As you enter this new year, would you say that having at least one true friend is important? Reflecting on your present mindset, would such a relationship be valuable? Thinking about this may evoke joy or sadness, depending on whether this person exist now in your own life.
Laurie Segall reported on ABC that there are 7 million people using one of many chatbots called “Replika” that provide artificial friendships. Replika was founded by Eugenia Kuyda and Phil Dudchuk with the idea of creating a personal artificial intelligence that provides helpful conversations with people. If a person is feeling down or anxious or just needs someone to talk to, Replika is available to them 24/7. It is a space where a person is believed to safely share their thoughts, feelings, beliefs, experiences, memories, or dreams. But what is shocking, is that this artificial intelligence carries on a conversation answering, commenting and even making suggestions based on what is said by the person. It appears that vulnerable people who are lonely and in need of companionship could easily fall prey to this chatbot. This is a heavy responsibility for the people building this technology. Remember, it’s artificial! I am not recommending its use, but making you aware of how relationships are deteriorating through certain things allowed in one’s life.
What has happened that we are turning to robots for friendship? There is so much I could say about this, instead let me share 5 simple steps to renew your mindset about developing real friendships. It would be better to leave the artificial friends for those who desire plastic flowers over ones emitting fragrance.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV states, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”
Renew your mind in establishing at least one true friend this year by:
- Being Authentic: Don’t be phony or become what you feel others desires you to be; be genuine, real, and the original person God created you to be.
- Getting Involved: Get involved in an activity you enjoy and it’s a good chance you will meet someone or maintain a friendship with similar interests.
- Trying Vulnerability: Meaningful relationships are developed when you have spent enough time with someone, and now you are willing to risk sharing the deeper layers of your heart that have not been exposed.
- Choosing Forgiveness: No one is going to meet all of your needs (except for Jesus) or fulfill all of your expectations; and when they fail, forgiving them will restore your peace and health.
- Praying Consistently: Thank God for wisdom as He develops your character and love in accordance with 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Galatians 5:22-26, Proverbs 11:25, and 1 John 4:11.
May this new year find you with at least one true friend. Have a Joyous New Year in Jesus!