The Loneliest Generation
The digital age has made it easier for us to connect with our friends, meet new people, gather information, and a lot more. Social media has given us a platform to talk to people and also share news about ourselves— thus, it is common for us to think that we are more connected now than ever. Somehow this is true, yes, but social media has made us more disconnected, too. We’ve been coined “loneliest generation” because our time on social media has actually taken the time we have with face-to-face interactions. We’re feeling inundated with information, but lacking the deeper connections.
Why are we on social media when people are literally just across from us?
Because it’s easier. We don’t have to be vulnerable on our phone. People don’t get to see our facial expressions, body movements, and reactions when we talk about our highs and lows. We can avoid hard questions, and we prefer to filter ourselves to show other people what we only want them to see. In addition, social media gives us the luxury of ‘unreal-time’ responses, where we can think and edit what we have to say compared to reacting on impulse. (This can be both a positive and negative thing for sure).
But we know that real, authentic connections are important in our growth. Social media has also made us lonely primarily because of how it makes us feel when we only see filtered lives online.
Staying Connected When You’re Busy
Despite being busy, us moms can still manage to authentically stay connected with other people. Here are a few day-to-day routines we could adjust to build new friends:
- Get out of your comfort zone. Make the first move to initiate a conversation with someone, like with those fellow parents whom you usually see when you bring your kids to school. But when you struggle to make friends, give out genuine compliments (i.e, “Hey, I like your leggings? Where did you pick that up?). And during ‘idle’ routines like lunch time, put the phone down and see other people around you. This is the first step to connecting.
- Integrate family activities or daily tasks with a friend. Why not invite your neighbor or friends to have your families dine together? Or maybe you could work out with your friend who loves fitness like you do?
- Incorporate it into your to-do list to reach out to friends. Make it intentional and a priority.
While there are a lot more ways to extend our friendships, remember that you don’t have to put pressure on yourself to stay away from digital connections. This is especially when it seems impossible to bond with friends in a hectic schedule. You could send a simple text, note, or gift cards to your friends to let them know you’re checking out on them or at least thinking of them. What matters most is creating intention.
“In building friendships, there is beauty in both online connections and face to face interactions.”
Letting Go of Friendships
It may be difficult, but letting go of some friendships is necessary for our personal growth. As moms, it is important for us to determine whether a friendship is worth keeping as we are already exerting our energies into a lot of things. You can do this by creating a roadmap. Ask yourself if a relationship is healthy for yourself, or the future it would hold for you: trace what your friends pour into you and your family, who you are when you are with that friend, and more importantly, check the common energy that your friends flow into you. Who’s uplifting who? Are you mutually supporting each other? Are they uplifting you, or weighing you down?
Take an emotional setback to analyze your friendships. While it is good to be there for our friends, it is wiser to learn to step back. When they weigh you down, listen to them, but you don’t have to carry their burdens. You can show up, support, and encourage our friends, but you don’t have to struggle with them.
On the other hand, if you have that really close friend(s) whom you can mutually share your struggles with, it is a friendship worth maintaining. Be a friend to others too, but make it mutual. Admittedly, relationships are stronger when a friend picks you up too, rather than just you who does the uplift.
Our lives become more meaningful when we strengthen our friendships even as moms. Be intentional today. Go find somebody to reach out and do it NOW.
Jeanette Tapley is a wife to Jesse Tapley. Mother to Zeke, Titus and Zoe. She loves talking to friends and laughing loudly, advocating for adoption, and a nice cup of coffee. Jeanette is the host of the IT’S TIME FOR COFFEE podcast where she interviews friends new and old in hopes of connecting others and meeting her friends right where they are. Her passion lies in other women finding themselves in a less lonely state knowing they have friends and others around them in the same stages of life. At 32 years old she is coming into the understanding that God made her just the way she is…If He wanted her any differently then He would’ve made her that way! Jeanette longs to be a friend to all and enjoys bringing others together.
Check out the speaker’s podcast: itstimeforcoffeepod.com
And if you would like to start your own podcast, check out Jeanette’s COURSE: How to Launch a Podcast the Easy Way)