Having meaningful relationships in this day and age means making connections in real life or online. How we make those connections is a personal preference. For me I make them in both ways. Building individual relationships can mean forming community and therefore you will have a village. Your long-time relationships can be maintained in both the virtual and real worlds which is nice. I have met many people over the years who I see regularly at church, work and other places. Social networking has made it easier to keep in touch with people I don’t see very often.
I have been blessed with many friendships with people who I might never meet in person. This is the way of modern relationships where people might not want to deal with the hassle of going out. Being an extrovert can be challenging because you use a lot of energy in social settings and yes you need to retreat to have some peace and quiet.
Think about the places were we gather. Coffee shops, places of worship, bars, restaurants, libraries (be quiet though), parks, recreation centers and the like have become how we connect with the world and to have communion and conversation. We also seek constant connection through online resources such as blogging and social media.
You have to be diligent in how you maintain your connections. It takes an effort. It can be worthwhile and rewarding. Be careful with some folks because they bring a whole host of issues. Don’t let them take advantage of your good nature.
It’s also important to disconnect from others as to find your own voice and to regain ones sanity. We all need a break from people. No one can be “on” all the time and that is a lesson I have learned recently. I find virtual connections sometimes more appealing however I cannot ignore the real-world companions I have made over time.
No matter what, human beings need one another and we are built for community and we must be flexible with ourselves and others in what that looks like.