My husband and I are like two peas in a pod. We’re so incredibly similar. We love blogging. We’re obsessed with cars. We love the same movies and songs. We laugh at the same jokes. We have the same values. Despite all those similarities, though, we are so incredibly different when it comes to our approach to social media.
I am, to put it mildly, addicted to Facebook. I enjoy hearing about other people’s days, love seeing pictures of my friend’s children and their travels, enjoy having a laugh about an e-card I’ve come across, and sharing inspirational quotes. But my husband hardly uses Facebook and he’s quite clear about his reasons why. He believes if you want to catch up with someone, it should be face to face not through a computer. I think he has a point.
The upside to social media
Social media has done a lot of good for society as a whole. It keeps people connected, builds and maintains relationships for businesses and their consumers, adds another dynamic to how we can all communicate. It has transformed the ways that we can keep in touch.
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On a personal level, it means that you can see how your cousin is doing after moving interstate, flick through photos from a wedding that you couldn’t attend, or read up on how your sister is coping with her break-up as she pours her heart out online.
Given how busy our lives are nowadays, it’s an easier way to stay connected without the extra effort and inconvenience.
The downside to social media
But reading a ‘happy birthday’ message on your Facebook wall, pales in comparison to hearing your best friend say it with a loving smile on their face. Reading about your friend’s depression and offering advice to them, pales in comparison to holding them close and embracing them with a hug.
As much as we can be there for our loved ones online, it doesn’t quite bring the same comfort that a physical interaction does. It compensates for a lack thereof, but doesn’t replace it.
How to truly be there for someone
All of us have been through a dark period, at one stage or another. Maybe someone close to us has passed away. Maybe we’ve had our heart broken. Maybe we’ve lost our job. Maybe we’re just struggling to find purpose in our lives. Fact is, we’ve all been there to some extent.
And sometimes we need someone to be there for us. To smile and laugh with us. To be our shoulder to cry on. To make us feel less alone.
And sometimes it might be us that needs to be there for another person.
Don’t rely on a Facebook status or wall post to be there for your loved ones. Don’t rely on your Facebook likes and comments to show your friends how much you care. Don’t rely on purely online communication to maintain your relationships.
Pick up the phone, arrange a time, and meet up face and face.
As a mother of three young children, I know how busy life can be. But I also know how precious life is. Don’t waste your days away.
So, if you want to truly be there for someone, make the effort. Think beyond Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Think beyond all those other networking sites. Think beyond the online world. Social media may help you to remain in contact, but don’t let it be the only contact you have with each another.
If you want to truly be there for a loved one, there is no better way than to literally be there for them.