Facebook & Coffee…REALLY???

have you really

by Kenneth Justice

~At coffee recently a couple sat down next to me and began slobbering all over each other….obviously they were new lovers because the lines they were saying to each other couldn’t have been any more corny;

—) “Oh sweetheart, you’re more beautiful than the setting sun

—) “Oh honey, when I hear you voice it sends chills through my body

—) “You have the  most beautiful hands I’ve ever seen, even your fingernails are absolutely incredible

And no…I’m not making any of that up. When the man told the woman how beautiful her fingernails were it took a lot of strength not to laugh out loud. When you’re newly in love everything about the other person excites you. When you are apart from each other, you count the minutes until you next meet.

One of the unique elements in the human experience throughout Western Culture is the way we do relationships. Dating is clearly a Western phenomenon. While other cultures in recent decades have begun practicing the art of dating, most cultures throughout Asia and Africa practiced arranged marriages for most of history.

What really struck me about the couple sitting next to me at coffee was not how corny their lines were; but how much excitement they got out of telling each other what they were feeling.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “Joy is not complete until its expressed”. And isn’t that why so many people blog; because we want to express the joy we feel about something;

—) People write poetry to express their feelings

—) People write about their job to express what is going on

—) People talk about their travels to share their experiences

And as we write and talk about what we are seeing and feeling….it somehow heightens the joy we are experiencing so much more so than had we kept silent. How many of us leave a movie theater and call up a friend to say, “Wow, I just saw an awesome film!” I have friends who will be sitting at home watching a sporting event who call me up to excitedly say, “Kenneth, were you watching the game? Did you see that incredible play? It was awesome!”  If you attend a sporting event, if the team you are rooting for wins the game you will most likely find yourself cheering with strangers and talking to strangers about how excited you are.

Expressing joy is a central part of the human experience, and expressing sadness is equally as important; when we talk and write about the difficult times of life it somehow helps us work through the experience. Talking with a friend about a death in our family helps us to cope with the pain of losing our loved one. Crying to a friend about a recent divorce or breakup helps us work through the varied emotions that are coursing through our veins.

Sharing experiences with each other is an integral component of a healthy society……and understanding this phenomenon explains what is going on with social networking. You see, a lot of people are mystified as to why people use social networks to tell the world what they ate for breakfast or what they just purchased at a store…..but if we realize that there is a thirst within our soul to share our experiences with others; we begin to realize why social media has taken such a prominent place in our society.

Western culture has experienced a breakdown in close relationships. People are less social in our day than in past decades. The average person rarely talks to their neighbor who lives in the apartment next door. And so, since there has been a breakdown in the level of community we experience; people turn to social media as an outlet for expressing joy.

Of course, many of us realize that social networks are a poor substitute for meeting with a friend at a café to have a cup of coffee. While the 90’s saw a surge in the number of independent cafés and coffee houses that opened up….the 21st century has seen a bit of a decline. Perhaps the decline in cafés is connected to the rise in social media. Perhaps people are using social media too often; instead of calling up a friend to get coffee.

I’ve said before that one of the reasons I prefer blogging over Facebook is that it allows me to complete a more deeper thought. Instead of a 140 character Twitter update…..I can type out a more varied article on the deeper meanings of life. I try to be careful though not to bash Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social networks. They each can serve a positive purpose…..as long as we don’t allow them to replace the things that matter most.

I do wonder though, how many of us are leaning too heavily on social networks….when we should instead be picking up our phone to ask a friend out to coffee? How many of us have allowed social networks  to become our social crutch? How many of us have become too comfortable sitting at our desk in front of a laptop, or sitting in bed with our tablet?

I’m glad I happen to be at a café at the moment because it happens to be time for another coffee.


Categories: Culture & Society

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50 replies

  1. I appreciate all these thoughts, Kenneth. It’s the social isolation that I see, too, that drives my passion for group therapy. Thanks to you for taking the care and time to craft this wonderful post.

  2. Excellent post!

    Although I knew how I used social media, I took a quick scan of the people I contact via social media and for the most part, they use it in the same way that I do.

    Social media is a tool that allows us to be connected to people we ordinarily wouldn’t be able to connect with. For example, friends and relatives from various states that are too far to drive to, my daughter and grandson who live 3000 miles away…thank goodness for Facebook and Skype, otherwise my grandson wouldn’t really get who is that lady called grandma. It’s a way of including your friends in your life, even though they are too far away.

    And even though we don’t gush (and never have) “corny” compliments like the couple above, I would not have met my husband had it not been for an Internet Dating site…he lived 3000 miles from me.

    But, if I could walk or drive within a reasonable amount of time, up close and personal is the way for me. I have no problem driving three hours one way…to see a friend. Besides, it’s a nice road trip! 🙂

    • Mrs. P.

      “For example, friends and relatives from various states that are too far to drive to, my daughter and grandson who live 3000 miles away”

      that’s one of the best examples of the positive aspect of social media 🙂

  3. this:

    but if we realize that there is a thirst within our soul to share our experiences with others; we begin to realize why social media has taken such a prominent place in our society.


  4. Great post. I have my moments on Facebook. I can be all engrossed and then let it lie low for a it. Sometimes I’m almost over it, but I have many new friends. W all like to share, but these mediums allow too much, and at times the ‘attention seeking’ sharing.

  5. Unless that couple is cheating on their spouses, they should “Get a room”. New love is one thing but delusional self grandstanding is laughable. “Look someone actual loves my fingernails!. Look”. There
    is a selfie addict on my friend list that finally snagged herself a neighbor’s brother. Her posts are not only squeezing that poor schmuck’s face into her hourly selfies but comments about how cooperative he is about taking those shots and how they have to even get out of the car to take them. If this is a need for expression I hear it loud and clear “I need an iota of self worth!”, PDOA (public demonstrations of affection) are even advertised on dating sites. If you feel like a loser, here date me and I will rub your leg in public for all to see you are not only masturbating. sorry K, these people bug

  6. Thanks Kenneth, well said. I feel conflicted often, especially with family…it’s nice to be able to check in on what we’re all doing but also feels like I’m the only one who thinks to pick up the phone anymore.

  7. “They each can serve a positive purpose…..as long as we don’t allow them to replace the things that matter most.”

    When my wife woke up this morning, she mentioned about how we have fought, on things that might break up other couples, but not us. I said it was because we’d confirmed our bond so many times that even folks on the Internet recognized it.

    We haven’t been corny (recently, anyways), nor have we fought online. Ironically, two folks I could think of that noted and admired our relationship had messy breakups. Online. One was unfortunately somewhat public and melodramatic on another blogging platform. (I was told that the person she had affair with dished out a lot of dirt, and some of the community ostracized her.) The other… well, she just seemingly disappeared. We were friends in an online game, and since she was friends with a game developer, I contacted him, asked him what happened. What a shock for him to tell me she had been stalking him.

    So yeah, I’ve seen the dark side of leaning too heavily on social connections on the Internet (not just social media). I think they can be a great extension to our lives, but absolutely, I see bad things happen when we allow the Internet to consume them.

    • Jak,

      Great thoughts; the reality that so many couples don’t realize is that if BOTH parties are committed to changing, growing, and working on the relationship….then more couples would be ale to enjoy a better quality relationship

    • Yes, most definitely! We are usually pretty quick to point out that we’ve both put a lot of work and effort into our relationship.

  8. you mean there’s life outside the inter-webs?

  9. Humans tend to gravitate to the easiest way out. Social media and text messaging offers that possibility.

  10. Hey there Kenneth –….Many thanks

  11. Loved it. so agree with you on the social media aspects. One last note there isn’t much to talk about in a cafe if al is already shared on a facebook/twitter..Yes there are people who do not know what to talk about since posting it online already. Communication, could it be a dying skill?
    But I drink to picking up the phone. Even if I am called dumb. Often enough I have been said I could use Whatsapp..
    We do take to much of these media for granted. and have lost a balance in every day life when it comes to socialising.

    • Ranting crow,

      I wouldn’t say that communication is a dying skill but rather that the way we communicate and the depth of our communication is changing……people communicate ALOT..but it is a lot of trivial stuff

  12. Monk, I can’t recall, but a well-known author wrote: “Friendship divides our grief and doubles out joy”

  13. I think I’ve “gone out for coffee” more since connecting with others on facebook. I am not one to talk about what I’m doing, what I did over the weekend, but I do post a lot of pictures. Social media friends have learned more about me and know more about what we have in common. So we do hikes and river floats and runs and sometimes even coffee. In my life, I see a positive correlation bettwen social media encounters and real life encounters. Love all your words about how exciting it is to share our joy. So true!

  14. very good . . . I finally found a purpose for facebook as I think you are correct.

    In my day (60’s) it was far more exciting to hang in the coffee houses and BS than sit before this laptop, but this all I personally have left. Blogging is the only thing that does not bore the snot out of me so . . . I blog.

    It’s weird man, but I do miss the smell of people.

  15. A very interesting article and a very fine observation of social;a media usage as a vehicle for communication. I think it has it’s uses, but also its dangers as well. It is good when friends and relatives can communicate with each other over an otherwise impractical distance, and the other usage that springs to mind is that it allows people top formulate what they want to say without the fear of interruption or any other distractions kicking in.

    Yet there are certain things that cannot be done, even with video linkage by such systems as skype or youtube. You type in words, you can see your correspondent in a delayed time lapse, but you cannot see the finer gestures and you cannot see the subtle face changes that invariably occur. Also if a conversation is held in a more public arena you may be technically speaking with someone opsite you, but your mind is taking in everything else around

    So I would say that it is like any tool for communication. Use it well, use it wisely, and it will be of great benefit, use it unwisely and little may be gained.

    I recall a comment by a friend of mine back in London, regarding car usage and the demise of neighbours talking to each other.

    She stated that people went from their home to their car, or from one box to another, and that led to a demise in face to face communication.albeit car travel meant that more things could be seen. I would almost say that social media and cars are very similar. Both give greater access, both cover the ground more quickly, but with both items isolation, a lack of complete communication, and the use of impoverished language grows

    P.s thank you for liking my post the inconvenient mind

    • stellar observation; The advent of cars changed the United States and many people wonder if it has changed it for the worse;

      —) Higher number of fatalities by automobiles than by train travel
      —) The destruction of many downtowns all across the country
      —) Potential increase in pollution
      and more

  16. Keen insights and sharp ruminations as always, Kenneth!

  17. Really loved this one. 🙂

  18. Okay I have no intention of slobbering lines like that to anyone except my rabbit because he’s really special, but this does make me want to call a gal pal and invite her to coffee so we talk about how grateful we are that we’re not in arranged marriages. Great post!

  19. Thought-provoking as always – and I do love reading the comments, too. Just want to say how well you always seem to match your photos to your text as an extra kind of commentary. Thanks!

  20. Social media is a tool with 3 key words that allows you to have, Speed, Time, Distance, when sharing a story! The lovers words at your table just added more sugar and cream to your java!

  21. Another beautiful, inspiring post, thank you for articulating something so moving! 🙂

  22. how did I miss this?

    I only wanna ask you this one thing….

    Are you sure they were speaking their ewy dewy love in their outloud voices OR were you over hearing them speak to one another typing their undying love to each other on their Facebooks ?

  23. Well pointed, Kenneth! I confess my quilt and my online addiction, time to time, as y’day I was outdoor 12 hours but today I chose to navigate here and there, online like an antisocial person.

  24. I got a feeling you like coffee 😉 haha. I like this post. we all long for connection. 🙂 and human connection should always win over social media connection…

  25. I adore this article. You hit the nail on the head— social media has replaced for many face to face interaction, and that is a sad thing, because memories are made by hanging out, warm embraces, and a delish cup of coffee.

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  27. This was a great post, I think so many times we as people get so caught up in how things look and we kind of lose ourselves in that. Social networking has definitely taken over, I barely see proper communication in todays generation anymore because of that.

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