After I lived in Europe for three months for a study abroad experience, I had one of the biggest awakenings I ever had in terms of understanding the power of friendship. Sitting on my bed, slowly unpacking the one large, duffle bag I brought with me that contained my entire life for three months, I realized that a handful of the closest friends that I had lived more than 3,000 miles away from me. How could I possibly feel so close to them when they were so far away?
It was at this point that I realized that my standard for friendship had changed. I noticed in the United States, we are so quick to let people into our lives and to intrude into others’ personal lives. I have always been a relatively private person, even among the friends that I have in the U.S. who have known me for a few years. The friends who have known me for four or five years would say that while they understood who I was in terms of personality, they didn’t really know what went on in my mind or in my personal life behind closed doors which I held so closed and continue to only let a few into.
The reason I feel like I took to my friends in Europe, one good friend from England, one from France, and the other from Italy, was because they were the exact kinds of friends that I always wanted but never thought I would have to the opportunity to have and to meet. They were the kinds of friends that took some time to get to know, even if we saw each other nearly every night at happy hour at the various clubs and bars we went to when we were study abroad students. Once we became friends, I knew that we were friends for life.
They are the kinds of friends who I have traveled thousands of miles to see. They are the kinds of friends who would drive up a Swiss mountaintop in the middle of the night in snowstorm to see me, and this is no exaggeration. My Italian friend did exactly that to see me for a few hours when I was in Switzerland for the week.
So, the reason that I am bringing this up now is because now that I’ve been working in the real world away from many of my college friends, I realized that I feel so disconnected with the advent of social media. I have never been in love with social media, but I have always realized the power and the use for it. Obviously I have a blog here and consider myself the founder of it, but I am taking a few steps back here to remember why I started it in the first place.
I’m taking a few steps back here to remember why I ever liked social media in the first place. Social media, in addition to texting, e-mailing, talking on the phone, or any kind of medium in which we cannot touch the other person we are talking to physically, has always been a bridge for me to cross before I next saw the person I was talking to then and there. If anything, I have always preferred sending my friends handwritten postcards or letters if we couldn’t meet.
For me, social media is just a way of instantly attempting to get to another person and expecting an instantaneous response. If I truly respect and care for someone, as much as possible, I want to give that person 110% person of my attention. I don’t want to just give them 50% of my attention when in addition to me chatting with them online, I’m also tweeting, Instagraming, Facebooking, and insert-brand-name-here-ing. I don’t want them to be lazy friends with me. I don’t want lazy friendship. In the same way that I have always searched for serious love, I have always searched for serious friendship.
I’m lucky enough to say that I’ve found both serious friendship and a serious love. In that same regard, because I know that I have had the opportunity to raise my standards and have those standards met, I would say that we need to keep those standards high for ourselves in business as well. We cannot be lazy with the people we care about. We cannot be lazy with the people we want to do business with. Social media should be used as a tool for what we do outside of our digital lives. We must never forget the power and value of seeing another person, shaking their hand, looking them in the eye, and having that connection. Raise your glasses with your partners and raise your standards.
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@AlphaFemSociety tweets by @BoBellerz