With the advent of social media, the ways we communicate with each other are no longer complicated and costly. Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp help us quickly offer greetings and regards to family members and friends we don’t often get to see.
But posting selfies and liking photos should not be the only things that make social media part of our social lives. Social media is not a fake world with fake words and fake messages, as long as you treat those who maintain networking with you as real friends.
Recently I made a mistake: I received an invitation on Facebook from a friend who was hoping I could attend her birthday party. Without thinking, I clicked the “going” option, assuring her that I would show up—even though I wasn’t sure I could make it. When the party rolled around, I was nowhere to be found. As a result, all I offered was a fix-nothing and make-up-for-nothing apology. We remain friends, but I believe that any promise I make to her in the future will only cause her to doubt me.
When we receive invitations from friends on Facebook, many of us might not even look to see what those invitations are for. We treat them the same way we treat TV commercials for goods we never buy. But in doing this, we are wrong. It is wrong to ignore those who don’t consider us more than “Facebook friends”—true, real-life friends. They want us to be part of the fun they spend time and money making! When somebody opens a door for us, they are the kind of people we need to have in our lives, especially if we want to make sure friendship is more than one message and one “like.”
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram alone cannot sustain friendships. Only effort and consideration can do that. Social media is no substitute for your friends’ actual smiles and jokes. A Facebook invitation is just that—an invitation. An invitation from a potential friend to spend time together and make memories.
Our fingers were made to do more than pressing buttons. They were made to shake hands, to pat backs, to hold loved ones. You have the right to make a choice, but consider the effect your choice may have.
If you aren’t serious about a party invitation, just click the “can’t go” option and avoid looking like the liar of the day. Just because an invitation is open to everyone, or the host may have invited a lot of people, doesn’t mean you are not a special guest. Who knows, you may be one of the only people who actually shows up.
Don’t think social media is trivial just because there are ads and jokes. Don’t think social media is self-indulgent just because there are selfies and relationship status updates. Social media is as serious as your commitment to your friend.
Can’t or don’t want to go to an event? Then select “can’t go” and simply avoid being the jerk who breaks promises.