Saturday, March 11, 2017

Deleting . . . and Adding

I’m doing something crazy!  I’m going out on a limb here, people!  I’m going to take Facebook off my phone!  I know, monumental, right?  Funny thing is, I’ve only had a smartphone for about a year now.  It’s not like I’m drastically modifying my way of life.  Or am I?

It may seem like a pretty simple thing, but these days, I realized that I spend more time reacting to statements that people wrote to LOTS of people or writing things that will be sent out to LOTS of people than I do actually writing individual messages or talking with individual friends.  I realized that I might know how many kids you have and if you moved recently or if you had a tasty dinner, but I have no idea about your dreams, your disappointments, your hopes, your fears, your real thoughts and feelings.  I’ll call this the ‘Christmas Card Connection‘ or CCC.  Now, I love Christmas cards.  It’s so fun to get them and hear from all my friends around the world, learn what their year was like, remember them, catch up so that if I run into them in another year or two I’m not totally in the dark.  But, that’s not a real friend, it’s an acquaintance.  A real friend is someone I can call when I need to cry it out, someone I can rejoice with when they reached a goal, someone I would drop everything for just to bring them a meal if they were sick, someone I could laugh with over an embarrassing moment.

Living where I do, maybe I’m feeling this void more than others might.  In this culture, I don’t talk to members of the opposite sex unless I have to.  Many women stay in their homes and relate with their female relatives.  It’s difficult to leave the house and some weeks I never leave the radius of 2 blocks around my house.  It can be hard to get into a deeper relationship with people here because of the language barrier, so my friendships are few.  So, I’ve found myself filling that void with looking at what everyone is doing of Facebook.  It makes me feel connected to people.  Even if it is only the CCC.  Somehow, I’m comforted that people are out there living their lives who know who I am, who like my comments, who ‘haha’ my posts.  And blogging does that too, to some extent, though I’d keep doing it if nobody read it because it’s kind of my journal and diary, too.  It could be that this is a phenomenon that only I am feeling, but I suspect that others do it for similar reasons.  There are plenty of studies out there that explain why we can’t put our phones away.  But I want to put mine away.  I want to have a real relationship with real people that isn’t just CCC but shows I actually care about what happens in their lives on a personal and not just communal level.  Community is fine if it brings people together, but it seems that this CCC kind of community just drives people apart.  It makes it so we never have to really know what’s going on in anyone’s life, but just what they want to show us on our screen.

You may argue that this superficiality was rampant long before the touchscreen.  I’d agree.  But, I didn’t have any patience for it back then, either . . . so . . . 

There are a few things that have pushed me over the edge.  One of those is the ugliness that has run rampant with trolling and posting of hateful opinions on every side of every issue.  I live in a pretty stressful environment with people who are very different from myself in many ways.  I don’t have the emotional capacity to care that someone I met twice just posted a meme that would break the hearts of my friends here.  I don’t have the patience or brain space for another post that attacks my faith from a person who I would like to just sit and have coffee with.  It’s exhausting.  I don’t have room in my heart to be offended when I just want a friend.  So, I’m done filling my eyes and head and heart with all the hate, judgement, fear, and division that keeps popping up.  I love you all too darn much!

Then there was the death of a high school classmate.  I hadn’t seen him since graduation because both he and I left our hometown and our paths never crossed after that.  We were friends on Facebook, but he didn’t post much, so I really knew so little about him.  I know so little about most of my classmates.  It reminded me that Facebook doesn’t mean that I really keep up with anyone.  It’s also a poor substitute when you wish you could just sit down and chat with a person and that opportunity has passed.

Another thing is simple loneliness.  There can be days in a row where I see and speak with no one but my family.  I love them, but it’s also important for me to have relationships outside of them.  I do have local friends and other foreign friends who live here, but I want to focus on those relationships and also people who are ready to do the work that it takes to keep up a friendship long distance.  I’ve enjoyed so much getting to run into people I’d lost track of for a decade or more through FB.  It’s really fun to see people who are growing, who’ve made it, who have a life they’re finding fulfillment in.  That’s been a great gift.  But, these assurances and Christmas Card moments are getting farther and farther between.  So, I’d rather spend time writing emails and calling people.  Having that real conversation, sharing that personal feeling.

I listened to a podcast recently that kind of hit me hard.  It made me sad for what we’re losing and not so hopeful for what we’re gaining.  It was TED radio’s 2-part podcast called Screentime.  If you want to check it out, I recommend it.  It’s not doomsday or anything, but some of the things they were talking about just reminded me how much I want to proactively pursue face-to-face, or at least ear-to-ear or eye-to-eye interaction.

So, I’ll still have a Facebook account. I’ll still post my blog updates here, since it’s an easy way for people to find them (though you can subscribe if you want to).  I’ll check my account once in a while -- starting with about once a week, maybe -- but I won’t check it several times a day.  I might miss some kids being born or some great recipes, but I’ll be doing something even dearer to my heart.  I’ll be emailing and calling friends and hearing their birth stories and recipe ideas personally.  And in another few months, I’ll be dropping in on some of you for a cup of coffee and a long chat!

If you’d like to keep in touch like this and don’t have my email address or phone number, just message me or leave a comment and I’ll get back with you.  Leaving off this post for now, hoping you have a great chat with someone today.

And here are a few pictures of what I look like now.  I realized that, since I never take selfies, that it's rare for me to post a photo of myself!


  1. Well done! There are more reasons that what you posted here to get Facebook off of ones phone... (see Wikileaks CIA vault 7 and all that), but also because Facebook actually takes over your phone, and all of your apps. One can still access Facebook via any given phone web browser, and can even still get fulfillment out of that avenue.

    Having said that, Facebook was new when we moved to Asheville. Very shortly after moving here I gave birth to Matthew and then shortly after that came Jacob. I swear Facebook saved my life. That interaction with people was the only thing that kept me sane during a very lonely time in my personal life. So don't beat yourself up too bad devalued of an over indulgence, it might be just the tool you need at isolated time of your life right now.

    Sending you love and light! 😍😘😍😘

    Diana Kruk

  2. So fun to see Michael Kruk sending me "love and light" -- until you signed your name. Thanks friend! Not beating myself up at all, just ready for a change :)

  3. I agree with you on the drawbacks with facebook, and smart phones in general. Time with my friends and even family have too often been taken up with half the people hunched over their eye contact there!
    Like your still have a beautiful smile :)

  4. Thanks! And yes!! I've been working on leaving my phone off and/or in my pocket when engaging with people face to face. It's a good practice.