There’s a special place in my house.
I won’t keep you all in suspense. It’s the side of my fridge.
Cue confetti. Drop the balloons. Play some sappy music.
Yes. The side of my fridge.
And it has become my number one way of reminding myself that people are real. If you make it onto the side of my fridge, it means something special to me. It means you’re something special to me. And that you’re someone real.
If you’re not there yet, don’t feel bad. This is a fairly new thing I’m doing.
As you’ll remember from past posts, I have at times struggled with the whole concept of digital relationships with all of you, people who I feel like I know and who I feel like I’m friends with but who I don’t actually know in real life.
But those aren’t the only digital relationships I’ve struggled with.
I have also come to struggle with real relationships being more or less replaced with digital ones in my life, and this is a phenomenon that SO MANY of us can probably relate to.
Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest. Instagram. Blogs. Forums. Text messages. Cell phones. Tablets.
This world has evolved to make people be as connected as possible while simultaneously pushing them into a place where they can be alone more than ever.
Have you thought about how weird that is? We feel more connected than ever. We’re also more alone than ever.
Neighborhoods and neighborliness are disappearing faster than the polar ice caps. Where we used to feel a need for immediate socialization that would push us to walk around our neighborhoods chatting it up with each other, we now go to a blaring screen and click “like” and write “LOL” and get our needs filled that way instead.
The ability to be alone with one person and only one person is a skill most of us have forgotten and which our younger generation may never develop. It’s almost painful for some of us to sit at a table with a friend or close family member and not pull out our phones and get at least a taste of what we’ve missed in the last 10 minutes. Social connection is a drug that we have to keep slowly dripping into our systems or we start to have serious withdrawals.
Even our ability to just be alone and disconnected is becoming extinct. The thought of running to the store, or the bank, or pretty much anywhere without our phones in our pockets gives us serious anxiety. We’ll pause our television programs if we realize we left our phones in another room. We’ll turn our cars around if we leave without our phones, even if we’re just gone on a quick thirty minute there-and-back. Many of us can’t even take a bath without our phones being within easy reach.
This has all been weighing on me as much as the other thing we’ve been talking about. I don’t always like it, if I’m being honest. I’m as addicted to social connection as any everyday person, and it’s affecting every part of my life and just about every relationship, big or small.
“Let’s talk about it on Facebook!”
“Just direct message me on Twitter about it!”
“What? You didn’t see the invite? I posted it on Facebook like a month ago.”
“Please don’t text me about it. RSVP online.”
“I saw you read my text but haven’t replied yet. What’s up?”
“What do you mean I didn’t notice? I commented that I liked it!”
“We’re having a digital baby shower. Here’s a link where you can buy us crap and send it to us without ever seeing our faces.”
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