Are Facebook friends real friends?

Something interesting happened just over a year ago. My past was reunited with my present thanks to Facebook. Suddenly I was writing to the very people who remembered me as a terribly shy grade-schooler, an awkward tween, and an over-zealous academic nightmare in high school. They “friended” me. Even better, they don’t think less of me now for what I was then.

I also have family stretched across the time zones--many with babies being born I have never seen, until Facebook. I can be part of their lives as I read their posts. I’ve learned what’s challenging them while also viewing video clips from birthday parties along with the cute kiddie antics that reveal the unmistakable genetic connections.

I have moved eight times in the past 30 years. That’s eight different communities, with different schools, clubs, churches, stores and an array of friends who’ve shared my life in each of those special chapters. The loose strings from those years have been pulled together again as some now share Facebook with me.

I’ve now been settled in one place for fifteen years—so I have a sense of belonging where I currently find myself. And many wonderful friends share this wooded bliss with me, as well as our Facebook walls. I learn quickly about school games, work woes, scary doctor appointments, and fun thoughts, along with opportunities to occasionally vent frustrations. Sometimes it can be random, but sometimes so is life.

When I hear that Facebook is addictive, a waste of time, or just another way to eliminate real connections, it’s not that way for me. I find it a way to bring a rather disjointed world a little closer together. I’m sharing with real friends who are sharing our journeys no matter where we all live. Do all friends care as much as I do? Perhaps not all. But many do. So Facebook friends are real. And in a throwaway culture, I’m not ready to trash Facebook.

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