Remember those days when you had to actually watch a television show when it aired, instead of recording it on your DVR or catching it online somewhere? I remember looking forward to Friday nights because I got to watch “TGIF” with my parents, my brother and my sister! I also remember sitting around the TV watching shows like The Wonder Years or even watching a sports game together. Later in my teenage years, we would have watch parties for “Survivor”. Those times really brought groups together, whether family or friends. But as we all know, those days are pretty much long gone.
Recently, the LifeSongs team was sitting around a table eating cake for someone’s birthday and we started talking about this subject. My, how things used to be so simple: fewer gadgets, less technology to continually distract everybody. I mean with texting, email and Facebook, it’s hard to believe ANYONE has a real face-to-face conversation anymore! It’s not all that bad though. Thanks to FaceTime on my iPad, I’ve been able to watch my nieces and nephew grow up almost in real time. I get to interact with them (they live ten hours away) in a way that I wouldn’t otherwise. Now, I’m not this weird uncle that they only see once or twice a year. Its great!
But I do believe that the increase in technology and gadgets has hampered our ability to build real, genuine and lasting relationships with people. We can easily avoid any face-to-face or even voice-to-voice contact if we just text or email. I think we should do our best to reverse this trend. And here are a few ways that we can do that:
- Call up a friend and meet at coffee house. Even if you don’t like coffee (they usually have other drinks there that you’ll enjoy), you can spend valuable time just catching up and enjoying each other’s company.
- Invite some friends over for pizza and game night. This used to be the norm, but nowadays, these types of socials usually revolve around watching a movie, a television show, or a ball game. But there’s not much interaction when everyone’s eyes are glued to the TV! Fun games bring out people’s personalities and create great bonding times (and much laughter as well)!
- Come early and leave late to your church’s weekly worship gathering. Seek out new friendships by intentionally introducing yourself to that person you’ve seen a million times on Sundays but never actually talked to.
- Volunteer at a local charity. Its one thing to rebuild relationships with people you already know (friends and family). It’s an entirely different thing to build genuine relationships with total strangers, and volunteering will definitely provide that opportunity.
Again, technology is not all bad. I’m thankful for the advances our society has made (for the most part). But I also know that God has built a desire in us all for real, truthful, and genuine relationships. Hopefully these suggestions will help cultivate real friendships, and reverse the trend of the email, text and Facebook society we are currently living in.