Among my favourite moments this summer were with good friends. We celebrated this past long weekend at a cottage with friends. We started out the summer at a cottage with friends. And in between, were treated by times spent with out-of-town friends we don’t get to see often enough.

When I think about the highlights even over the last 6 months, moments with good friends are so prominent. Coming from an introvert, that is saying something! Friendship is a treasured feature of life. True friendship.

Sadly, the meaning of friendship has been diluted somewhat with the rise of Facebook and other social networking sites. The pursuit of connection is now of greater value today than the connection itself. We should be concerned. Good things cannot follow a society where one determines their worth based on how many “friends” they accumulate or how many “likes” they get under their posts or pictures. Where will this all leave us when it doesn’t happen? People get hurt. Think of it like a global social ponzi scheme.

There’s a sad feeling inside when I see desperate young people validate their worth using photo apps, begging for shout-outs, promising “likes” to complete strangers who could give a crap about them or pictures of their abs. For only a brief moment, I am grateful for my one ab which certainly restrains me from sharing it with the world. You are welcome.

That brief rush of excitement upon discovering new followers is only doused by the disappointment of finding none ten minutes later. Surely we serve a better purpose than this. Life would be more enjoyable once we accept that followers aren’t friends, and friends aren’t necessarily followers. Good friends journey beside you.

A friend can lift your spirit when you are down. A friend can take you down a notch without crushing your ego. A friend can call you out when you are heading for a fall. Followers can’t do this. We are not designed to walk through life alone or in isolation. A friend can help fill the gaps left by our own weaknesses. Our strengths can fill the gaps in theirs. That’s the beauty in friendship. An app can’t do this.

When you part ways strengthened, inspired and encouraged, you have been in the company of good friends. So, spend your best energy on real people and real friends. Perhaps even make a few more. But that is all you need, a few, to truly enjoy life.