Never thought I’d be asking myself “where are all my friends!” Mother used to say “a day will come when you’ll be lucky if you can say you have even one true friend in this life,” And boy was she right!
Acquaintanceship is often mistaken for true Friendship and that practice begins to establish during early childhood and intensifies during puberty. Puberty may very well be the most critically defining chapter of one’s life where the job of judging friendships inadvertently takes center stage. During this time we begin to assess people around us to determine whether they are BFFs. The problem is that at that age we don’t have the necessary tools in our arsenal of commonsense and experience to measure genuineness and loyalty among those coming and going in our lives. Age and lack of life experience block the ability of the young-at-heart from synthesizing the essence of most given friendships. Where are all my friends?
Back to what my mother used to say about best friends, “a day would come when you’ll be lucky if you can say you have even one true friend in this life.” When I first heard or paid attention to mom’s take on true friendship, which was in my late teens, that “bomb of wisdom” came off as little more than a dud. It didn’t even make enough noise/sense to grab my attention or provoke a desire to think deeper about friendships. After all, in my mind I had many friends, so what mama was talking about didn’t make sense. But as time passed and I came into womanhood a flicker of light brought the first glimpse of luminosity to some of the many fallacies and flaws within the auspice of true friendship.
The funny thing about looking back over one’s life to rediscover the essence of friendships that came to be is the variation in the number of perceived true friendships during various stages of our lives. At the tender age of 16, it would have been impossible to imagine that my closest friends would not always be my closest friends. Surely, nobody would ever move out of the neighborhood, not as much fun as we had growing up together. And, nowhere in the cards could I have ever imagined walking alone at times when I needed my best friend beside me. More often than I care to admit I find myself asking “where are all my friends.”
The Father knows his children! He also knows we cannot handle knowing the future. The future is filled with so many uncertainties both good and bad. Nobody would fuss about knowing about good things waiting to happen but, knowing bad things were on the horizon is another thing. If people turn to chemical substances to numb the pain of the past and the present we can’t begin to imagine how people would respond to knowing the future. While we can’t imagine that, God can. He knows his children, their capacity, their stamina, their hearts, their potential, and their measure of tolerance. For this reason, the Father reserves knowledge of the future for its presence which for us is always yet to come.
The springtime of life has a way of distorting reality in ways no other phase of life can. Think of this as the “clueless” passage, an entity that lasts longer for some than others. Hence, the ‘old saying’ “some people never grow up.” To be stuck in a time machine at the wrong temperature in one’s personal life is like being frozen on the ladder of life.
If you’re lucky the friends you made in springtime will still be there in the winter, and throughout the storms of life often with similar battle scars. Being there transcends physical presence it also includes spiritual and emotional presence. Most life-long friends share battle scars forged through forever bonds that held them close in times in times of trouble. They leaned on each other, offered each other a shoulder to cry on, and wiped away tears that everyone else may have been oblivious to. Due to advanced high-tech receptacles of communication methods for true friends, not connecting to each other in a time of need is never an option or excuse. Believe it or not, true friends can detect when something is wrong with somebody they care about. So how many of those do you think you’ll have at 30 years old, 40 years old, 50 years old, 60 plus years old. Well, the older one gets the fewer true- friends they have. You know the ones younger adults refer to as “ride-or-die!”
Who among us cannot relate to knowing the feeling of foolishly believing at some time during our lifetime that a certain friend(s) would be a forever friend? Who among us has not secretly wondered or asked “where are all my friends?” One of the most shocking lessons in life may be learning that knowing a lot of people does not equate to having a score of friends. Examining how social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like affect the subject of friendship is an eye-opener. Social networking single-handedly engineered a communication vehicle that fills people with a hunger for numerous friendships even when those accepting friend requests fail the test of a true friend.
Have we become so superficial and void of values the Father considers acceptable in his sight that we cannot discern fallacy vs. friendship?Tweet
The yearning for flawless friendships has pined the hearts of a multitude of unsuspecting souls to social networking walls for target practice. The degree of insecurities they strive to hide is on display through heightened and blatant efforts to acquire what they perceive to be true numbers of people interested in becoming “friends.” These same people refuse to examine obvious evidence that proves the substance of most socially network-generated friends is superficial at best, for entertainment purposes only.
Top Social Media sites are virtual but exist, thrive, and strive off the living! Yes, people with souls, goals, needs, voids, hurts, pains, basically real people! They are influencers first, individuals second, brands, bloggers, and any people types in between. To make this well-oiled virtual machine work social network media and search engines use sophisticated algorithms to track rhythms of thought, desire, opinion, and search patterns. These mediums long to know our greatest fears, most profound experiences, successes, failures, and shortcomings. Drama sells, drama draws people in by airing dirty laundry common to most people.
Friend requests, whether through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or the like are blunt indicators of a void in one’s life. This is not to say the void is negative. Some people use friend requests to build followings for business purposes, others want to build a community of people they can exchange ideas. Usually, the mission of people fitting those profiles is clear. But then there are those other kinds, the ones starved for attention, love, acceptance, the emotionally disturbed, the evil, and the criminal.
The Delusional Friendship
Delusional friendships manifest in many different ways but the most poignant occurs via social network media. Here we see scores becoming a party to engaging in delusional friendships by competing to drum up and post the highest number of “friends” fake or not!
Millions of Social network users are obsessed with the number of friends they acquire on various social networking as if these people are really friends. Social status, economic status, and educational backgrounds seem to have no bearing on who gets caught up in the frenzy. A funny thing about the matter is that many people would not dare admit that the number of Facebook and Twitter friends they have matters to them. They keep that little secret deep down inside because, if admitted on the surface, they would look pretty superficial.
Just because the springtime of life has a way of distorting reality in ways no other phase of life can doesn’t mean one should remain “clueless” about the essence and meaning of true friendships.
To be accused of never growing up is not a good thing. While it is impossible to go back in time, it is not impossible to turn the dial on life’s time machine to unstick from the current temperature. You can heat it up, and stop the “frozen on the ladder of life” sequence. When you move they move, those friends who are not really friends but a figment of your imagination. This move frees up space, cleans up space, redefines space, and prepares your life for a new trajectory.