One of my greatest joys in the past year or so has been reestablishing friendship with six women I was very close to from elementary school until we graduated from high school, when we more or less went on with life and slowly lost contact. And then you know how Facebook works…as one friend finds another, the tentacles reach out and before you know it the circle is again complete.
Most of our conversations over the past year or so have been email or Facebook postings and those have been delightful– electronic conversations have allowed me to replace the images of 18-year-old faces with mature women with careers, families and entirely independent interests. But this past week I had the pleasure of having two of these good friends stay with us at our home for a couple of days and we did our best to fill in forty years of life.
Now I’ll tell you why I think these friendships are like good bread! Did you know that enriched flour is stripped of all its nutrients so that you get white, processed fluffy stuff? The “enriched” part is nutrients added back in after all the good whole grain has been stripped. Go figure! I like to bake bread, and prefer the heavier, unbleached whole grain flour. I think it tastes best, and I know it has better overall nutritional value.
And so when I think of the enjoyable time I spent with my two friends, Kay and Ginny, I think of a parallel. I enjoyed the real deal–all the wholesome goodness of a rich and emotionally nutritious friendship was rekindled through the privilege of a face-to-face visit. So much more satisfying than the “enriched” conversations that we settle for with Facebook or email, or sometimes even reducing conversation to texting… although I admit I do appreciate the convenient context of social media. It indeed serves an amazing purpose in our tightly scheduled lives! But think of it as “enriched” bread.
Appreciate it yes, but guard against using social media as a replacement for better integrated relationships. Consider jumping in this week and choose a friend, or two or three, which shouldn’t be hard from your three hundred or so Facebook friends, and pick up the phone for a complete conversation. Make some plans for a tasty get-together. Think of friendship as a nutrient rich experience! I guarantee a boost to your well-being.