Friendship over Social Media: How real is that connection?

Are Friendships through Social Media Real. Bert Anderson for TCMB

A little over eight weeks ago, I joined the ranks of “mother of three.” Much to my surprise, it hasn’t been nearly as difficult as the adjustment from one child to two was. I understand why people have more than two children; you’re already used to juggling everything so why not add another kid, right? However, when people ask me how things are going I honestly am not quite sure how to answer that. Things are going… I find that I live in increments of three hours. It’s in due part to my baby, Keira, needing to nurse every two to three hours and the other part seems to be when the older kids need to eat.

Breakfast. Mid-morning snack. Lunch. Naptime (yay!). Afternoon snack. Dinner. Wham bam, thank you ma’am! The days seem to drag on like I’m trying to walk upstream and yet at the end of every day, I look at the disaster that has become my house and realize that the day has escaped me. It’s over…just like that.

Other than the busyness of having three under the age of six, I need to honestly say that I feel very secluded. At first I thought I was lonely, but that wasn’t really accurate to how I was feeling. Then I was chatting with another friend who has a new baby and she used the word “secluded.” That was it! Keeping up with the feeding schedule of a newborn is difficult and often times you’re homebound because of it. When, however, I look at my life and how I communicate with my friends, I can’t deny that some of this is a societal thing. It’s one that we’ve all been told countless times: more and more people are connected online through social media and yet they feel so alone. Why is that?

Pretend Connection Through Social Media | Twin Cities Moms Blog

My mom and I were talking about the differences between being a mother in today’s day and age versus when she was a young mom. Today we have so much at our fingertips. So much information. Instant communication. You can ask a question out on the Facebook world and you’ll have 20 different answers (as well as passionate opinions) in a matter of minutes. We send a text to a friend and have a conversation through a screen without ever hearing the other person’s voice. That’s where my motherhood experience is different from my mom’s: she had to pick up the phone and call a friend to get answers to her questions, all I have to do is find a screen and press enter. She not only had to make an effort to connect with another human being, but when her effort was reciprocated, the connection was made; it was so sweet.

I think our dependence on technology is where motherhood becomes a little isolating, especially if you have a new baby and are already feeling a little cooped up. Sure, I’m “talking” with people all day long, but there’s something so sweet about a human voice who isn’t asking me to wipe their butt or get them something to eat. That sweet connection, the voice, is lost through a screen. There’s no real connection when that voice is missing. Plus, we put our best foot forward on Facebook; we show our movie reel instead of the behind the scenes. And why wouldn’t we? I have more friends on Facebook than I could actually talk to in a day. Do I want all 514 of them to know all of the behind the scenes in my day to day? No. I put my pretty make-up filled face on most days and you know what? That’s okay. There is something to be said about not letting in everyone and their mother on the ins and outs of your life. There should be information that only a select few get to know about you.

Sharing the ins and outs creates a deeper connection with another person. I think that this connection that we think we have on Facebook is so fake. We’re not ever going to really share our bad days with the world of social media and that’s why reaching out whether it’s through the phone (not through texting) or in person is so vital. Being a young mother is lonely business and we need that human touch (both through voice and maybe a hug) that can only be cured through a chat on the phone or a coffee date while the kids run around.

Pretend Connection Through Social Media | Twin Cities Moms Blog

Maybe it’s just me that feels this way… Do you see what I’m trying to say? Do you do anything to extend those friendships offline?

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