Sometimes I really underestimate the power of social networking to have interesting conversations. For this weekend’s reach-around, there was the conversation I had during my impromptu friendship appreciation day. (Okay, to be honest, weekends are slow on Twitter and I get bored easy, especially if all I’m doing is sitting around thinking.) Many of us have difficulty telling our friends how much they mean to us. Thus my tweets from Saturday.

thinking about what it means to be a good friend

thinking about how we toss around the word “friend” way too easily without truly understanding what it takes to be one

-Matthew Warner at 12:15pm December 6 Eat that, John McCain!

(before I get e-mails, Matt said that, not me. Now go buy his books)

MauriceBroaddus @christammiller i do think internet “friending” defines friendship down to where we confuse acquaintanceship with friendship.

-Susan Taylor at 12:32pm December 6 Or strangers with friends. 😉 heh

(Don’t know Susan? Go read her magazine)

Maurice Broaddus at 12:35pm December 6 we’re all a series of 1s and 0s … unless we truly invest ourselves. because i know i have teh interwebz to thank for more than a few FRIENDships. 😉

Laurie Handel Miller at 12:42pm December 6 so you’re saying i don’t REALLY have 81 “friends?” this is truly a revelation. and my friends don’t have 372 friends? amazing.

(Don’t know Laurie? She makes church a delight.)

Maurice Broaddus at 12:57pm December 6 i barely KNOW 631 people, much less have that many friends. 🙂

MauriceBroaddus @christammiller it’s like we’ve lost the word acquaintance because anything less than calling someone a friend might hurt their feelings

christammiller @MauriceBroaddus As for online I sometimes look at my lists and think, Who are these people and why do they want to friend me? LOL

(Don’t know Christa? Go correct that.)

christammiller @MauriceBroaddus And is it possible/desirable to REALLY be there – to put forth the same effort – for every single one… to risk trust?

MauriceBroaddus @christammiller absolutely not. we’re going to have people we’re closer with, who we will have more connection to.

MauriceBroaddus @christammiller we physically/spiritually/emotionally can’t be there for everyone on that intimate a level.

MauriceBroaddus @christammiller true intimacy requires trust and risk and investment and shouldn’t be (casually) given to everyone we encounter.

christammiller @MauriceBroaddus So it’s about being more judicious with whom we think of as “friends”… not trying to do/be more for friends who aren’t.

christammiller @MauriceBroaddus Which frees up our emotional/spiritual resources 4 our truest friends and allows us to let the others go to find their own.

MauriceBroaddus @christammiller i find it interesting that we were told to love our neighbors as ourselves, not go and be friends with everyone.

MauriceBroaddus @christammiller e.g., i can love “you” (generic you) and behave in love toward you without emotionally investing in any more of a relationship than that

christammiller @MauriceBroaddus “Behave in love toward you” I guess is where I was going with the question on “being there” fully for everyone in your life

christammiller @MauriceBroaddus By “behave in love” you mean treating others with kindness and respect though… not necessarily giving of energy?

MauriceBroaddus @christammiller honestly i try to be there for the people in my life, as fully as possible, while not forsaking my most impt relationships

MauriceBroaddus @christammiller keeping in mind they are in my life for a reason; and i’m not going to be there for everyone the way that i am for my wife

MauriceBroaddus @christammiller one of the biggest problems i’ve faced working in the ministry: people’s inability to make and keep friends

thinking about how destructive endless back-biting is to a friendship or a community of friends

Mark Worthen at 2:47pm December 6 but backbiting and infighting is about as productive as sticking your finger in a bowl of water trying to leave an impression.

(Don’t know Mark? Fix that.)

thinking about where we’d be if none of us were forgiven for our past mistakes

thinking about what a great support i have in my spouse, which i’ve too often taken for granted.

(who else would buy me my very own Charlie Brown Christmas tree?)

thinking about all of the precious friendships i’ve been privileged to have as a part of my life.

thinking of the family i was born into and the family i chose (in my friends)

ah … and a true milestone was reached in my twitter history: my first fail whale for too many tweets.

(it’s like teh interwebz is saying “shut the hell up”)

Hmm, if you read only the parts in red, it almost reads like a guided meditation on friendship. Feel free to add to the conversation* here or with your own friends. I’m sure it’s long overdue.

*None of this takes into account Brian Keene becoming a preacher or me looking into pimping, but I didn’t say all of the Twitter conversation was going to make sense.

If you want to make sure that I see your comment or just want to stop by and say “hi”, feel free to stop by my message board. We always welcome new voices to the conversation.