Every week, I go through the “Girl Talk” section of Project Inspired and look for those seeking advice and counsel. I want to help answer some questions you may have about living out your Christian life and walk of faith! We want PI to be a safe place where you can ask questions.
This week, I chose a question from our Girl Talk forum about friendships and reading people on social media regarding communication and sending mixed messages.
“…Could you give me some conversation rules for Facebook and texting please? I think I [am making] friends, but then they stop responding. Sometimes I don’t respond when it’s clear we’re done with the conversation, but then I feel like they’re not talking to me for months. Is it because I didn’t respond?”
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Nowadays, there are so many forms of communication aside from face-to-face, which can become overwhelming, even for the social butterfly. Sometimes there can be confusion in texting and messages or in chats, and there are so many different ways we can talk to our friends, family and acquaintances. We have our cellphones, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, email, Snapchat…and the list goes on and on.
One thing I will mention is that sometimes people will respond to be polite, but they may not be interested in a friendship. Regarding this question, it seems that possibly they got busy or are unable to meet. Sometimes people’s schedules cannot comply, especially if it seems like one person is more interested in the friendship than the other. I know it doesn’t feel good, and sometimes is confusing when we have people being nice to our face and then on social media making promises of getting together and not following through…this is disappointing. The important thing is to make sure you follow up on your end. If you respond and give specific dates and details, then you are in the clear. Also, make sure to be mindful that people have busy lives and may not respond for a couple days. Don’t take it personally if someone doesn’t hang out right away or doesn’t want to be BFFs.
Tips for Reading People and Communicating on Social Media
1. People may be polite, just not interested in the friendship: I know this doesn’t sound very inspiring, but it is the truth. Sometimes you can’t take on every friendship that comes your way because of time restrictions or obligations. Many people have good intentions of wanting to meet up, or may want to help build a relationship, but are overloaded. It is hard to not take this personally or feel hurt, but it is a part of life. Plus, you should be around people who really are for you, who will make time for you and want to be there with you, cheering you on!
Can two walk together, except they are agreed? (Amos 3:3)
2. Social media is time-consuming or difficult to get messages: Realize that maybe the person on the other end doesn’t log in to Facebook every hour, so be patient with their reply. They also may read it, but not know their schedule, or #1 (above) may apply as well. If the person is married or has kids, it is likely #1 (above) because they may have responsibilities, full-time school, extracurricular activities and so forth.
3. Using social media and texting can send mixed messages or a different tone than was intended: Many times we can read a message and not fully read it the way it was intended to be interpreted. I know, weird, right? Someone can say, “No thank you” in a calm nice voice or it can be in a sarcastic or disinterested tone like “NO-THANK-YOU!” Just remember to take things in a lighthearted manner when reading texts. It is preferable if you can speak over the phone and set up a time to hang out then, or meet up at church if you are able to do a group activity.
For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (1 Corinthians 14:33)
4. Pray for discernment and wisdom: In the Bible, it tells us that when we ask for wisdom, God WILL give it generously, but we cannot doubt like the waves of the sea…we must believe God will reveal knowledge to us. Pray God shows you who your true friends are and who He wants in your life. Also read His Holy Word as a road map.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. (James 1:5-8)
5. If you need counsel on a friendship, ask a youth leader, parent or counselor: Ask a godly role model or person of wisdom in your life about your particular situation or friendship, and see what God reveals to them. Of course, don’t gossip or slander anyone, but genuinely ask if they think the person you are messaging (or anyone you’re friends with) is in a healthy, mutual relationship/friendship with you or not. If you reach out and someone doesn’t reach back, just move forward…life happens.
Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counselors they are established. (Proverbs 15:22)
PI Girls, I am praying for you and that God will send godly relationships and friendships into your life…may you blossom in His Holy Word and become the young woman of God He destined you to be! Comment below for questions or prayer requests!
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