12 responses to Guest Post: Friend, or Facebook Friend?
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    Comment on Guest Post: Friend, or Facebook Friend? (December 4th, 2017 at 10:45)

    This is one of the best articles I have read. It expresses my own sentiments. Great thinking.

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    Debbie H
    Comment on Guest Post: Friend, or Facebook Friend? (December 4th, 2017 at 11:46)

    Wonderful article. It brought attention to the isolation I have put myself in since the loss of my husband and how AI thought I could exist on Facebook “friends.” Thanks for the nudge.

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      Comment on Guest Post: Friend, or Facebook Friend? (December 5th, 2017 at 18:58)

      Glad to hear that Debbie. I think Jeff made some very good points here that I felt like we might know already on some level, but doesn’t hurt to hear again. I hope the nudge helps make good things happen for you.

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    Kevin lindsey
    Comment on Guest Post: Friend, or Facebook Friend? (December 4th, 2017 at 14:34)

    This was a good and thoughtful article, one that certainly gives me pause to consider, and will continue to think about. I am sorry for the loss of his brother, but really liked this tribute to him. As a Catholic who admires the Amish I appreciate the parallels he pointed out. Thanks

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    Comment on connection (December 4th, 2017 at 16:52)


    Very thoughtful article. I read an article recently about the doubled level of loneliness, and the author made a similar point to what this author has made: loneliness is a byproduct that can only be expected from a society such as ours, where independence is valued above just about anything else. We are expected to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps if we fall on hard times, to be completely self-sufficient islands. If we ever need anything from other people, we’re seen as weak.

    This topic really hits home for me. I’m on disability, unable to work full-time. I can work part-time but the system really doesn’t make it easy and most jobs require more hours than I can do. I finally, just last month, found the right one for me. But a lot of it is from home. So I have to find ways to be around other people. Becuase think about it, where do most people meet friends or future spouses? At work. So if you don’t have that regular interaction, you often end up alone. You have to go very far out of your way to meet people. And you almost always have to have money.

    There’s a site called meetup.com which allows people with shared interests in a local area to get together, but my area doesn’t have any groups I can be part of (there’s a mom’s group but I’m single, there’s a baby boomer’s group but I’m in my 30s, etc). If I wanted to start my own, I’d have to pay each month for the privilege of hosting the group on that site. There’s a local photography group outside of that website, but each member has to pay $25+ for each outing they do together. Going to theatres or museums costs money; even casual things like bars or coffeeshops costs money — and $20 a month might be nothing to some people, but for someone trying to survive on disability, it can be too much. The local library is free and has lots of events but almost all are for children.

    As a result of all this, I literally have just ONE friend in my state, and she’s not close enough to see more than once every month or two at best. I have one or two friends elsewhere, and I chat with them online. No, it’s not the same as in-person, but I haven’t got much choice. I tried volunteering when I moved here, but I was actually -turned down- by the first five places I tried.

    I felt like I didn’t exist to the world. My mental and physical health suffered greatly, and it didn’t matter a bit. -I- didn’t matter. I even tried going to a church, but being a non-theist humanist, I didn’t fit in (and I don’t think people should have to have a religion shoved down their throats in order to feel like they exist). Secular organisations like the Sunday Assembly are starting to spread, but they’re not in my area yet.

    Our society has a lot of people who get “left behind” like me. But I don’t think the Amish have that so much. They’re aware of the vulnerable members of their community, and they make sure to include them in things. Those people wouldn’t be forgotten or abandoned. This is probably the biggest aspect of Amish culture I think we would benefit from.

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      Comment on Guest Post: Friend, or Facebook Friend? (December 5th, 2017 at 19:20)

      JM, thanks for the thoughtful comment. I think you bring up a good point in that things like Facebook are just tools and can be used for positive purposes as well – and can very well foster or help maintain meaningful connections, especially in situations where in-person meetings are not as easy. There was even an article a few years back on Amish youth on Facebook and how their interactions might actually strengthen or insulate their ties to their Amish (or Amish-raised) peers rather than take them outside their groups. I am aware of meetup though never have attended any events, have wondered how those are. I am also single and find there to be both pluses and minuses of having an empty home to come back to at the end of the day 🙂 It does take some work to maintain social connections when you don’t have a lot of immediate family around you. With more people being single and mobile, this has to be a bigger issue now than in generations past. And social media has filled that gap in some way (or has possibly exacerbated the situation, but I think that’s a question for social scientists…). Thanks much for sharing your perspective and giving this food for thought.

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    Comment on Thankyou (December 4th, 2017 at 23:54)


    My parents would be 99 and 110 if alive and I grew up watching my folks care for family and friends. Neighbors neighbored and family took care of, or had family move in with them. It was the way our culture functioned in the olden days. Too bad we’ve gotten away from that today.

    As you know Erik I’ve had Amish friends all my life and have observed the way they live, and it’s like how many of us “used” to live. You don’t have to think about things…you just do it.

    I recently had a conversation with a friend about the multi generation homes that were the norm years ago. She said just about every kid on the block had a gramma or grampa living with them.

    Our pastor had a sermon series on the Ten Commandants and when he got to #5…Honor your father and mother he had some guideline to share with the congregation. Did you grow up watching and helping your folks with your grandparents? They were setting the example for you to follow when your parents were getting older. For the ones that are “sandwiched” in between aging parents and also raising kids…are you setting the example for your kids to use when you’re getting older? That question has been on-going in my head ever since that Sunday. Will our kids do for us what we did for our parents? I struggle with an answer.

    So, when the time comes we better build a daudi house!

    Thank you again for sharing the article it was well written and much food for thought.

    Safe in Christ, Terry

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    Comment on Visiting and the Art of Conversation (December 5th, 2017 at 09:57)

    Visiting and the Art of Conversation

    Thanks for this beautiful and moving article. Some of my best memories are of sitting and talking with Amish friends. The ability to sit and converse is, perhaps, diminished as email and abbreviated language and tweets change how we communicate. There is clearly “internet addiction” as people have to check Facebook, Skype, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc. multiple times a day.
    When I told a visitor I regularly visit an Amish friend, he asked what we do. I said we sit and talk. “But what do you DO?” We don’t watch a movie, we don’t play cards, etc. I think the thought of just sitting and talking was a little scary.
    Similarly, getting a handwritten note or card means so much to me nowadays, simply because it is so rare. Perhaps in a few generations we will no longer know how to hold a pen.

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      Comment on Guest Post: Friend, or Facebook Friend? (December 5th, 2017 at 19:01)

      Great examples Brad. Recently I received several letters from someone. Opening them felt like flashing back to another time. There was something special to it. “Addiction” is more than a metaphorical description in your example as interacting on those technologies gives us shots of dopamine which can be addicting. Thanks for sharing the comment.

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      Comment on Plain talkin' (December 6th, 2017 at 10:55)

      Plain talkin'

      Great points, Brad. It is funny, for someone that lives in a state with one tiny Amish settlement (and one that is not particularly close to where I live) I have had quite a few business dealings with Amish people over the years.

      Though until we went to Horse Progress Days in Howe, IN in 2016 and in Leola, PA in 2017 I had never really had the occasion to just socialize with many Amish folks. I’ve always found talking with the Amish to be an easy, pleasant experience, but just didn’t get many opportunities.

      My wife, on the other hand, had never really had any dealings to speak of with any of them. Maybe a “Hello” now and then, but that was about it. By the time HPD 2016 was over she was pretty comfortable visiting with any Amish that she might strike up a conversation with. At HPD 2017 she was not as interested in staying right beside me as she had been the summer before in Indiana.

      At one point I left the event to go see some new (English) acquaintances that happened to share a very uncommon last name with my mother’s family. Donna was sitting in a tent listening to some sort of seminar, completely surrounded by Amish and Mennonite women, when I left. I intended to be gone for about 45 minutes. I was gone 4 times that long and was concerned about how she would take my being away that long.

      Unlike me, she is pretty shy. When I got back, she was sitting in the same tent, just chatting away with some women sitting near her. I was floored, because that is SO UNLIKE HER. The only thing I could think of is that plain women that she was visiting with were such accomplished conversationalists that they made her feel at home. When I apologized for being gone so long she looked kind of surprised. I don’t think she even realized how long I had actually been gone. She was enjoying the experience.

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    Comment on Hi Brad (December 6th, 2017 at 11:05)

    Hi Brad

    Brad, are you by any chance the author of “Amish In Their Own Words”?

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    Comment on Guest Post: Friend, or Facebook Friend? (December 6th, 2017 at 13:49)

    I not only travel the world in my career I also study cultural histories and enjoy the worlds differences that ultimately meet as one. 😉 Dank’ & Thankyou friends, Dan Gadd

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