“Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another:
“What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .””
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
Let’s make that, “one person,” just to keep my inner humanist happy:>) Other than that one word, I’d say this quote is pretty much the mantra of Word Press. The “You too?” of it is what keeps “real” life support groups, and even service organizations going. I think it is the basic element that underlies many online social media forms.
Sure, we may be trying to build our “platform,” sell our book or our product. We may even be trying to “sell” our way of thinking; our own opinions. But underneath it all, when you post something that makes people think or write, You too? the human to human connection is made.
I’d venture to say that very few of us have the opportunity to share or receive many You too? moments in “real” life (RL). That’s usually where best friends come in. Sadly, many people out there just don’t have best friends, or any friends. I’ve run across several people like that online since I started my blog in March. Too many.
We are still judging people by their outside appearance; their clothes, their cars, their income and their socially acceptable rating on the attractiveness scale. We see none of that online, at least we don’t in the beginning. When we do see a photo, it is usually the best of the best that we can come up with, but often it is a cartoon or our cat or an anonymous design or shadow figure.
So we don’t know if they are a hippy, a banker, a butcher, a baker or a candle stick maker. We just know that we had that You too? feeling about something they wrote. The funny thing is, that it may be months before we find out that their political or religious beliefs are completely, totally, thoroughly OPPOSITE of ours.
Now what? That’s the interesting thing, to me, at least. Now we mentally get out the paper and pen to do the pro/con list, or we dig out the scales, to weigh the heft of “OPPOSITE” against “YOU TOO?” It is my belief that if you have strong opposing beliefs, with little tolerance for the other side, and/or you have a bus load of friends in RL, you exit, stage left. On the other hand, if you are tolerant of other belief systems and/or have few, if any friends in RL, you hang in there.
Is this too simplistic or totally erroneous? What do you think? I confess, I am a cave woman, a loner (duh, you know that). I am very lucky to have 4 long-time best friends. I have solid friends that I have not known as long, and I have an incredibly supportive family. Why they put up with my anti-social ways, I may never know, but they do.
Then, I have this incredibly supportive group of friends online, including some from the previous paragraph. And STILL that You too? matters so much to me. It matters so much, that I don’t care if we have some opposing beliefs. Hell, I am out of step with the strong beliefs of most of my RL family and friends! Really. And judging by Facebook posts, I’m REALLY out of step, or out of line, as they would say if they had the chance.
I will admit that I have stopped following a few people who I did not have the You too? feeling for in the first place, and in the second place, they showed their mean, cruel or intolerant side. I just love saying, “I will not tolerate intolerance!” That just cracks me up. But it is true.
How many creative artists have we missed in our everyday lives? How much knowledge has gone unknown? How many loving, compassionate people have we ignored? They have always been there, sometimes in our own circle. And now they are out there shining and being accepted and winning recognition, and best of all, they are building friendships. I hope they find my blog soon.
My point is that these blogs, and other social media forms, are bringing us closer together. (Okay, maybe not facebook:>) They are testing our tolerance, and I think we are all winning. We are getting to know and become friends with people from all walks of life. When that banker finds out that the guy he’s been sharing poetry with is a damn hippy, he hangs in because they have forged some kind of bond. (I do realize that the banker could BE a hippy.)
Do you see it too? Leave a comment and share your thoughts, please.
Patti, who is not a hippy or a banker:>)
Okay, one totally unrelated photo…
Every Damn Day? Who’s idea was this anyway? The culprit can be found here: Every Damn Day December at http://treatmentofvisions.com/2013/11/26/evdadadec/