Planting Vs Weeding

What farming has taught me about friendships and social media
Photo credit Taylor Davidson
Photo credit Taylor Davidson
July 17, 2014 · By Sloane Davidson, Founder and CEO, Hello Neighbor

“I like gardening — it’s a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself.”  - Alice Sebold

I didn’t have a lot of experience gardening or farming until recently. Now, I can’t get enough of having my hands in the dirt bent over rows of vegetables with the sun on my back.

And I’m learning a ton! Farming  - for a living  -  is an incredibly hard pursuit. Organic farming, like the one owned by my friend, is even harder. You don’t spray pesticides and call it a day. Planting is hard work. But the real work is weeding. Weeds are a daily chore. They are always creeping up, threatening the life of the crop that they surround. Strong plants can not survive if they are surrounded by weeds. It’s not possible. Good soil is at a premium and the weeds suck the nutrients for themselves. In doing so, they damage the surrounding vegetables, fruits and flowers in the process.

The other day I realized that how a farmer or gardener approaches weeding is very much how I currently feel about social media and how I use technology to connect with friends.

I’m really good at cultivating friendships. I go to events and add people I meet on various platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram). I email people and have other mediums (like this newsletter) to keep in touch. However, I’m not always great at weeding people out who are overshadowing the relationships that matter in my life. There are people sucking up my time and energy when I could be spending on it the people who really matter to me. On the relationships I’ve already cultivated.

Who are the weeds? You know the kind of people I mean. Friends we keep but don’t really feel that same connection anymore, chronic over-sharers on social media, people who are in front of our face but not the faces we really want to see.

But they’re everywhere, sucking up the nutrients. My goodness I thought, I’ve been planting the seeds of good relationships but not weeding out the bad. No wonder I’m exhausted all the time.

What is there to do? If I think friendships are like plants, then I needed to read about effective weed control methods and apply them to my situation.

Most of all, it takes constant tender care. Weeding sucks. It’s much better to plant and harvest. However you can’t have one without the others. I have learned that I have to carve out time for the weeding or else the plants won’t grow.