Are You Connected?

In some ways, doesn’t it seem like we are more connected than ever? We have instantaneous information about our friends’ lives. We can jump on Facebook, and see what’s the latest-down to what a friend ate for lunch. We can text a friend a question or even tell them that we were just thinking of them. (Does anyone make phone calls anymore lol?)

Are these technological connections as valuable as face to face connections? Do they help us nurture and deepen our relationships with each other? Or, is something missing?

When you saw your friend at the store the other day, you smiled, hugged, and exchanged pleasantries. Then you said, “Let’s get lunch soon!” You saw the big smile on your friend’s face. That confirmed it. Your friend misses you. You like her Facebook posts, and text her now and again, but you know deep down, that’s not enough. You make a mental note to schedule a lunch date with her– after you get home from running errands, but it escapes your mind. Well, she didn’t text either… I get it—I’ve done this. Many times. 
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Why does this happen? How can we desire personal connection, yet not follow through? I think it happens for many different reasons, but here’s a few…

1.         People are over extended.

”We are so busy!” Of course, busy-ness is relative, but it does seem that most people have a lot on their plates. They have their day jobs, side jobs, volunteering, kid’s school functions, kid’s extra-curricular activities, family time, church commitments, and so forth.  

2.         Family schedules are not (usually) guided by a shared vision and goals.

Without having a shared vision or purpose, it is easy to lose sight of what is truly important. Instead we can be pulled (or dragged lol) in multiple directions, depending on what demands our attention at that given time. At least that’s how it was for my husband Billy and I through the majority of our marriage. We never established a shared vision. It was not until we attended our company’s conference in May, that we realized that we needed to make a significant change. We had the most amazing speaker who trained us how to develop a vision, and how to establish and track personal and business goals. Since our vision was established, it has CHANGED our lives! I believe it will continue to do so, as long as we always keep our vision in the forefront of our minds. We try to have our vision and goals guide our weekly activities, and we have it all written down in a GREAT planner. Writing seems to solidify things on some level.
   3.      Many families don’t pre-week plan.

If you had asked me eight months ago, whether we pre-week planned, I would have said “Heck ya!” I wrote events on our family calendar, developed our weekly menu, grocery shopped and “finished” laundry prior to the start of the week. However, the best pre-week planning has a bit more depth to it. It requires sitting down with your spouse prior to the start of the week, reviewing your shared vision, your personal goals, and then determining what specific actions you will take to meet your goals. Once you write down the actions you plan to take and when you will take them, it helps you determine what extracurricular things you can add into your week. What do you truly have time to do? Can you add in socializing, pursuing your interests and passions? Do Billy and I have all of this figured out? No, but we do feel we are starting to get the hang of it.
   4.      Many people are comfortable with how things are.

Sometimes it is hard for people to break out of their social circle, and meet new people. I understand that completely as an introvert. Though I’m not your usual, run of the mill introvert. I have always loved being around people- most of the time lol. However, even after a get together, I usually have to recharge.  Billy is the complete opposite. His nickname was “Showtime” in high school. Need I say more lol. I also think it’s harder to establish new friendships as adults. It’s not like you can go up to someone like you did on the playground and say, “Do you want to play?” or “Can we be friends?”

Also, some people feel more comfortable socializing with people who are more like themselves. I use to be like that; however, as I grow older, I’m realizing that I really shortchanged myself over the years. I have more friendships now with people who are different ages, ethnic backgrounds, and various religious and political views. I feel that these relationships have really helped me see the world from different perspectives, and I appreciate the value that each of my friends have brought to my life.

Lastly, people correlate more personal connections in one’s life to increasing drama. Can I say this out loud LOL? Maybe that’s just me, but really, I don’t think I’m the only one who has correlated the two. You see the posts on Facebook, and you love your peeps dearly. But, there’s always that one friend who treats Facebook like a diary or the majority of their posts are complaints. You know what I’m talking about! Are they toxic? Do you cut them out of your life? I think it truly has to be a case by case determination. I  feel there are redeeming qualities in everyone, and when we limit who we are around, we could be missing out on a beautiful, enriching friendship. However, you have to make that judgement call for yourself and your family.
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As we have seen in the news the past couple of weeks, we are not promised tomorrow. Life can change at the drop of a hat. NOW is the time to make personal connections. We weren’t created to be islands. Is it hard sometimes to step out? Yes, especially if one is going through a difficult time. I also understand that completely. However, I think we will feel better (and be better) for doing it. Maybe start with sending a voice message instead of a text to a friend. Give them a few dates you are available to go to lunch or grab coffee. Get it scheduled, and soak up your time together. Feel good about being intentional. Then listen to your heart, think of another friend, and work through your list. Listen. Love. Repeat.
If this has inspired you, please let us know!


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