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Mom Friends Who Aren't on Facebook Need Updates, Too

I am all about Facebook and social media, and I can't imagine not having access to this daily glimpse into the lives of my friends and family members. But I find that my relationships with my not-on-Facebook mom friends are becoming more difficult in some ways. Has social media really made it harder to have IRL friendships?

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Some of the greatest joys in my life are the friendships I have built with other moms. Whether we knew each other way back in junior high or met as new moms through the local mom's club, these are the women who really get me.

Back when mine were little—pre-Facebook—we gathered as often as we could to share stories of potty training battles, projectile vomit, compare hours slept through the night and exchange crock pot recipes. If I read something I thought one of my friends might be interested in, I would call and share or wait until the next time we got together. I sent cards for friends' birthdays and asked what they had planned for their special day. I always looked forward to seeing my friends because we always had so much catching up to do.

My life had become a series of vignettes, linked together with likes and a few emoticons for good measure.

And then came Facebook, and the definitions of "friend" and "sharing" took on whole new meanings. Suddenly I was able to share everything with everyone, immediately.

If I was in a funk because a certain little one skipped a nap, I could write a funny status update and get instant validation, rather than enjoying a 10-minute phone call commiseration with a friend. I could see who "liked" my rant about my kids and that felt oddly satisfying. I knew that they knew what was going on with me on any given day—and sadly, that seemed like enough. Birthdays? Facebook reminded me each week, so I wouldn't even have to bother with a card. And once I had shared an event on my timeline—vacation, junior prom, new haircut, big anniversary—I moved on. I would forget that some of my friends never heard about that particular life event. My life had become a series of vignettes, linked together with likes and a few emoticons for good measure.

But there was a problem with all this sharing—several of my favorite friends never joined Facebook at all. And in sharing so much with so many, I stopped picking up the telephone and sharing with special friends. Two of these friends live in other states; while we used to share often over the phone or via email, our interactions have dwindled in recent years.

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It's not an excuse, it's a sad fact—I don't have the patience I once had for saving a story or a mom worry to share later. I almost resent the fact that these good friends don't care enough to join Facebook and see where I'm vacationing or the latest cute pair of shoes I bought. And that's kind of the opposite of a real friendship, isn't it?

Quit Facebook? Not a chance. But I'm learning that the friendships I have off Facebook need updates and likes just as much as my online relationships do—and I'm determined to make that happen.

Image via Twenty20/akuyan

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