First it was MySpace, then Xanga, Facebook, Twitter, Bebo, LinkedIn, etc, etc, etc. All this networking has not made us more connected, just more informed. You know "Anne" has a cute daughter graduating Kindergarten this week, and "Joseph" has stayed up for three nights studying for his college finals. Oh, and we love that "Jill" has visited her grandma, and that "Charlie's" dog had puppies last night (can we have one?). But is there a drawback to all this exclusively online social life?

There are a few that the experts talk about, from productivity loss at work to internet scams and identity theft. But the one problem that I'm most concerned about is thinking that the internet relationships are enough. They are good for getting the quick updates and maintaining contacts, but in order for a true friendship and effective ministry to occur, nothing is better than old fashioned phone call or cup of coffee.

That weekly cup of coffee with my friend has become one of my favorite nights of the week (second only to family game nights). Getting away from everything and being able to sit in quiet, or disrupt Borders with laughter is so wonderful for my emotional state. I found this interesting:

Researchers haven’t figured out exactly how, but friends boost your immune system. Good friends help you relax, take a deep breath, and remember what really matters – and why. The connection and relationship you feel when you’re with your friends boosts your feelings of hope, faith, and belief that things will be Okay. Friends provide comfort and companionship, laughter and honesty. A strong support network can also keep you motivated and energized! This is why it's important to know how to be a good friend.

Read more at Suite101: 6 Ways To Be A Good Friend: The Health Benefits of Friendship and a Strong Support

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