A friend posted on facebook the other day that, as he was approaching 30, he now understood what his mother meant when she told him that by this age he would count his true friends on one hand. And I should note this is someone with 2,500 facebook friends and over 10,000 instagram followers.
Friendship has always been important to me, I’ve written about my struggles with it on this blog before. Recently the topic has again been on my mind (maybe it’s an annual thing.) But whereas the losing of a friend has been a very emotional and personal thing for me in the past, I’m now looking at such change in a more contemplative manner.
Taxman and I went out to dinner last week and we chatted about this topic. He is someone who has no close friends (other than me) and it has always been the case. He just exists as a solo entity. I admire his stoic nature (it’s very much like my father.) He, on the other hand, did suggest that he would like to be more connected to people, as I can be. (See the grass is always greener.) But he said he had noticed that the negative things that people sometimes do, and the changing nature of friendships, wasn’t impacting me in the way that it used to. I agree, and I call that progress.
One reason for this change is that I am more focussed on what people can bring to my life, and vice versa. For too long I’ve wanted to be friends with people because I wanted friends, and to be liked. Not because there was a positive connection. I’ve held on to a few friendships for way too long, including those which would be considered toxic, because I didn’t want to let go. I now look at the behaviour of some of my ‘friends’ and think maybe this isn’t the energy I need in my life right now.
Popularity and being liked is something that I’ve wasted an extraordinarily long time on. I was one of those high school girls that was hyper conscious of the hierarchies of popularity at school (but also outside it as I was too stubborn to conform to the required ideals for beauty and activity.) Now I exercise my angst in this area by monitoring my twitter followers and blog likes.
Now I’ve got my personal response to friendship in a more balanced perspective, I do think I need to work on the online presence. I love social media, but I do watch my stats and followers just a little bit too closely. So I’m now taking steps to focus on this.
Firstly, I’m getting off electronic devices at night when I’m home. I spend 8-10 hours a day on the computer/iphone/ipad for work purposes, I do not need to follow twitter when watching Breaking Bad as well. (Except when twitter is part of the show, like #qanda.) I’m also not going to check how many followers/likes/stats I have any more. This is a hard one for me, as I do look at blog post stats a LOT. I’ve contemplated quitting the blog, and quitting facebook (again) but the blog is a great record for me food wise, and I still use facebook for my not-for profit work….so I’m stuck there for now. It is funny that it is twitter and facebook that cause me the most angst (but facebook has been the most enlightening in terms of highlighting the people I may not really want in my life.) There’s something about instagram that makes it a positive experience – why is that so?
Any tips for keeping balance in the online world?