Are we a socially lazy culture, convinced Twitter relationships, Facebook statuses, and blogs count as meaningful relationships? Sociologists, I have no doubt are studying this scientifically. What about anecdotal research? What are you seeing? Do we need a scientist to prove to use the obvious?
I have a friend convinced his e-mail relationships equal face-to-face ones. He moved a far distance from here, and maintains nothing has really changed. A number of friends constantly post and dialogue their politics on Facebook, aggressively, creating contention, not relationship.
Friends from out of town were visiting, and lamented the lack of hospitality they found. People preferred to invite them to dinner, but more rarely would they be asked into someone's home for dinner.
We have people over for dinner often for formal (nicely dressed, candles, flowers, three courses, aperitifs, palate cleansing sorbets, carefully selected ambiance music, and so on) to less formal (blue jeans, no shoes, leftovers/whatever is in the fridge, random pop and rock music). I am also a heavy user of social media. Where does this put me? I don't know. I have gotten together with many online friends, and enjoy old friends with whom I can also connect online.
Add to the murky mix are church and work relationships. I remember leaving one church, and I can count on my left hand (with fingers to spare) how often I received an invite since then. Love the one you're with? Same thing with most of my work relationships. Even with Plaxo and LinkedIn, trye connection post-employment is rare. I know their resumes, and the odd "I'm reading XYZ business book flavor of the week," status update, but that's not relating. That's exchanging data.
Not all work and church relationships have been this thin, but I suspect I am not the only one reading this who thinks friendships could be better.
When is the last time you had someone new, someone old over for dinner?