Pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. (Eccl. 4:10)
My husband’s employer has transferred us a half a dozen times in sixteen years. When we moved the last time, I was lonely once again. In the mornings David would leave for work, the kids would leave for school, and I was home alone. I’d met a couple of the neighbors, but most of the women worked, and our family hadn’t found a new church.
After I unpacked the boxes and organized all the rooms, I began what became a daily routine of sitting down at the com- puter and joining online chats. But when my friend Connie called long distance to find out how we were settling in, she could sense something wasn’t quite right.
“What’s going on, Melissa?” she asked.
“Nothing really. We haven’t found a church yet, but I’m finally meeting some friends online.”
That began a long heart-to-heart conversation, and I told Connie about my struggles with loneliness. She said that while she didn’t have anything against appropriate online friendships, I should develop some real relationships. In person.
She was right. It’s becoming more common for people to develop relationships through the Internet. And while there’s nothing wrong with having friends online (assuming we use caution), God created us for face-to-face interaction. If you or someone you know needs real friendships, limit the time spent online. Get involved with your neighbors, coworkers, and friends at church. Consider volunteering and helping someone else who is lonely. Proverbs 11:25 says, “Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (niv).
Although I still talk to my online friends once in a while, they’re not my main source of friendships. I’m glad I took Connie’s advice.