Guest diary entry: “…the mystery that is [navigating] friendship…”

Miss Babalwa Bongeka Nyembezi

Upon being approached to do an entry for theDustySoulDiary, my initial reaction was shock – I was really quite honoured. These initial feelings, however, did not help me to decide what I would write the piece about, which explains why it took me a week and a half to send my first draft to Madame Dusty Soul, and another week to send in the final draft. On that note, let us get on to why we’re here…

The other day I uploaded pictures on Facebook, the album title being “the mystery of friendship: love”; significant because as I was uploading these photos, the thought of how relationships have evolved after the entry of social networking into the equation came up. Social networks have transformed the way we live and communicate with one another, and so changing the way we navigate real life relationships.

Think about it: before Facebook and twit pics, when you and your friends went out, did you take a photo of every moment for the memories? I’m shaking my head and maybe you’re doing the same. How much of what is on Facebook is real, and how much of it is ‘put on’? Think about your own profile and how you’ve edited it over the years to suit the person that you were becoming and the young lady/man who you are now.

I received a friend request from a friend in one of my classes recently, the next day we laughed, because we both agreed that we had now “legitimised” our friendship to the world. We may have said this lightly, but many friendships are kick-started on Facebook and blossom in reality. So social networking is great, but what does this mean for the future of friendships? Are the virtual relationships that we cultivate adding more to our lives than the real ones? Or are the people we choose to follow on Twitter meant to be merely extensions of our real life relationships, adding flavour to what already exists?

Babalwa with DustySoul at a friend’s 21st

One thing that I have learnt about friends is that they’re there to badger, bother and bend you into the person that they see you to be, the person that you don’t see in yourself yet. Only a few months of solid friendship have taught me a great deal about navigating friendship, and this was mainly through Madam Dusty Soul herself. While social networks, from blogging to Facebooking to tweeting to Youtubing to What’s Apping and whatever else you can think of, have added colour to our friendship. These only worked to fill in the pencil lines that had already been drawn by God’s divinity of grace in blessing me the way He has with bright and beautiful friendships.

Blackberries, like a plague, have spread the extent to which we use social networks

The number of followers I have on Twitter, the number of friends I have on Facebook or the sum of my BBM contacts do not make up the bulk of my friendships, this is in fact not even a percentage of the people who I consider to be a part of my close circle of friends. “One can be in a roomful of people and still feel lonely”, the modern translation of this is: in a roomful of people each one can feel lonely, because each is absorbed in a virtual conversation that draws them away from the relationships they could be cultivating at that time. So yes, we can all agree that social networks are the squiz, but how useful will they be in teaching future generations how to navigate relationships outside of cyber-space? If you ask me, I’d say let’s stop giving social networks so much value in our lives and turn that “Skype date” into an actual face-to-face catch up session with a friend. A friend that is like a brother. The Proverbs 18:24 kind of friendship wasn’t brought close by your *BBM big hug face* but by your real hug, and real compassion for him.  

Yours in Grace,

Babalwa

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” – CS Lewis

** theDustySoul would like to apologise for disappearing so long on you! Hope this guest diary entry by Miss Babalwa Nyembezi has blessed you as much as her friendship has blessed me. Love, DustySoul

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