“Technology proposes itself as the architect of our intimacies.” – Shelly Turkle
Technology has drastically changed how we define friendship. Author and speaker Shelly Turkle argues that technology even tries to define what friendship intimacy is. Yet, technology has not (and cannot) change what we need from friendships. In fact, instead of redefining relationships for us, technology has been slowly revealing what we need out of human interaction: genuineness and intimacy.
There are three types of people we always need in our lives: a mentor, a friend, and a follower.
A mentor is someone ahead of you. The past few months I have been interested in different ways to invest my money. But, if I’m honest, not only am I cluelessly without answers when it comes to finance, but I don’t even know the right questions to ask! So, I reached out to friend from college with a degree in finance. He was able to answer my questions which was great. But, he was also able to ask questions that I didn’t even know to ask.
It was 1492 when Europeans first widely accepted that the Earth wasn’t flat and “discovered” the Americas. For the most part, no one believed that there was anything more to discover. Without a mentor, you will never get where you could be because you don’t even know that you can.
You need someone in your life that is outside of your bubble enough to pop it. A mentor should correct, coach and encourage in ways that no one else can. Do you have someone that you consistently ask to review your life? If not, find a mentor.
You also need a friend. Friends are people that are with you. We need people that are in the same boat or in the boat right next to us. When you’re down, they prod you to the top. And then, you do the same for them. I met a youth pastor in Atlanta last year. Interestingly, we had enough in common that we’ve stayed in touch. Some of my most honest conversations happen with this friend who’s in the same spot that I am in many ways.
The Bible gives us an incredible example of friendship in Proverbs 18:24, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” It’s too easy to have a thousand friends and yet not one person who knows what is happening in your soul. Years ago I watched a leader with great potential, push away anyone that wanted to go deep with them. When he allowed sin to get in his life, no one was close enough to notice. When it grew into a monster, it was too late. You need a friend, closer than your own skin.
Lastly, you need a follower. A follower is someone that you invite to live like you do. Church planter and leader, Billy Hornsby, said something incredible in his last week on earth.
“My greatest accomplishments are other people’s.”
The great Christian leader spent his life building people to do more than he could have ever done by himself. I think one of the saddest recurring themes of history is when people forgot to leave behind greater people than them.
That’s not just a lovely sentiment either: you and I are supposed to make followers of Jesus by having people follow us. Jesus really told us to spend our lives teaching people to live like us the way we live like Jesus. Who are you giving yourself to, who are those benefiting from what you’ve learned?
You need three types of people: a mentor, a friend, and a follower.