Friday, October 03, 2008

Friendship

"If a man does not make new acquaintance as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man, Sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair."
Samuel Johnson

As I just wrote to a friend, and as I've mentioned here, I occasionally have a love/hate relationship with the blogging world. So much of it feels intimate and cozy, warm and open. I feel pulled into people's lives through their blogs, experiencing with them the ins and outs of their lives, generally celebrating the good but sometimes experiencing the unthinkable with them. Or at least it feels that way. Sometimes though that cuddly feeling masks an empty intimacy. Something that lacks substance, context and true depth.

At times we are fortunate to truly share in each other's lives via the 'net and even form acquaintances that turn into something deeper and richer. Often though it has felt to me that we just seem to skim along the surface of each other's existence without the burden of the more difficult practice of maintaining relationships through hard work, effort and contact. We don't really know each other and have no idea what we're all really like. We're missing that essential nitty gritty contact that mandates the bad to be seen along with the good and allows someone to love you anyway.

Out of such thoughts and experiences was born my love/hate relationship with the blogging community. Until I realized something.

The 'net and its active blogging community doesn't have a lock on superficiality with regards to human interaction. "Real" life and its accompanying relationships can be just as fleeting, just as empty of true intimacy as any online relationship. Even deeply held and cherished friendships can fade without the effort necessary to sustain them. "Real" life and its accompanying stresses can erode away the time and will necessary to maintain and strengthen friendships. I'm truly fortunate to have some lovely friends, something for which I'm grateful every day. Surprisingly though, via a medium that I sometimes feel uncertain about or even antagonistic toward, I've rediscovered some old friends. Seen their blogs and read the details of their lives, details that I should have been aware and cognizant of. That experience definitely made me think and brought home to me how lax I've been in maintaining those lovely friendships and how much I've missed them. It also brought home to me how fortunate I feel being able to see these blogs, to connect via this medium. Something I truly wasn't prepared for.

The moral of this ramble? Well, there really isn't one. Other than to say . . . umm . . . I guess I was wrong.

Again.

Cherish your friends - online or off. Real world or cyber world. However you found them and however you connect. The world's a pretty nice place with them in it.

"I do not wish to treat friendships daintily, but with the roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass threads or frost-work, but the solidest thing we know."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

4 comments:

Tink said...

This post trips my trigger....I could not agree with you more. Here I am in Colorado, far away from home, yet able to connect with friends via computer. It has been seven days since I have done anything via a computer, yet today I connect and get to delight in blog entries posted this past week by my buddies back home. Big blog hugs to you my pal....lets get the gang together soon. :)

Cindy said...

Amen! Yessirree! All friendships enrich our lives. I love our little reconnections...whether by phone or computer. We're due for some face time, though. :)

countrymouse said...

As I was reading this, I was thinking that the internet community is just like a real life community--we all connect with lots of folks on a surface level and a few on a much deeper level. And then you came up with the same conclusion. Which must mean that we're both right : )

Via internet, I've become close with a few people. One of these connections has been live changing--in a good way--for us both. It wouldn't have happened had it not occurred in writing. Interesting that I can be more intimate in writing than in person . . .

Mrs. Staggs said...

This post is well written Mary, and discusses something that I've struggled with a lot. Being a real friend takes time, and happens over time, I think. I've found that I have a hard time balancing that in the blogging community, sometimes. I have found blogging has added to my life in a great many positive ways though, and is worth the effort that I try to take with it, despite being a very shy person in general. I don't always meet others expectations, but my family and a few others seem to accept and appreciate the efforts I've made to overcome that in this forum. Somehow, it's easier for me, than in person, at times. I have met some wonderful people through blogging. I sure do appreciate the friendship you've shown me. Thank you.

I love the new look of your blog!