If you’re reading this post, you’re either a blogger, a blog reader, or both, and that means you invest some amount of your time in connecting online with others. We’re connecting now, right?
Although online relationships can be satisfying and a great source of support in our day-to-day lives, I also want to encourage you to build meaningful, face-to-face, God-honoring friendships.
As someone who’s been blogging for over three and a half years, I understand the temptation to “live” online. My online friends don’t know how messy my house is or when my roots need retouched. You don’t see the extra pounds I’ve put on this winter, me yelling at my kids, or the look of disappointment on my husband’s face when I stay up to finish a post I’m writing instead of going to bed.
You see what I allow you to see, and I promise, it’s been Photoshopped.
I share the same interests with my online friends, ones often misunderstood or under-appreciated by those around me. Still, there are times when I want to walk away from my online identity, delete my blog, and run away.
For example, discovering awful search terms that someone entered and somehow led them to my blog, when it made me sick to think that someone interested in that kind of content was on my site, looking at my family; crafting a post that I think is really good, but doesn’t get comments; going outside my comfort zone to ask for a conference sponsorship, and not getting a response.
Online interactions may be long-distance, but they can still leave you feeling exposed and vulnerable.
I don’t know what I would do without my real-life girlfriends, the ones who are here to share my day-to-day joys and my sorrows.
Here a few of my thoughts on face-to-face relationships…
Develop friendships that build up your family, not tear it down.
In Proverbs 14:1 we’re told that “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” My best friends and I love a girls’ night out, but we also get together sometimes as couples or families.
Our husbands know that we support each other’s marriages. Four of my dearest friends and I are about to go on a mother/daughter retreat where we hope to strengthen our daughters spiritually and deepen our bonds as friends and family.
We all need friends with whom we can ponder the deep questions, share our hopes and fears.
My strongest friendships are with church sisters, the ones with whom I share a precious bond of faith. It can still be scary baring my deepest thoughts, but I trust them and we come from the same worldview.
Friends allow you to let your hair down and just be silly.
The photo above was taken on the way out-of-town for a girlfriends’ weekend last year. We were all a little giddy and actually talked our waitress into taking our photo on stage with the husband/wife band at the small mountain restaurant where we ate. I’m sure we’ll laugh about it for years!
As a blogger, I seek a comfortable balance between my online and face-to-face friendships. I have doubts that my girlfriends and I will ever discuss search engine optimization, social networking, what to wear to blog conferences, or a host of other issues and geekery that I adore discussing with you online.
On the other hand, they’ll be there for a girls’ night out when my week has been lousy and my pageviews are low, whether or not they understand what that means.
I treasure you both.
by Dawn Camp, My Home Sweet HomeLeave a Comment
Thanks for posting such sensible and valuable advice
Kristen@Moms Sharpening Moms says
Preach it, Sister! I feel very passionate about this very subject. Face-to-face girlfriends are essential, and they are one of God’s biggest blessings for women!
I am leaving in 10 days for my own girlfriend’s weekend…CANNOT WAIT!
God bless ya, Dawn!
I really resonated with this post, and I too seek balance between my online and offline friends. Thank you so much for sharing it.
Dawn, your post really touched me from very deep. I’m a lonely young woman, studying my high school degree at home so nowadays I’ve lost my chance for making real-life face-to-face girlfriends and now I only have my boyfriend present in my everyday life, but our relationship is on weak basis and often I feel he doesn’t care about my wellness. I’ve got only one girlfriend from my country and she’s my childhood friend but we live on the other sides of the country, so we have chance to meet maybe twice a year.
And she’s not a believing Christian like I am; I don’t know any believing Christians from my country, because here in the North there are less and less believers in my generation. So all the believing Christian girls I know are from foreign countries and we chat via e-mail and MSN. I wish I had ones in my hometown or even in my country but I don’t know from which source should I start looking for them… I really need them in my life and I’m longing for a close Christian best friend.
Kathy T. says
Good one. The on-line friends are just soooo much easier some times. No drama. Not too personal. If your not in the mood to talk …then no comment…no biggy…if so, then maybe a comment or two! 😉
However, when the “real friends” are there. During the drama times of life…we want to be personal. We want that connection. We want that “real friend” conversation or validation.
(However, sitting in jammies…the house a mess, the dog begging to be let outside, the wash humming in the background sounds very real while caught up in the on-line life)
This is something with which I struggle. I have real live girlfriends, but none of them live close by. I’m a pastor, so the people with whom I interact most frequently are people who, because of my profession, can’t be my “girls night out” friends. I’m also an introvert, so I’m double-whammied! This is a situation that has been brought front and center in my prayer life, and now I wait patiently on the Lord while looking on the terrestrial level for real-time solutions. Thank you for this post. It is timely. It is a God thing.
oh girl – I so related with the disappointing looks before bed. I barely make it in before lights out! I’m just realizing how this is quickly becoming an idol for me. EEK!
thank you – I just posted about being “real” with friends and the abuse of TMI.
I so agree with your blog. I have SO many online friends and spend a lot of time with online relationships. Sadly, even most of the interaction with my local friends is done online. I SO long for the girls’ nights out or even weekend getaways with girlfriends. Yet, my closest girlfriends live in other states and even countries. I do have friends here locally but am seldom included in their events. I am disabled and unable to drive so it is awkward for me to suggest outings because then I have to ask for a ride. I used to be really depressed over this. Instead I have learned to make the best of the opportunities I DO have. I look forward to church on Sundays and our women’s Bible study on Tuesdays…making every effort to talk to as many women as I can…getting all the face to face I can to last me until the next time we are together. Then, I thrive on the online interactions when I’m homebound. About once a year, I get to go visit my friends in Colorado…some real face to face time with my dear, precious friends. And boy do I soak it in. I do the best I can to have both and be thankful for what I do have, rather than dwell on what I don’t. God does have a reason and a purpose and He is using me right where I am…and in that I rejoice.
you know… I was just talking about this yesterday with my husband. how confirming.
So true! There needs to be that balance. I almost hate to admit after reading this, that my closest friends are “on-line”. Being a person who loves to write, I share things with my cyber friends that those face-to-face never hear.
There are countless references to “one another” in the Bible. The Lord created us with a desire for relationship. Praying He will help me find that middle-ground. Having my computer break down a week ago was very telling. Sometimes the Lord has to take drastic measures to help us see where we are spending too much time. Not that it is evil or necessarily wrong, but it may not be the wisest way for hours in a day to pass.
Thanks for this challenge. You are confirming what my heart already knew.
Enjoying your blog! Love your directness too!
I am not sure if you accept bloggy awards, but I have one waiting for you over at my blog;
Linda Stoll says
Oh such good counsel! So slowly, but so surely we are spending more and more precious energy and time plugged into screens and the result can only be less focus on those one on one relationships that are literally standing in front of us.
Makes me wonder what my relationships would look like if I wasn’t online …
I’m glad that computers weren’t around when I was raising my kids …
Lisa B @ simply His says
Great advice Dawn 🙂 I know I need to work on getting offline and actually, ya know, living life 🙂 Making it a point to have lunch with some real life people instead of having lunch with my laptop!
Thank you for your post. It touched my heart. I’m going to make a list of three friends I want to call today and make plans to get together with.
You are so right!
Love Maria’s “action plan” (above). Your writing sent her in that direction. High praise for any writer, that it motivated someone.
great post dawn!
for me, face-to-face and online friendships are both real, they just deal with different sides of me and with varying degrees. thanks for the reminder to find balance.
I could so relate to this and have been wanting to “Get out there” and form the deeper face to face relationships.
thanks for this post.
Thanks for posting this–this has actually been on my mind lately about the balance between “online” life and life outside of the computer. Something that can be hard to balance!
Amen, before I even began blogging I was a newly wed who had just moved to this town I still live in, I was lonely and desperate for friends. I prayed for God to send those girls into my life and he did. A few years later I began blogging and more girlfriends were sent to me “virtually”, some of which I have now met Face-to-face. I believe with all my heart God sent BOTH sets of girlfriends to me.
Stacie @ The Divine Miss Mommy says
Beautiful post, Dawn. You are so right!
I am going to call my best face-to-face girlfriend today. It’s been way too long since I have seen her and your post made me miss her so much more. 🙂
Kelly Langner Sauer says
A terrific, sensible post. Though I have to say how grateful I am for the online friends I have made over this last year, when I’ve been pretty isolated, without any girlfriends – or opportunities to make them. I’m hoping God will expand my world a bit this year to allow some of these real-life friends into it.
Hi again Dawn. Just wanted you to know that I’ve written about online/offline friendships too this week, and quoted you in my summary. I’ve linked to this post and to your blog. If you get readers from Australia you’ll know where they’ve come from! LOL Bless you heaps. Cath.
This is such a beautiful post! I have met some wonderful people online and I have a very close group of girlfriends.
Mary @ Passionate Perseverance says
I don’t know what I would do without my girlfriends. They are my balance in this crazy world. Blogging will never replace them…Praise God!
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