Thursday, February 4, 2010

Virtual/real relationships

Richard just recently joined Facebook so he and I were talking last night about whether more men or more women were on it and who spent the most time there. Today I got a email from Jennifer Rothschild ( with the following paragraphs by Amy Lively in it.

"The women in your neighborhood are likely to spend five hours and 24 minutes each month following their Facebook friends.

Facebook has replaced face-to-face, heart-to-heart conversations. We tweet instead of talk. Our electronic disconnect means we're "friends" without being friendly. Our status updates are witty and cute, with pictures of our darling children and amazing vacations. It's entirely possible to have an impossibly long list of virtual friends, yet there's no one to look into your eyes and see your pain, your sorrow or your joy. Women are starved for personal attention, meaningful relationships and purposeful lives.

Your neighborhood is a convenient, comfortable and non-threatening place to invite women into relationship with you, take them by the hand, and walk with them to the
throne of grace where they can meet their Savior.

Do you know your neighbors?

* How many of your neighbors could you greet by name?
* When was the last time you shared a meal with a neighbor?
* How do you serve your neighbors?
* If you needed help, could you call a neighbor?
* Do your neighbors call you when they need a stick of butter?
* What is your next door neighbor's most pressing need?

No detailed demographic studies are needed for your own neighborhood: inside every home are women who are hurting and hungering for the Lord. Their common need is to know Christ, and their common denominator is they live near you, a woman with a passion for loving them like Jesus."

Now, I certainly don't think it's wrong to spend time on Facebook, but her challenge stirred my thinking....

How well do I know my neighbors? Am I intentionally building relationships with them? Immediately I thought of some excuses....

First, I tend to think that my neighbors are too busy - too (fill in the blank) to desire a relationship with me. Even though I am busy, I need meaningful relationships with other women - so I guess this is not a good excuse.

Second, the fear of rejection is huge! What if I knock on their door and invite them over and they say, "Not interested!" That would be a big blow to my shaky self-esteem.

Third, how do you go about this? I taught a Bible study in my home many years ago for neighborhood women in another state, but haven't done it here. Now it seems that everyone pulls up to their house, opens their garage door- from the car, and cocoons inside. If you have any ideas on making/building friendships with neighbors, please leave a post with your idea.


  1. I really needed this today. Just this past weekend, our neighbors graciously came over to help Nathan cut down three huge trees (after the husband had finished working his night shift at work, mind you). While outside cutting trees, Nathan said the neighbors wife offered them chili for lunch and they all ate together. THEN, to top it all off, their 13 year old son offered to plow our driveway any time it snowed (for free!). It was convicting, because I realized I haven't done much to befriend them and yet they had gone so far out of their way in one single day for us.

    I think just being aware of our neighbors needs is key. Just like our friendly neighbors, watching for an opportunity to help out is one way to make an impact and show you're interested in them.

  2. Great thought- I'm so wrapped up in my own world that it's easy to forget about others.

  3. Great post! My family has moved around a lot, and one way that we always get to know our neighbors is taking cookies or other baked goodies to them. Also, we walk around the neighborhood for exercise and have met so many of our neighbors that way...just stopping to stay hello as we walk. We don't live in a neighboorhood anymore, but a few years ago we lived in a very close, tight-knit community and it was wonderful! All the teenagers and kids would play basketball or baseball together until dark and ride their bikes around the cul-de-sac and the parents all knew each other. Once, our attic caught on fire and we had 20 or 25 people from the neighborhood helping us get things out of the house. They even let us store some of our stuff in their homes until we could get the damage repaired. It was such a blessing to have relationships like that, and I really miss it.

  4. I love the post! I personally do not have a Face-book account for fear of the time it would take away from my already packed schedule. However, I have a friend who became a Christian in her late teens who is able to reconnect with old acquaintances through Face-book. On several occasions she has mentioned that she was able to share Christ through Face-book!

    As far as connecting with neighbors, I second Christina's idea of taking food. Bringing a cassarole and dessert with a card to introduce yourself is a great first gesture. An invitation for a tea party or coffee is often welcomed, as well. We do playdates with our neighbors who have children, too.

  5. My kids are much better at meeting the neighbors than I am. We live next to an apartment complex and because we have 15 acres the kids come over to our yard to play. The moms have my number to call if need be. Our other neighbors have no children but neices and nephews. The kids are attracted to each other.

    This past summer our neighbor planted a garden for the first time. I have been raised gardening so we chatted about that. I believe that you have to be actively looking for ways to connect. Ex: gardening, kids, fishing boat, yard work, snow plowing, etc. I definitely need to learn a lesson from my kids and take my own advice!

  6. Thanks for the great ideas - I've started praying for an open door in my neighborhood. I'll keep you posted. I'm also keeping my eyes open. Our neighbor across the street just told he has prostate cancer and he's quite young. Maybe this will be my opportunity.

  7. Hi, Sandy!

    Sorry this is a little late, but I just wanted to say THANK YOU!! for Carter's gifts that you sent with Dave and Bethany. We really appreciate them! Carter loves his warm, fuzzy sleepers, and the diapers are a definite help to us (even if Carter doesn't know they are a great gift!). Hope you all are doing well and that we get to see you sometime relatively soon!

    Keshia Atwood