Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Social Networking and the Death of Socialization (pun intended)

I have never been good at making friends. Well, maybe that's not true...I have been less good at keeping them. Even into my adult life I have been labeled "not a people person" and had it noted on performance reviews (otherwise known as "what you're doing wrong at work) that I need improvement in my "interpersonal interactions" (what does that really mean? I mean, could you be more vague?).

This week, my husband had neck surgery. I spent 5 hours in a hospital waiting room. Alone.

I have over 160 friends on Facebook and at least a couple dozen followers on Instagram. And then there are the 4 of you out there who have actually read this blog. Despite these legions of fans and followers and friends....I was alone. Don't get me wrong, I am not here to complain or chastise anyone reading this. I have made my proverbial bed and I must lie in it. There is some amount of truth to that "does not play well with others" stigma that has been assigned to me all my life. But if you take the time to dig a little deeper, my difficulties in making and keeping lasting relationships (outside of my family) may not be for the reasons you think. See, I am painfully shy and self-concious. I know, hard to believe (insert sarcasm here). I suffer from depression and anxiety (and no, this is not a post related to those illnesses due to the recent, tragic loss of Robin Williams). I am terribly uncomfortable in crowds and almost paralyzed by fear when it comes to trying new things or going to unfamiliar places, especially alone. On a side note-my husband has been my savior in this regard over the past few years, practically forcing me out of the house on occasion; otherwise I would stay in these 4 walls 24/7/365 if I could get away with it.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, I have learned a valuable lesson this week. People need people. Not social media "people", not posts on Facebook, not "flipagrams" chronicling their awesome (if not somewhat manufactured) lives. People need real live people to sit with them and pray with them. To just be there to talk to them and keep their minds from constantly going to the worst case scenario while sitting in a hospital waiting room while the love of their life is undergoing major surgery.

I want to end this on a positive note, though. While I didn't have anyone with me at the hospital, and that was difficult (more difficult than I thought it would be), several of our real live friends stepped up and helped us with childcare so that I could be free to sit and wait and fret (that's Southern for "worry") and pray at the hospital during this time. Sometimes, we need to put down the phone, turn off the laptop, and get out the door and go see people...the flesh and blood kind (just not right now, because reading this is soooo much more important!).

Faithfully yours (all 4 of you),