Friendship, Facebook, and an Impossibly Soft Couch 

breaking bread

“I miss you and your impossibly soft couch,” my friend writes to me. I smile as I think of her and the hot mugs of tea we would drink as we would sit talking together. There was no clock in sight – time was unimportant. What was important was the friendship, kindred spirits meeting together on an impossibly soft couch.

Our living room couch is soft. As you sit, your body sinks into the cushions and you’re immersed in soft comfort. It’s hard to get up out of a couch like that. You want to stay there forever, especially if the weather is cold or rainy.

Our couch has witnessed a lot. It has witnessed tears and joy; sleepy teenagers and tired adults; long talks with good friends and oh so much laughter. Our couch has also witnessed disagreements, passionate and heated arguments, and stomach-aching laughter.

All of those are easier on this impossibly soft couch. Whether it’s disagreements, arguments, stories, discussions over world events and politics, or secrets shared from the heart – an impossibly soft couch is where these things go down easy.

Facebook is not an impossibly soft couch. Facebook is a hard, electronic, computer or smart phone screen. Facebook witnesses all the same things that my couch witnesses – but it’s not soft and so it doesn’t always end well. You cannot snuggle into Facebook and come out okay. In fact, there are times when you end up so shaken that you have to give yourself a long break.

During the election season in the United States, Facebook was at its worst. From outright lies that were posted to ferocious arguments and accusations, Facebook saw it all. It was not impossibly soft, it was not comfortable, and it left me in need of confession and soul-searching.

Post-election Facebook is looking as though it will follow the same pattern. A pattern of misinformation, explosive allegations, and general meanness. I don’t think that we as a human race will make it through unscathed. I think we will sustain wounds and broken relationships. It will not be a “social” network as much as an “anti-social” network. We are all becoming more like trolls and bullies then any of us ever wanted or intended.

I don’t have a lot of answers except to say that you are welcome to my couch. You are welcome to come and sit awhile. We may disagree – and that’s fine. We may argue – that’s fine too. On my impossibly soft couch, it will go down easy.

Dialogue is best done in relationship, over breaking bread, over coffee or tea — and on impossibly soft couches. 

3 thoughts on “Friendship, Facebook, and an Impossibly Soft Couch 

  1. Beautiful! We all need places where we can unwind and we don’t have to pretend anything. Where relationships matter more than opinions.
    I just moved into a new place and I want this place and the couch to be an open space. Good food and good talks!

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  2. I like this Marilyn. I will comment on what you wrote about FB during the election season that lasted way too long. I have a confession. As soon as I got up in the morning I went to FB right away and deleted anything that had to do with the election. I looked at FB more than usual during the day because I wanted to delete those comments, links, etc. as soon as they appeared. I’m sure I missed some. And now in the postmortem I am trying to do the same until it runs its course. Injecting the ugliness and repetitive and as you said, lies and misinformation was not what I wanted on my TIMELINE. I love FB for the ease with which I can keep up with friends and relatives and that is why I joined. However, there is nothing that can beat a warm cup of tea, a comfy couch, and the presence of a friend. Wish you were closer.

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