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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?
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
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
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.
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
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.