You’ve got a friend?

I’m probably dating myself, but do you remember that old song (written by Carol King and made famous by James Taylor).  It was all about having someone you could count on at all times, to ‘be there’ when you needed them most. Someone who would listen and not pass judgement on your situation.

Some of us have heard the statistics: that the actual amount of true friends that the average american has, has declined from around 3 just 10 years ago, to just a hair over 2 today. Two friends! That’s it! It begs the question – What is going on in society and why is it going down so significantly!?!  I have a few ideas. Please let me know if you agree and/or disagree, or better yet, expound on any concepts that I may have missed:

1. Everybody’s BUSY! We take less and less time to slow down and truly get to know someone, because we all have places to go and things to do….

2. The ‘roles’ we play. That the bulk of the people aren’t actually true friends, but rather acquaintances that we know through our various associations. i.e. co-workers, the guys on the bowling league, PTA, fellow parishioners, the rotary club, etc….

3. Isolation via technology. Why play real sports/games, when you can play virtual sports/games using nothing more than your fingers and thumbs!

4. Complacency via technology. referring specifically to the amount of hours/day of TV usage along with access to all those stations to tune in to. I’m reminded of the now old Springsteen song ’57 channels and nothing on’.

5. Convenience via technology.  Between email, faxes, cell phones, text messaging, and yes – even “this”, has caused true heart to heart, 2-way communication, to be less and less frequent. This in turn leads to:

6. Degraded people skills. The lack of knowledge and understanding to truly communicate face to face with someone. The very things that our ‘top-5’ books in the Team system teaches! Knowing what I know now, I wish some middle or high school teachers would have forced me to read them.  And finally:

7. Degraded morals/ethics. This of course is just my opinion, but it seems with each new generation, the gap of knowing and doing that which is right, because it is right, is widening. As foundational principles gives way to relativism, apathy increases. If it seems some people today care less, perhaps it’s because they could care less.

Do you have a Facebook account? How many ‘friends’ do you have? Careful how you answer. You see, friends aren’t a number dictated by a computer program. They are living, breathing, feeling, thinking beings – going through this concept called ‘the human experience’ just like you.

Thanks to Orrin Woodward and the Team leadership training system, Penny and I have decided to go out and make new friends. Face to face and heart to heart, and truly get to know what makes them tick. If in the process, we can help them solve a few problems in the 8 F’s of LIFE, through the same proven system of information that continues to help us, then that’s what we’ll do. Come to think of it, isn’t that what any good friend would do?

God bless, John


10 comments on “You’ve got a friend?

  1. Well said John. Man, if there only were 57 channels on our TV’s today maybe we would get something done. I enjoyed your seven virtues for lack of friends today. You are a very clear writer. As I am reading your posts they create pictures in my head and I can hear your humor through your words. Thank you for your leadership.

  2. Jammie says:

    I totally agree with Steve, most times when I read I think I hear myself, but in your post I was thinking-wow John is so clear I can actually hear him saying what he has written here. I love your humor and couldn’t agree more with many of the points that you made.

    I was talking to a random mom at the pool as my kids were taking lessons this summer. She was concerned about her son starting high school because she has never heard him have a conversation with someone on a telephone. He has a cell phone, but she said she cannot convice him to make a call on it-all he does is text. She was fearful, not only that he won’t have strong personal, but how will he function in person if he is that inept on a telephone. This was brought to mind as I read what you wrote because I thought that day how important these skills are to friendship, but I am pretty sure to most F’s.

    Thanks for your post John and for your and Penny’s friendship!

  3. John, this is so true and I couldn’t agree with you more! The transparency of your words totally beams truth that we all need to hear. Team is re-defining the lost art of friendship! It’s amazing how this organization truly embodies all the 8 F’s of LIFE. You are making such a difference!

  4. Joy says:

    I could not agree more John, if only more people felt the way you and Penny do about the importance of face to face contact with people. It is common place now to use e-mail or facebook to “talk” to the person that may be in the office next to you, but really when you think about it for me at least a friend is that person that will be there to offer a high-five, pat on the back, or a hug. I appreciate so much what you and Penny for Living Intentionally For Excellence through the 8F’s

  5. Angie Johnson says:

    Wow what a great post and boy oh boy is it True. yea because of the community of team and now LIFE i am becoming more of a people person and less isolative. i am more trusting of people and more open. because of the friends i have made in Team/Life i have totally changed. i use to love being alone now i cant stand it. thanks john for a great post. your an amazing leader who is changing alot of peoples lives

  6. tessfam4 says:

    John, it is amazing how thin threads can be so very resilient. I had very good friends that we could pick up and continue anytime we got together. However, as you stated so eloquently, I’ve let busyness of life get in the way of those friendships. Also, with the principles I’ve been re-learning, I realize that most were not true friendships. I can honestly say that I have witnessed and enjoy the relationships that we are cultivating both in TEAM and in our church. The key here being that it is an active process where the relationships must be properly fed with time and TLC! =} We are truly blessed and highly favored within our new communities and are ready to Live Intentionally For Excellence!

  7. Gloria Fruit says:

    You have hit it square on John. I jokingly say I signed up on Facebook just so I can find out what is going on in my kid’s lives – but other parents say the same thing. Everyone is too “busy” to take the time to touch base with each other. Then other parents saying they are driving their kids and friends to wherever and instead of “talking” to each other, they are in the car texting each other.

    I am so glad that someone reached out a hand to me and invited me into TEAM. It’s amazing the friends I have made and the information offered to me to become a better person. My purpose is to pay it forward and offer someone else a hand. TEAM is the light for this county and the world. As Orrin stated on his latest CD – this is something worth fighting for. If we don’t do it, who will? With leaders like you and Penny leading the way, we can’t help but make a difference.

  8. Matt Mielke says:

    John, well said. It is interesting the irony of how technology was suppose to bring us closer together, yet, it seems to create more and more distance between us. I appreciated your comment about the ‘human experience.’ It is the one thing we run from in life, escape if you will, but living the human experience together is what brings us close. Thanks for you thoughts and wisdom.


  9. Kim and Jim Jones says:

    When your down and troubled and you need a helping hand and nothing oh nothing is going right….Title words of your post and from song writer Sweet Baby James Taylor so many years ago. Seems like Yesterday…All my troubles seemed so far away……More sweet words penned from a great song writers thoughts. Your words reasonate like these great writers did many years ago. Now words of wisdom from another Great man and friend. I could go on forever. You are destined for greatness my friend! We Love You Man!

  10. Lori Maas says:

    John (and Penny),
    Thank you for putting so much thought into this artical! I love it. So many truths. Over the years we believed we had been blessed to have had many many friends. However, since team I understand what a real friend is. Someone who thinks the best of you. Someone who truly listens to you, with their head and their heart. Someone who encourages you to be all God calls you to be, even if they don’t understand or agree. Someone who wants to spend time with you, to chase after common dreams and goals with you. Someone how believes in you even when you don’t believe in yourself. And the only way to build this type of friendship is by investing time, quality time. Thanking God for the friendship we have in you and Penny! Thankful for all the wonderful, true friends we have in Team. Thankful for all the friends we have yet to meet!! Great and much needed artical!!
    Lori Maas

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