Of late, I’ve been inundated with thousands of friend requests on Facebook from totally strange people I barely know a thing about yet I rarely accept any. Just for the sake of it, I let my accounts be public to enable prospective positive ones to find and connect with me but my personal information is heavily restricted. Am not on social media to make friends but I use 90% of it to keep abreast with what’s happening around, 5% chatting to already verified close friends and 5% for games. Much of what’s going on is beamed on social media, i.e. Facebook, and that’s where I catch up with the trends and learn lots of interesting stuff. So it’s reasonable to call it my all-in-one information center.
However, there’s one disturbing misconception about social media that we tend to disregard. Most of us think that social media is entirely meant to boost the number of friends in our lives but I tend to think contrarily. I have just 24 Facebook friends and am very content with each of them (Proverbs 27:9). Why? Simply b’se they are all my close friends and am proud to call them so. Twenty of them I have met personally and they’re not the kind of inconstant folks who’d give me a deaf ear when am desperate. To me, they’re a special people I hold dear (Proverbs 12:26).
A long time back, I used to boast of having hundreds of friends but as I eventually matured along with life-inspired reflections, I came to discern that I was doing this solely for fun and life was getting more serious. I asked myself; “How could I catch up with the seriousness of life while am surrounded by ‘imaginary’ people who are emotionally and physically distant from me?” I came to realize that they were barely of help when times turned sour. I always felt guilty of keeping ‘puppets’ around my life and resolved never to let them have an influence on me (Proverbs 22:24-25). I determined to be drama and stress-free and I prevailed.
What style of friendship does Eric crave for? Well, to him, it’s is a one-on-one relationship of reciprocal affection between consenting people who cheerfully accept to share their life with each other, though not in entirety (Job 2:11). I and my close friends routinely check on each other, and we’d be extremely concerned if anything goes amiss between us meaning that we’d have to rectify it at its earliest detection (Colossians 3:12-14). I recognize and exercise the virtues of true friendship and I do the best that I can to remind my friends – in words and actions – that I love them. Even if you’re a friend to one of my friends, that status doesn’t guarantee you an inconsiderate acceptance of friendship by me. Although it’s not arduous at all to become my close friend, if one genuinely proves that they really care, I’d heartily give them a nod.
To live true to my integrity, I persistently apply the above definition to gauge the essence of the personalities I call friends; ‘Are they the kind of people I would turn to within the blink of an eye for an impassioned help whilst am distressed? Would they extend their hand to redeem me from my lowest pit? Won’t they ever play dead the moment I need relief?’ (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). Contrary to conventional beliefs, social media is more than a place to find and make friends. Granted, I see a lot of people misusing it for egotistical accruals but to me, it’s an amazing place that I properly use to experience life from a wholesome perspective. You and I have got that unique gift, how you choose to use it mirrors the kind of life values you embrace and my social media friends are not just good people I get along with but true compatriots, advisors, intimates, confidants, and life partners. This exclusive principle doesn’t care who you are to me, whether you’re my boss, a kinsman or my next-door neighbor, if you don’t live up to the expected true friendship and apply it, then you don’t deserve my consideration!
Social media has become my sociology and psychology observational tool for understanding human behaviors and characters but I admit, I’ve seen enough. While they bare everything about themselves and make their personal info public thus imperiling themselves to risky strangers, they blindly expose their ignorance about how vulnerable their lives are becoming. While I value the significance of connecting with all sorts of people around the globe for diverse causes, and while I acknowledge the role of social media to accomplish this, I feel demotivated to accept requests from every Tom, Dick, and Harry – some of whom have no profile pictures to identify who they are – into my revered personal space.
To connect with such anonymous folks, I have a Facebook page where people who’d like to stay in touch can go and ‘like’ it. Currently, it has a little more than 10,000 likes. My Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram too are specifically for ‘following’ and in no way do they allow strangers ramble into my strictly reserved personal space.