21st Century Friendships

Creating, Building, and Maintaining Friendships in an Ultra-Connected Time

Be Your Own Image Consultant

Most everyone knows how important it is to manage your social media image if your looking for a job, or are in the public eye. Did you know this is also important in making friendships?

When I meet someone and friend them on Facebook, I take time to look through their timeline. I try not to be a stalker about it, but I try to look through the last couple days at least. Many people do this as well. Many people also take the time to go through the timelines of their friends on occasion to see if they have missed anything (thank you Facebook Newsfeed Algorythm.)

Do you know what your Timeline says about you? 

At least once a week, usually on Mondays, I go through and clean up my Facebook Timeline. I find myself removing from my timeline multiple pictures (friends all posting the same picture and tagging everyone), pieces of information that were meant as FYI’s but not needed to be saved for eternity, and funny things I shared that looking back may not have been so funny.

How many times have we all “vented” on Facebook? Do you really want that saved for eternity for someone to stumble across?

This Timeline review also gives me a change to check the viewing permissions on the posts from the last week. Is there anything I want public, for people who aren’t my friends who are looking (future employers, stalker ex’s, maybe people debating whether to friend me or not.)

Your Facebook Timeline is tool used by other to make judgments about you, and contributes to your overall public image. Very few of us are “celebrities,” but in the world of Facebook stalking you never quite know how much be coming to see what you’ve been up to. What do you want them to see?

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Facebook Should Be A Door to Your World, Not A Window

Door Not A Window

I have seen an uptick in friends leaving Facebook recently, because they want to put more focus into their “real life.” I admire anyone willing to put down technology and go out doors. It does make me believe that people are not using Facebook in a way that positively adds to their lives.

Why is this? Why is Facebook seen as it’s stand alone social ecosystem, not to be blended with our “real lives.”

If you have read any of the posts before, you know that I run a group on Facebook that was create to help women create and maintain friendships. I have made it a “goal” of mine to help people use Facebook as a tool to their lives, and not a drain on them.

Since I started this group almost a year ago, I have met (in person) over 50 women. Of those 50, I have developed acquaintance level friendships with most of them, am friends with probably 30-40, good friends with 10-15, and building close personal friendships with 5 or so. If it was not for this Facebook group, I do not know if I would have met any of them.

Thinking about it now, I can’t imagine my life without these women in it.

In the last year I have hiked dozens of times, had multiple ladies nights out, play dates, coffee days and more because I have began to use Facebook as a door to my world.

Facebook is no longer a window I sit behind, longingly wishing I was doing what these other people are doing. Instead, I use Facebook as away of creating and joining in on activities that make my life more enriched and full. I use Facebook to find other parents to go to parks with. I use Facebook as a way to stay in contact with my online weight loss support group and cheer on others there, as well as find the positive reinforcement I need for my journey. I use Facebook as a way of letting my husband know I am thinking of his while he is at work. I use Facebook as a way of bragging about the fun I’ve had with my son that day.

So, if Facebook is feeling like a drain and it is not adding to your life, then perhaps it’s change the way you use it? Of course, if it is a tool you don’t need, then by all means let it go. But, if you want to have to same kind of experience I have had in the last year, then change the way you look at Facebook.

Facebook should a tool, a way for your to create opportunities to meet people. Facebook shouldn’t be how to you keep up with your family and friends, but it should be the tool you use to create opportunities to spend time with them. Don’t let pictures of your nieces and nephews be enough, if you have the time then go visit and make memories of your own.

Use Facebook as a door that leads you to your life, not the window you sit behind wishing you were outside.

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From Facebook to Friend

In the last 1o months I have been extremely blessed in the realm of friendships.

I created a group on Facebook who’s main goal is to help people create and maintain friendships in my community. As of today it has over 600 women. Because of this group, COG, I can been blessed to take many friendships from Facebook to friend. Some of these friendships have worked out and I have made a friend or two for life. So, how do you take a friendships from Facebook to the real world? This is what I’ve learned on the subject.

1. Have reasonable expectations: Not every person is going to connect with everyone they meet. It’s a tough pill to swallow that not everyone will like you. I have a tough time choking this one down myself. Spend less time trying to make “everyone” like you, and spend more time focused on the people you actually feel like you connect with. Don’t understand what I mean by “connect with”? Then it hasn’t happened yet, keep looking.

2. Put yourself out there: This is the toughest step for so many people, especially in COG. You have to be willing to get of Facebook and meet someone in the real world. Of course, there are also “Facebook friends” and “internet friends” and if those kind of friendships fill you need, then awesome. If you need face to face, in the real world, contact than at some point you are going to have to get face to face in the real world.

3. Take it slow….ish: What I mean is, when it a friendship clicks then it will click. Generally the two of you will learn pretty quickly how to communicate and how often you can see each other. Talking and seeing each other will, generally, just flow. The friendships I’ve had to chase have not be the most fruitful. The best friendships I’ve developed in the last 10 months have been because we readily met each other in the middle.

That being said, don’t be a stalker either.

For more advice like this, check out my other blogs on the subject:

Friendships are a lot like dating

New Town, New House, Where Are Thew New Friends?

How to Escape the Acquaintance-Zone (In Friendships)

At Some Point You Have To Put Yourself Out There….

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Digital Life is Consuming!

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I feel so overwhelmed by all the digital tasks I have to do today I feel like shooting my computer and disappearing from the digital world.

I run a few Facebook Groups, one of them is very social. I’m sure I’ve talked about it before. Well, a bunch of us ladies got together last night. Anytime this Facebook Group has a party, I have tons of work the next day. There are photos to upload, the new friend requests coming in, the people to follow up with. Also, there is chasing down the people who RSVP’d as a yes and didn’t show. See this post.

Then there was the quiz about what Top Gun character I am, that was important enough for my time. (Viper, btw)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. 8 months a go I would have killed to be as “popular” as I am now. So… no… I’m not complaining.

How much of your social life is digital? Because it’s done via computers, does it sometimes feel like work?

 

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Friendship Jealousy

I get jealous when my friends have other friends. I admit it. There is a part of me that gets really butt hurt when my friends have someone else to hang out with.

The hypocritical part of this story is that I like to have a lot of friends. Nothing brings a smile to my face in the middle of day more than having more text message conversations that I can keep up with.

How do I combat friendship jealousy? Well, first I admitted it. I said it out loud to my husband that I has jealous that my friend had another friend. Apparently he has known that I feel this way for a long time.

And now? I man up and deal with it.

Do you get jealous when your friends have friends? How do you deal with friendship jealousy?

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Lifelong Friendships

My lifelong friend and I have had a rocky past. We met in kindergarten. Friendship is easy in kindergarten. After that we would always grow apart, and then come back together. I feel like we did this a lot growing up because we ended up in different social circles.

And, after school, life would get in the way.

The last grow apart was my fault. It was more like a blow up. Anyway, it was my fault. It took almost four years before I finally reached out and made it right. Trust me, it was all my responsibility to do. I was a big ol’ “B”.

But, now, we are good. We don’t see each other as often as we would like. I don’t get to go to her kids soccer games like I’d like to. But, I was able to make it to her daughter’s dance recital. It was so nice to be able to show support for her family, especially since I had missed so much of it. Her family shows support for mine. They all came to the Autism walk in April. It almost made me cry. It was amazing to have her there. I didn’t get to hang out with her much, though. You know, volunteering.

Lifelong friendships aren’t easy. Especially from first grade until you late 20’s. You are growing so much individually. It’s ok if those years were tough. Don’t be afraid to reach out again at some point. Once life stabilizes, lifelong friendships are easier.

Don’t be afraid to reach back out, if you want to and your ready. A true, lifelong friendship isn’t affected by time or distance.

 

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Friendships That Click

I was walking through the woods with a new friend of mine last week. (You read all about it, here.) During our 4 hours of walking through the forest, when not staring an amazing waterfall, we got on the topic of friends.

We talked about out past friendships, our currently friendships, and new people we have meet in the Facebook group.

I admitted that for the longest time I thought friendships were supposed to be difficult. I thought it was natural for it to be hard to stay in contact with people, that it usually is dramatic, and it’s ok to leave a “friend date” feeling more worn out and depleted than when you arrived.

I had gotten so used to being people’s therapists, people’s venting walls, that I just thought that was how friendship worked.

But, then we met each other. And, for the first time in my life I had felt the “click” of friendship. It was so easy to talk to her, so easy to make plans with her, and no matter what we are doing I feel better about myself as a person and have more energy I go back home.

I feel like I’m gushing over her, and that might be creepy. But, it’s not like “that.”

Anyway…..

It made me think about all the friendships I had pushed so hard along. The “friends” I had chased around trying to make plans with. If I hadn’t wasted so much energy on those friendships, maybe I would have found some healthier ones earlier.

We also agreed it was nice to have a friend we could hike in the woods with, and also eat FroYo after.

It was a good friend day, for sure!

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When Is It Time To Go?

I asked my husband what I should blog about. What about friendship should people know about, or talk about?

His response was speedy, “When is it time to go?”

I was very confused at first. My husband wants me to write about when it’s time to leave a party. When do you know it is time to leave? He never likes to leave a party too early. We always ending up being one of the last couples at any function. But, when do you know it’s time to go?

Admittedly, I could probably go to Google and find some Emily Post-esque answer to this question. But, I won’t.

I am curious.

When do you know it’s time to leave?

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My Best Day

Mommyx4boys has challenged her readers to write about the best days of their lives. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that this challenge was posted two days ago and yet I still cannot pick a day.

The idea that I have a single day in the last almost thirty years could rise about the others has really had my brain tied up in knots. I have days that stand out. The day I met my husband, the day we got engaged, the day we discovered we were expecting, the day we got married, the day he was born…..

I know I’m kind of a cranky, grumpy, person. I tend to see my glass has half empty, and complain about someone drinking my juice. So, most positive days in my life come with some negative emotion tied to them.

Then I realized there was one day. Septemeber 24th, 2013. It’s the day I created Central Oregon Girlfriends, my main group on Facebook. It was the day I decided that it was time to stop worrying about friendships that didn’t work out anymore. It was the day I decided that I was worth friendship and love. That I deserved to get out of my apartment more than once a month and explore the world around me.

That day was relatively unremarkable. It was the catalyst, the spark, that started a chain reaction that has made over every aspect of my life in the last 8 months. I am a better mother because I get out and blow off steam. I am a better wife because I am not as grumpy all the time. I am a better friend because I have found friendships that are cemented in mutual love and respect. These friends push me to do more, see more, and live more while at the same making me feel like I am perfect just the way I am.

This spark has started chain reactions in other lives as well. I have been given credit for giving women hope again.

I seriously thought about writing this blog over at my other site, ipockolypse.wordpress.com. But, the story of the 8 months has made me see how much social media can have both a negative and positive impact on our ability to make and create friendships. I have harnessed the power for the interweb for good.

 

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Facebook Pages for Animals and Children

My sister-in-law has two Corgi’s. They are her fur-babies. Each of them has their own Facebook fan page. Like a good fur aunt I friended them both. So, now two or three days a week I read about how they went to the park or whatever doggie shenanigans they got up to.

I would normally have found this very annoying. I get it. Dogs go to dog park. Oh yea, she caught her ball.

The main activity on these pages are from other fan pages of other corgi’s in their area. My sister-in-law joined a corgi play group, or something, and all these people who love the corgi’s get together all over the state and hang out.

I will admit, when I first saw these pages I snarled my lip. People who make Facebook fan pages for their pets are desperate for attention. But, I’m actually not as anti the fan page for pets as I might have been before. It’s a crazy active community of people who comment on each other’s fan page. They pretend like their dogs are talking to each other. The pets wish each other a good adoption day (kinda like birthday, but the day they were adopted). It’s cute, it’s fun. If you find it annoying, then unlike the page. I appreciate that my sister-in-law has create a separate Facebook space to do this activity. I think in the end, it was a good call.

In general, no I am not a fan of Facebook pages for animals. I have a cat. He’s kinda cute. Kinda photogenic. But there is no reason to create a page just so I can write halfway amusing things like, “my human failed not notice my cat food feeder is halfway empty. I shall sing her the song of my people until she understands.”

I have an even bigger disdain for Facebook Pages for children. What I mean by child is anyone not in middle school. (Though, who knows. If Facebook is still around when my son is in middle school, and ALL of his friends have it, I might be willing to talk.) There is no reason for a 3 year old to have their own Facebook page. I don’t care if they don’t use it and the parents update it. There’s no point. That’s what your Facebook is for, bragging about your child.

I do have one exception. If there are people who would want to information about your son, but you do not want them anywhere around your profile. I have a friend, well a friend of a friend but whatever, who has a Facebook profile for her son. He is three. His parents are no longer together. Instead of having to keep the ex in-laws on her Facebook profile knowing her business, she puts all kid related information on the kid’s profile. This makes sense. I could see doing this if something ever happened to me and my husband. I find it ingenious.

What do you think? Facebook profiles/pages for kids and pets? Are you in or are you out?

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