" every update. They tell you when you're wrong, advise you to make better decisions, tell you what you don't want to hear and ask you to have a seat when you're doing too much. REAL friends don't air their issues with you on social networking sites. They pull you to the side, call you on the phone, and sometimes they even let you make your own mistakes & look silly all by yourself. REAL friends help you fill that empty space PROPERLY.
I just hope that the next time Olivia needs someone to run to, she has at least one REAL friend left.