It’s a patio type of morning for me. The weather is predicted to be hot today, and for nearly the entire country, not just here. So, I am spending some time outdoors before things heat up. My trusty canine companions are with me, except for Shelby who opted to stay in the house.
Due to some recent rains, I have been able to skip watering for the past several days saving me hours of work. What a treat! Except for the container plants. They look droopy by afternoon and long for a splash of water on their roots. We oblige them because we do not want unhappy hibiscus, mandevillas, gardenias, and such. They make views from the patio so much better!
I have been thinking about the nature of friends in current times. Relationships have changed. I’m not sure if this is for good or bad. Probably a little of each as most things are or maybe only different.
I ponder why they have changed. My first thought is, we live in an electronic age. My second thought is we live in the time of Covid. Both have certainly changed things. People have cell phones and computers. Even most television viewing is by streaming rather than a live broadcast so we don’t even all get our news at the same time. We no longer use face to face interactions for the majority of our communications unless you count Zoom meetings and Facetime. We text, we email, and occasionally call. I am a believer that texts and emails can make life easier, but they also cause problems. Some emails are lost, but the sender doesn’t know it. If the message does arrive, vocal nuances and facial expressions do not accompany it so the meaning may be mis-taken. Sending, “That’s great”, does not convey the sarcastic tone that may, or may not be implied. Irony and a questioning lilt that is implied with a tone of voice is lost. Misunderstandings occur and feelings get hurt. I imagine this must be something we have all experienced. I do believe that electronic communication is a beneficial and powerful tool. We just need to take care with how we use it.
Keeping in touch with friends electronically is the new norm. I don’t feel that I have as many close friends now because we are texting and Facebooking, but not really visiting. This is exacerbated by Covid protocols. I am just as guilty of this as anyone. But it does make for a different type of relationship. Or maybe part of it is the natural progression as we get older, we don’t have the same intensity of friendships because we all have our own families and lives to take care of.
When I was younger, I had friends that I frequently spent time with. Even entire weekends. We went places and did things and were a regular part of each other’s lives. Fast forward to today. Does this still hold true? Not so much. Admittedly, two of my closest friends of my adult life have both passed away. So, it’s beyond my, or their, control that we don’t hang out.
On the flip side, I have many more friends than I ever did. These friends are more of the acquaintance variety. I have made most of them virtually. Or I may have met them in person once and we became friends via Facebook. I have made friends through other friends, at parties, at animal rescue events, and through other activities I have been involved in. People that I would only have had contact with one time, have been converted into regular acquaintances.
Some of my friends, I have never met in person at all. We hooked up through different Facebook groups or maybe as friends of friends or we find we share common interests. I have even had some of these virtual friends for years. And these friendships are important to me. I care about these people, and I believe they care about me. We “like” each other’s posts and frequently have conversations about life experiences and day to day life. In times of trouble or sadness, we offer each other words of comfort and support. One of my Facebook friends that I have never met in person was recently diagnosed with an aggressive and rare form of cancer. (Don’t give up, sometimes the doctor’s prognosis is wrong and there is more time to be had!) I am saddened by my friend’s diagnosis and think of her several times a day. My point is these types of friendships can have great value and be meaningful too.
I am blessed to live in an age where I can have friendships with people that live far away from me in distance, but we are close in spirit. I have reconnected with childhood friends and classmates, relatives that live far away. People I wouldn’t have the chance to be in touch with otherwise.
Now don’t get me wrong. I still have some friends that I visit with in person. Even a few new ones since I retired. And family members that I hang out with regularly. In fact, one of the best things is being friends with your adult daughter and your considerably younger brother and all the extended families that now come with them. I also know I am blessed that I love my family members and love spending time with them.
So, what is a friendship? I think it means different things to different people. May your friends be as dear to you as mine are to me.
Peace be with you!
6 thoughts on “Views from the Patio, 7/23”
Thank you for sharing your blog. The pictures are gorgeous! Maintaining the relationships with dear friends from the past is something very special. I am lucky to still have friends from my childhood.
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Thank you! Glad you enjoyed the pictures. I find it grounding to talk to people from my childhood. We never lose the memories from when we grew up.
I agree with all the points you made. So much can be misconstrued in a text and email. I am guilty of not being a fan of the phone (because I worked on the phone for 26 years!), yes, when I was in my 20s,30s, and 40s I lived in Ohio and did things regularly with a handful of friends who i considered to be close. Now that I am in Michigan, I do have friends, but not the same type. We don’t get together as often as we would like. I am so sorry about your friend’s diagnosis, I am praying that the doctor is wrong. I do believe in miracles!!! Your garden as always, looks glorious. Would love to dip my toes in the water!
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I understand about the phone. I had to answer it at work for many years too. However…when I was in high school I talked to my best friend for an hour every evening and that’s after having almost all the same classes and lunch together! Thank you for the kind words about the garden. If you’re ever coming to NE Ohio, let me know.
Just read your blog for the first time. It is lovely. The pictures create such a “sanctuary” and I appreciate your thoughts on friendship. I connect these days by Zoom and the phone. I have some email connections and texts. It is fine for me as I have felt protected from Covid these last couple of years. I am an introvert, so it is enough. I will continue to check in to read your posts. Thank you.
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Thank you! I am a bit of an introvert myself. Writing about it helps me to process it in my mind. It’s nice to hear how other people feel about it too.