The other night I went to my small group from church. It turned out to be an extra small group. There were two of us plus the two leaders. Usually there are about 8 or so. At any rate, it gave us some time to chat that might not have otherwise been there.
We ended up talking about friends in a round about way. Being single, I spend the majority of my time alone. Okay, I am with others at work, but it isn't a friendship. Most people there wouldn't know much about my personal life. There isn't really much time or space to share there. And then there is what people would think of as appropriate or inappropriate things to share in a work environment.
I have this deep need to connect with people. But I seem to struggle with making the deep friendships. I'm not sure why that is. My counselor would say that I never saw it modeled. That is true. Ever fiber of me longs for the friend who knows me inside and out and has been there over the long haul. It also longs to know someone else that way.
I came across this quote from Mother Teresa:
The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love.
Have you ever thought of loneliness as a disease? I think she is right. It's not a disease of the body, but it is a disease of the heart and soul. You can't catch it the same way you can a cold. But some of the same things that help someone ill feel better can help the lonely: being physically cared for (hugs), prayed for, shown care in tangible ways.
If a doctor prescribes an antibiotic, I can pick it up, take it, and get better on my own. But no one recovers from loneliness on their own. The heart of it is that we need each other more than just an occasional email or a text announcing (though I haven't seen you in eons) that you are one of my 10 or more BFFs. It requires being there for others in a solid way rather than the semi solid way our culture is breeding.
So, how do you make friends? What are your tips?
Do you think we have any cause for concern that the internet and such is building a false sense of intimacy? Yes, we can text at the speed of light, but does that preclude anyone really knowing us?