Cost of Relationship Graphic

We were created with a need for friends – to be “relationship-ers.” Yet, so often we find ourselves rushing through our days with little time for arm-in-arm connections.  As women we need to seek Jesus first, but we also need to reach out to others so we can have (and be) a close friend.

One of my favorite contemporary authors, Renee Swope, once said, “I am created for real-life connections.  I need to fill that lonely place in my heart with friends I can share life with — in person.”

The world has noticed this, too.  Daniel Gilbert, Harvard Happiness Expert (how would you like that title?!?), identified friends as one of the biggest sources of joy in our lives.

Studies show seeing friends and family is actually worth about $97,265 per year.  According to this study, an individual who only sees (actually sees, not texts) his or her friends or relatives once a month or less would require almost $100,000 per year to be “just as satisfied” with life as an individual who sees his or her friends or relatives on most days.

$100,000.00

How many coupons would you have to cut to find that kind of savings in your family budget?

Science is discovering what God designed.  Sometimes just what we need is in-person, heart-to-heart, eye-to-eye connection and conversation.

We need the mascara-running-down-our-cheeks interactions. We need to see the eyes that crinkle in the corners when we say something funny, or the slight change of the eyebrow that indicates warning.  We need to see “the look.”

Your mom had it, remember?  I’m sure she did!  With my mom it was a certain position of one eyebrow – not a discernible change for anyone else, but we kids knew it and what it meant when we got back to the car if we didn’t stop.  Pronto.

You can’t see that eye-brow flicker in a text or e-mail or Facebook message or Instagram photo.

And when we post only the good parts, or fill in only the backstory we want to share, and blog “transparently” with carefully crafted and edited words, we miss out on the richness of sweet and genuine fellowship.

Face-To-Face relationships take time, I get that.  And we are already so pressed for time.  But if we counted the minutes we spend posting to Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest… if we tallied the moments spent writing blogs, e-mails, and texts… wouldn’t we find we are already spending a lot of time on relationships?  But it’s like eating a candy bar full of empty calories instead of steak and salad.

At this point, most authors/bloggers/speakers suggest a Social Media fast.  Perhaps we don’t need a Social Media fast as much as a little bit of calorie-consciousness… and we might find the extra minutes needed for an in-person cup of cocoa/coffee/cranberry juice.