"Ask Lou" - Balancing Relationships

Dear Lou, I am struggling to balance relationships. How do I prioritize my people?

In today’s age, with social media, our world has stretched beyond our mental and emotional capacity. Our community is too big to nurture with the level of care people truly deserve. My advice is to foster community with the people who directly affect your day-to-day life. Think of your day, create a mental circle around that day, and take an imaginary picture of each person you come across.

For example: the first person I see is my husband. Then my two daughters in close second. They are at the center of my circle. The next people I interact with will be my co-workers and my team of volunteers. In the evening I will most likely connect with close local friends. So, already, in one day, my community circle is at least 20 strong.

Now imagine how many additional virtual people I may ineffectively connect with via social media. Let’s say I scroll through a few pages of Instagram and Facebook for at least twenty minutes and make comments on two or three posts. Let’s be honest, the average time surfing on social media is 2 hours and 22 minutes a day. Stats predict by 2021, 3 billion people are expected to be on social media.

By the end of the day, I will have fostered relationships with at least 20 tangible people who live in my circle, and I will have lost hours grasping for connections online with at least 10 people outside of my circle. It’s hard to see or admit to the subtle thief that is social media. Let’s not get into the wonderful benefits social media can offer if used for good because I know this will strike a nerve with many of the social media lovers. I warn you, it’s a stealer of true community and relationships. You won’t see it coming, and suddenly you will care more about a person you virtually never met than the neighbor who needs you right next door.