January 20, 2013

Authentic friendship in the age of social media

I think most women who read this blog can relate to my experience with friendship.

In short: It was a lot easier when I was a kid.

The longer version is this: With marriage and kids maintaining old friendships and growing new ones has been a lot harder.  In real life most of my old friends (from childhood and even some from college) tend to have different beliefs and values than I do.  For the most part we don't talk about the things we differ on, we just enjoy spending time with each other because there's so much comfort in how familiar we are with one another.  Some are Christian, some are not; some democrats, some are not; some have 2 kids, some have... well actually I think they all have 2 kids or less.  And I am completely sincere when I say that these friends are some of my most cherished.  I like that we have differences and knowing and loving them and being loved by them has made me a better person.  I am grateful.

I've noticed, though, that all my newer friends are similar to me: Catholics who love God and their faith, who love lots children - whether it's all 6 of their own or all 4 of their godchildren, who believe in traditional values, and who like food and beer.  But the strongest selling point is that they're Catholic.

I don't have to be on guard around my Catholic friends.  I don't have to explain or defend why Travis and I don't contracept.  Instead I can share how hard natural family planning is for us and I am greeted with empathy and understanding.  I don't have to explain that when I say "Fulton Sheen, pray for us!" what I really mean is, "Fulton Sheen, intercede for us the same way Pastor Whatshisname intercedes for you at your megachurch when you ask for his prayers." 

But forming relationships with those newer friends is hard.  In grade school, making a new friend took days, maybe even hours or minutes.  Today it has taken months and years.

That's why I so appreciate the "well" that is the internet and social media.  Through them I can gather with women from across the country (Texas, Colorado, D.C., Connecticut, Michigan, Indy) and around the world (whatwhat, Adrienne in the UK).  Together we can laugh at this

and pray for Jen and Emma and Fulton and Kathleen and Mia and my friend Pam who is being induced today, almost a year after delivering a stillborn.

We can talk about how we celebrate holy days and lose weight and what books and movies and shows we love.  It's awesome.

And it's why I'm so excited about this upcoming event, being held in Peoria, IL. 

Please join us for an exciting and pertinent talk on
Authentic Friendship in an Age of Social Media

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013
Doors open at 7:10pm
Event begins at 7:30

Saint Philomena Catholic Church
3300 N Twelve Oaks Dr
Peoria, IL

There is no cost to attend this event,
though a small donation for this special event is very appreciated!

A dinner with our guest speakers will be offered at 6:00pm for $10. Separate RSVP required.

For directions and more information please go to the First Saturday Peoria website.
If you're coming, especially if you're coming in from out of town, please let me know! Also, if you'd like to come to the dinner make sure you RSVP by this Saturday, the 26th. Space is limited for the meal so be sure you get your place (and food!) reserved soon!


  1. So jealous!!!! I'd love to be there. Maybe someone could tape the talk, and you could post it afterwards?

    And I've never seen that Padre Pio picture. It cracks me up.

  2. I love this. I think it really resonates after the article Jen posted about being a SAHM. I used to feel guilty for having FB open all day, but it is so nice to be able to just walk by and interact with another Catholic mom while I am home all day with no adult interaction :)

  3. This is awesome. I think it really resonates with me after that article Jen posted on being a SAHM. I always felt guilty for having Facebook open all day on my computer, but it is so nice to be able to just chat with another Catholic mom in passing while I am taking care of the house. It gets lonely, and this kind of stuff helps :)

  4. Well, clearly my deleted comment just showed up. Hello.

  5. If I lived in in Illinois I would totally be there! Sounds like a great conference.. Must get motivated. Thanks for the prayers, too!

  6. Awh! I want to come up to IL! God, please send me some cash for a plane ticket! :-)

  7. Just wanted to pass along another helpful thing about Social Media--I'm on Facebook with my Secular Family as well as all my Catholic Mom friends. The interchanges we have are pretty funny, but also deeply spiritual.

    I'm an adult convert. In the past, I really avoided talking deeply about spiritual things around my family. Because of Facebook, however, I'm less self-conscious about my new Catholic quote "weirdness." So that is neat. Being more authentic on FB and on my blog has actually helped me be more authentic with my non-religious family members as well.

  8. I'm hoping to make it! I'm technically coming from out of town but we used to live in the same town as you do so my hubby and kids will probably come along and visit his parents.

  9. Oh I wish I could come! I second the idea of taping it and putting it online! Could you post it on your blog or on Lisa's?

    1. I'm really excited to be joining you all in two weeks. Sister Helena and I spoke last week to coordinate the talk, and I really feel the Holy Spirit moving through both of us.

      I have access to audio recorders through the radio station and am willing to bring with me. Just let me know how/if I can help in that regard.

    2. You know, Lisa, if you and Sister are both okay with the talk being taped and distributed I would LOVE to share the link on my blog! I'm not in charge of First Saturday in any way but I'll make sure Marie sees this.

      Thank you for offering!

  10. I love this!

    Why don't we live in Peoria, where are the cool things happen!?!? Whhhhhhy

  11. How awesome, Bonnie! Wish I could be there. I will pray for you all though.

    I too am truly grateful for the friendships I've developed online with Catholic mamas. I don't think it has undermined my other friendships, but it has helped center me and make me more authentic.

  12. I really wish I could come to this - I hope you will share some of it on your blog after wards. I have met some truly amazing woman online & it is so hard to connect as an adult. :)