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Don’t deplete my oxygen for the guy who’s turning blue, but ask me, and I’ll do anything for you.

Time for social media discussion. I promised. And if I promise, I try to follow through. I’m not always TIMELY, but I do try to follow through.

(Also, this became a total mega-post. More so than normal. Sorry to usurp your lives today. Maybe spread it out over three days or something, I don’t know.)

I was going to talk about social media friendships. And I am. That’ll be in here. But in order to talk about social media friendships, I need to also talk about friendship in general. You can’t just separate the two. Social media friendships are friendships, no matter what the naysayers say.

So let’s start with friendship, shall we? Sure we shall. Look at my shall usage, it’s all classy and shit.

I’m bad at friendship. I’m getting better, but I’m the first to admit, I’m bad at it.

You know how you learn things when you’re a kid? Like, you see how your parents interact with one another (if you are raised by parents, I don’t mean to be exclusionary, you might have been raised by wolves or frogs or something) and, on some level, learn how to (or how NOT to) behave in a relationship. Or, you watch older children play, and learn how to act when you get to be their age. Things like that. Well, I didn’t learn how to do friendship when I was a kid, because I was too busy spending my time duck and covering from the bullying, honestly. I didn’t trust anyone. (Still mostly don’t.) So that part of me got all socially stunted, like a bean plant that’s covered by a Styrofoam cup and its leaves get all yellow and twisty? That’s my friendship-muscle. All atrophied. So I have to work REALLY HARD at friendships. And it feels like acting. It doesn’t come easily. And I often forget to put in the work that’s necessary, and it’s not on purpose, and then I’m befuddled when it falls apart. Or drama happens and I don’t get it.

Here’s my wilty bean-cup friendship abilities. Please don’t judge them. They are trying SO HARD TO GROW you guys.

It’s a work in progress. I put in time. It’s not something that falls all easily into place like it does for most people. Thanks, childhood trauma!

Anyway, I did a little research into friendships for you, because to understand the relatively new phenomena of social media friendship, you have to understand friendship itself, and the psychology behind it.

Things that draw us together as friends – oh, I know, you’re all “blah blah, WHO DOESN’T ALREADY KNOW THIS” – stick with me, lollipops – are:

  • we have grown up with the person, usually in the same neighborhood.
  • we have similar occupations.
  • we have children the same age.
  • we have similar interests.
  • we are the same general age and the same gender.

Proximity and shared interests are most important for little kiddos. They get less important as you age, but still, important.

OK. Nice list. Vague, but nice. And it makes sense, sure. We like things that are easy. We are lazy as shit. And this list shows you that we choose our friendships based on the lame gazelle theory: we pick the ones that are easiest to catch. The most similar to us. That cross our path the most. (This site calls these people our “social equals.” That’s not classist at all.) And yes! Sure. We do that. I mean, who’s going to be friends with someone who you never see, who you never make contact with, and, when you DO, you have NOTHING in common with? That’d be tough.

WE WILL BE BEST FRIENDS NOW RAWR!

But in the defense of the chasing-down-the-faster-gazelle theory: sometimes, the faster gazelles can be worth it, too. Because the differences can make for a more interesting friendship. If everything’s the same, it gets boring pretty quickly. If there are a lot of differences, you have a LOT of things to discuss. Your discussions are exciting. You rejoice in the similarities and you delight in the differences. So go for the mid-range gazelles. They’re the best gazelles.

Also, do you know what’s missing from that list? And I know you’re going to laugh, so get your laugher ready.

Magic.

No, not Harry-Potter-magic-wand-magic, Sarcastic Sam. There’s a magic to friendships. Something you can’t put your finger on. You’ve all felt that, right? That click when you meet someone and it’s like they were always meant to be in your life? That you don’t even have to rearrange a space in your life or your heart to make room for them – it’s always been there, just waiting for them to fill it? I know, I know, you’re all throwing up in your mouths or whatever, SO SAPPY AMY. I’m not saying it happens with EVERYONE you befriend, sheesh. Just some people. The special ones. The ones that are part of you. The ones that it seems like were MEANT to be part of you.

And what keeps us together as friends?

  • Enjoyment and spontaneity–Spending time doing things together and sharing life experiences.
  • Trust–Believing that our friends act on our behalf.
  • Respect and understanding–Believing that our friends have the right to their own opinions.
  • Mutual assistance–Helping and supporting our friends and letting them help us.
  • Confiding–Sharing confidential matters with our friends.

Again, pretty basic. But the bare bones are all there.

Amy! You’re asking. YOU are backward in friendship, but WE are not. We KNOW how to be friends. Why are you talking to us like we don’t?

Well, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person out there who’s having some social awkwardness issues? But we’ll go more into that later, ok? Wait for it, oh-my-impatient-ones. I promised this would be infotainment, didn’t I? I don’t know how entertaining it is, but I’m going to try like hell for the informativeness.

Look at that list up there. No, I’m serious. I want you to look at it. Because it’s important you internalize those things. Not just read them and gloss over them. The first list, the lame gazelle list, that was more of a list of guidelines. This second list, as basic and silly and free-to-be-you-and-me as it is, it’s right. So even if you think you KNOW these things, look them over. We’re going to be discussing it further later.

Now, let’s go a little further into this. We know what attracts us to our friends, and we know what makes a friendship STAY a friendship. But how do friendships start? What brings two people together from two people who, say, work together, to friends who email, text, hang out?

The answer seems to be reciprocity.

It’s the most important thing in any friendship. It’s what takes acquaintances to the next level and it’s what helps people maintain a friendship. You can have the other things – proximity, things in common, all the things we learned about above. But if it’s one-sided? Not going anywhere, bub.

Let’s say you volunteer at an organization. You have a group of friends there. A new person starts working there. You like the new person just fine; the new person may or may not, given time, become a friend, as well. But the new person PUSHES. The new person inserts themselves into every conversation and usurps them; the new person invites themselves along to everything, even when if, had they waited, they probably would have been invited anyway; the new person assumes a familiarity that they have not earned and do not have.

Are you going to be friends with this person? Or are you going to avoid this person?

I mean, maybe they have the best intentions. Maybe they’re just lonely, or feeling out of place, or clueless. But the quickest way to stop a new friendship dead in the water is to assume it is going both ways when it’s not.

This is what you’re coming across like, if you don’t back off. PLEASE LOVE ME. (Also, how badly do you want this album now? The most, is my answer.)

Most people can sense when someone’s not interested in being their friend, and they back off. (Me? I assume ALL people are off-limits and wait for them to approach ME so I KNOW they’re interested. Yes. I take the fatalist approach when it comes to friendship. The risk-nothing approach. I do not recommend this approach; however, it does shield you from a majority of the rejection. On the other hand, it shields you from a majority of the FRIENDS, so choose wisely, grasshopper pies.) However, there are those people who think that when someone doesn’t respond to their constant attention (which can also be read as “annoyance”) they are not DISINTERESTED, they are PLAYING HARD TO GET. This is the same theory that stalkers use, babydolls. You all need to learn to read social cues. I know. It’s hard if you’re not born with the bone that reads social cues. Mine is oddly-developed and twisty like an old tree root, so I get it. Social cues are not the easiest. But if I, who has such a problem with them, can do it, SO CAN YOU.

If you’re constantly offering someone friendship and they’re ignoring you – GIVE UP. If they’re never available to hang out, yet they’re always checking into FourSquare with others on the SAME NIGHT they said they were unable to hang with you because of a bad migrane – the correct action is not to call them up and say, “let’s plan something next week!” but to take the hint and realize they probably don’t want to hang with YOU. Don’t butt into conversations when you’re not invited; you’ll BE invited, eventually, if the people want you there, so be calm, little chicken. And if you’re not – move on. Your people will appear. They will. You’ll find them. I promise.

Let me tell you a true-life story. Once upon a time, I knew a person. This person thought we were BFFs. We were not BFFs. But I was polite, because this person was in the same social circle as I was and I hate to cause waves and also? I felt kind of bad for the person. This is a problem I have. I feel sorry for people. It sometimes causes issues. This person was lonely, and had very few friends, and locked onto me like a damn missile with a homing beacon or something. I refused to hang out with the person unless it was absolutely impossible to get out of; I was cool, I told the person very little about my life, yet the person WOULD NOT BACK OFF. I moved away. The person sent me letters, telling me how lonely life was without me in it, and intimating they’d be moving to where I was soon so our BFF-ship could continue. The person called my parents, told them I’d said to give my phone number, and they didn’t know better, so gave it out. I then started getting phone calls. Five to ten a day. Desperate, yearning, “I miss you, BFF!” phone calls. Some with detailed sex-life information in them? Yeah, I don’t know, either. I’d come home to these things on my machine. Until I finally picked one up and screamed, “STOP IT! WE’RE NOT FRIENDS! LEAVE ME ALONE!” I’m not normally confrontational so that took a lot. I thought it was over. It was not. A few years later, the person called my father, told a lie about being ill, and convinced my father to give out my email address (after my father refused to give out my phone number.) I started getting emails. I responded to the email with “I thought I made myself clear?” The person was all, “I thought you were just in a bad mood that day!” The emails continued, more and more and more of them, until I got one with the same old “I was thinking I should move there, my old BFF!” Again, I put my foot down, only less screamy this time. I explained it was time to move on; we were not friends, nor had we ever been. I had only been polite back then, and had no reason to be now. I had never been a friend. Please stop contacting me. I blocked the person’s email. And guess what I got today? A Facebook friend request and message. “I found you! Please accept my request or I’ll get whiny, LOLLLLL!” Seriously? Seriously. I don’t even know what else to say about this. (I blocked the person and reported the message as spam. It’s gotten to the point where I’m kind of thinking there’s some sort of mental health issue happening here that’s bigger than I thought.)

Overall, rule of thumb? DON’T PUSH. Look back on the interactions you had with the person you think is your new BFF. Do you tell them a lot of personal stories and they don’t tell you any? Do you call them a lot but they don’t call you? Do you give and give and give and they…well, don’t? It’s one-sided. It’s not a friendship. It’s an acquaintance, and it’s never going to tip over into anything else. You’re wasting time. Move on. There’s a hint being given, and you are not taking the hint. You’re being annoying. Do you want to be annoying? I can’t imagine you do.

Remember I said to look over that second list? What do most of those things have in common? Reciprocity. Sharing. Giving AND getting. Allowing them to have opinions in the knowledge they’ll allow you to have your own. Trusting one another. It’s a two-way street, not a one-way street where you’re screaming “LOVE ME LOVE ME LOVE ME” and the other person is covering their ears and grimacing and all “look at my wrist, gotta go” and you realize an hour later “THEY WEREN’T WEARING A WATCH!”

Now. I did promise we’d talk about social media. And, guess what? Fooled you. We have been.

What, Amy? I AM SO CONFUSED!

Social media friendships are the same as real-life friendships, with only a few amendments. They’re easy. And if I think they’re easy – me, Social Anxiety Jones – well, you can rule this. I’ll help. I promise.

Remember the lists from above? You can use those on social media, too.

I’m going to be using Twitter as the example. But you could also use any social media network where strangers gather. Reddit. Google Plus. Online gaming sites. Facebook, I suppose, if you use it to talk to strangers. The list goes on. But Twitter worked for me, so Twitter it is.

The things that bring people together in real life aren’t as fitting in social media. Pretty much what brings you together, since proximity is out the window (the neighborhood is the internet, now, remember) is similar interests. That’s your magnet drawing you together. Mine was my book club and blogging; yours might be crafting, or parenthood, or photography, or a million other things. It’s something to get your foot in the door.

BUT AMY! You’re asking. How does it WORK? How do I take these strangers I meet on social media and turn them into FRIENDS?

Well, here. A whole ARTICLE. The Evolution of a Social Media Friendship. And it’s actually pretty intelligent, too.

Here, in case you don’t want to read. Like I said, I’m going to talk about this as if this is Twitter; you can amend it for any social media network you’d like with very little effort.

  1. Connection. You find someone you think is interesting; you follow them; you talk to them. Easy as pie.
  2. Reciprocation.  They follow you back! They respond to something you said, or retweet you! I remember the day someone whose blog I admired responded to something I said for the first time. I think her response was something like “That was funny as shit, well-played” or something. I just GLOWED. I made someone who’d been making me laugh for months laugh! I felt like effing Leonardo DiCaprio on that stupid sinky ship. KING OF THE WORLD BABY.
  3. Engagement. This is the touchy one. Just because someone tweets you back once or twice doesn’t mean you are the best of friends and you should respond to all of their tweets and DM them a dozen times a day and ask them for their personal information like their home address and get shouty if they don’t give it and refer to them as “my BEST FRIEND SO AND SO” and follow all their friends so you can see what they’re saying and then jump into all THOSE conversations. You remember the example I gave above, about trying too hard? Same holds true here. It’s creepy to try too hard. It’s not *quite* stalking, but it’s close. It’s flirting with stalking. Be calm, be cool, be Fonzie, for the love of Pete. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t? MILLIONS of people are on Twitter (or whatever social network you use.) If the person you’ve focused your laser sights on isn’t responsive?  They don’t want to be your friend. Back the hell off. You are being creepy and you are being weird. STOP IT. Listen, I’m not talking out of my ass, here. I’ve been on both sides of this. When I first started, I was WAY too up this one person’s ass. And I was so confused when that person stopped talking to me. But I think I was being a weirdo. Sorry, person who I will not mention because I think you still read the blog because you are a class act. Also, I have had the “you must love me NOW NOW NOW!” people. And they make me mega-nervous. I appreciate that you seem to like me enough that you want to talk to me CONSTANTLY and use up ALL OF MY ONLINE TIME, but also? Back off, because you’re one step away from keeping me in an abandoned well in your basement and lowering me lotion in a basket, you know?
    (Please note that maybe this annoys NO ONE BUT ME. I know Twitter’s all social and we’re supposed to be all kumbaya and shit. I get it. But there’s a line between talking to someone and replying to EVERYTHING THEY SAY with INANE COMMENTS LIKE “LOL YOU SO CRAY CRAY” and then getting angry if the person doesn’t respond. There’s a line between having something of worth to insert into a conversation people are having, and just putting yourself in there to get ATTENTION because you are LONELY. I know I’m more sensitive to it than most people, due to the aforementioned person who wouldn’t leave me alone and my mom and I STILL call overly-avid-people-who-won’t-take-a-hint by that person’s name, which, let’s pretend the person’s last name was Thompson – it isn’t – we say, “Ugh, that person is TOTALLY Thompsoning me right now,” and it annoys the everloving piss out of me more than almost everyone, but I can assure you, it’s also annoying others. Just not as MUCH as it’s annoying me. And it’s REALLY annoying me. To the point I don’t even want to get onto Twitter anymore because I know the minute I say anything, it’s like a damn alarm goes off and you come a’runnin’ all “AMY AMY LOOK AT ME AMY.” Stop. Just stop. This is the exact OPPOSITE of how you make friends in social media. I assure you. You’re acting like a toddler who needs constant reassurance. It’s not adorable when you’re above the age of about 3.)
  4. Have patience. This one should really be 3a, I think. It means that social media is not our job. It’s what we do in our free time. Some people respond immediately; some people take hours. Some days. If you want everything NOW NOW NOW, then you’re going to either get your heart broken, or tweet someone with something like “ARE YOU OK FRED? IT’S BEEN TEN MINUTES!” and they’re going to unfollow your impatient and shouty ass. Also, adding on to be patient? Try to also be nice. It’s ok to be snarky. The internet is built on snark. But being a constant douchecanoe is a surefire way to get not only unfollowed, but to get a bad reputation. New people aren’t going to follow you if they look over your timeline and notice you’re yelling at people about politics or something ridiculous. The people on the internet are PEOPLE. You need to remember that. What do people have? Feelings. That can be hurt. Be nice. It costs nothing. I promise. (However: protect yourself and your friends. If someone is attacking you or your friends, you have my COMPLETE permission to rip them a new asshole. Just take a couple deep breaths first. And use big words, because that confuses the asshats and often gets them to shut up sooner.)
  5. Private communication. Now, there seems to be a step missing. You don’t just go from chatting to DMing all willy-nilly. Well, maybe some people do. I’m not one of them. When I get a DM from a friend? I like that. I like that a lot. When I get a DM from someone I barely know? It’s like a stranger peeking in on me in the shower. I feel you don’t DM someone until you know them better. I might be in the minority in that. If so, so be it. But the article even says, “It is like a complete stranger wanting to skip steps 1-4 on this list and just go directly to step 5.  It’s not cool,” so I think I’m not alone in this. Anyway. Once you start DMing, even if you’re not talking about anything top-secret, it FEELS secret. It feels special. It feels like friends having a one-on-one conversation. I like seeing my DM light light up and seeing it’s from someone I love.
    Anyway. The step that’s missing? Time. Lots of talking and – well, I don’t know that I can explain this. This is how you make a friend. Sometimes it takes less time, sometimes it takes more. There’s no set timeline for making a friend. You talk. And you share things. And they share back. And you laugh. Well, I don’t know. I do. I laugh a lot. That’s how I choose the people I love. They make me laugh. They make me laugh until I’m snotty and teary and my chest hurts. I want those people in my life. They teach you things. You teach them things. You help them when they need it; they help you when you do. They support you. You support them. It’s all very “when there was one set of footprints that’s when I carried you,” isn’t it? Gack gack gack. And one day, you’re friends. If it sounds vague and nebulous, well, that’s the magic I mentioned. I can’t explain all of it. If you don’t understand it, I’m sorry. Some of it is instinct. Some of it is something we have in our genes and something passed down generation to generation to generation. Like calling to like. Us banding together in the dark against whatever’s outside of the circle of our campfires. It’s not something that science or psychology or years of education can explain. It’s magic, dammit, how else do you need me to explain magic?
  6. You start communicating like real friends. You send each other your email addresses. You email. You DM more. You friend each other on Facebook and see each other’s real-life friends and start liking each other’s personal shit. I suppose if you like phones, you talk on the phone. I hate the phone. I don’t talk to my real friends on the phone. The phone makes me itch. I mean, if they NEED me, it’s not like I don’t ANSWER the phone, but it’s not my choice, ever. You communicate with them as much as the people you see on a daily basis. You find yourself mentioning them in conversation; sometimes this is awkward, because you  have to explain “Oh, that’s my online friend” and you always come up against someone judgey and then have to bite your tongue when you get someone all “You met them ONLINE? You don’t know them?” But you do. Know them. You know them as well as you know someone you see or touch. How can you talk to someone that much and not know them? Sure, they could be pretending to be someone they’re not. But how long, exactly, could they keep that up? Days? Weeks? Months? It’s unlikely. It happens, but not as often as the people who are scared of the big bad intertubes think it does.

    Aw, badger and otter! BFFs, yo!

  7. You meet in person. This one I can’t give you so much advice on, because I don’t have experience. I met an acquaintance, and waved at someone across a room. I may or may not be meeting some friends tomorrow night. That’s up in the air, depending on how long my rehearsal lasts. AND AND AND, I’m meeting my Susie two weeks from Tuesday, and I’m all over butterflies about that. But yes, that’s the next step, isn’t it? It breaks my heart how far I am from some of my people. It seems a little unfair that they’re all they way over THERE and I’m all the way over HERE and we can’t just sit down and have coffee and talk about our lives and laugh and laugh and laugh. But when I’m sad about that, I think, what if I didn’t know them at all? I’d rather have them in my life and have them be all the way over there than not have them at all.

This is a mega-post and at some point I need to get some sleep. SO. Listen.

I counted up the people that I consider my close friends today. Not just friends or acquaintances or coworkers or whatever. Close friends. People that I’d jump in front of a herd of stampeding okapi for, you know? And yes, I’m weirder about categorizing friends than most people. Cut me some slack, Jack, I went my formative years without any people so I’m a stunty bean plant. I’m very fiercely loyal to my small band of loved ones because I never thought I would HAVE loved ones.

Whole damn HERD of okapi!

I won’t tell you the final tally, because it’s none of your business, and I don’t want you to compare your total with mine and be all “I WIN” or whatever. This isn’t about winning or losing. It’s quality, not quantity, my little deviled eggs.

About half of my close friends (close friends, as defined as people I love, remember, people I would gladly give a kidney to, people who make me laugh and cry and who I know are there for me, and that I thank the world for helping me find?) I’ve found via social media. The other half from places in real life: college, work, shared interests. (Also, it’s split equally male/female, so much for the gender wall.) I don’t value my real-life friends any more than I value my social-media friends. They’re my people. They’re the ones I’d save if the boat were sinking. They’re the ones I know love me, warts and all. They’re the ones I’ve chosen, and, in a happy coincidence, they chose me right back.

I don’t have a summation; I don’t have a nice way to end this, other than to say thank you to my people. There was a time I didn’t think I’d have people, ever. And I convinced myself I didn’t need people. Who needs people? I’d say, and laugh all Cruella Deville-like.

I do. I need my people.

Thanks, my people. No matter where I found you, I’m sure as hell not giving you back.

Best of luck to you all in finding YOUR people. You will. Be patient and calm. It’ll happen. Don’t push; don’t be crazy. Relax. They’re there. They’re waiting for you to arrive.

(The title is – I know, ick – from a Phish song? And I hate Phish? But I adore the song. ADORE. Here, there’s no video but you can listen. It’s nice. Even for a stupid jam band.)

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About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

38 responses to “Don’t deplete my oxygen for the guy who’s turning blue, but ask me, and I’ll do anything for you.

  • sj

    Ha, I knew immediately what the song in the title was…but it’s because I have a major history with this band that maybe I’ll tell you about sometime.

    I think I’m trying to avoid talking about the actual content of the post right now because I’m a little cry-y. I’ll explain to you about that some day too.

    Thanks for this post, Amy.

    Like

  • lahikmajoe

    Excellent post. I love things that challenge me to think, and I hate to say that Internet friendships still get a bit of a raised eyebrow by me and people in my social circles.

    Don’t get me wrong. There are some people I truly adore and even love here, but it still feels somehow unseemly. You’ve given me things to ponder. One of the best of my favourite things.

    Had a friend from twitter die earlier this year. It was devastating. She was one of the finest people I’ve ever known. I wrote a tribute to her in which I alluded to what you’re talking about here. That these are friendships that are as true and meaningful as any other. I still tear up when I think of my friend who died.

    You’re not nearly as broken as you seem to believe.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      When I’ve made you think I beam for like an HOUR. Because I’m not overly “making people think” over here. Especially you. So, beaming. For like an hour. Yay!

      I know what you mean. It does seem – I don’t know. Embarrassing? Like you have to defend it, or something. Which is stupid. But I do find myself getting all defensive with non-social-media types about my online people, probably more than I should.

      I know how much you miss your friend. It’s one of the best things about you, you know, that loyalty.

      Meh, I’m pretty broken. But thanks. That means a lot.

      Like

  • Kris Rudin (@krisrudin)

    Great post! Yes – sometimes friendship is just simply magic! You had me tearing up there, at one point, because (as I think I’ve mentioned in a previous post’s comment) I lost my BFF to a sudden heart-attack last July. We had been BFF’s since FOURTH GRADE! (and I am old enough that I *was* alive in the 60’s, and remember when “Hair” first appeared on Broadway and all the hoopla – oh, and I bought the soundtrack LP! ;-) So, we were BFF’s for a very long time, and now, still, almost a year later, I think of her many, many times a day, and want to share things with her and talk to her. We hadn’t lived in the same town since high school, yet we stayed BFFs through it all. There was just that ‘magic’. It was a very special friendship, and I’ll never have one like that, now, at my age. Don’t get me wrong, I have several other VERY close friends, who are totally there for me, and I for them, and, yeah, I’d jump in front of a herd of Okapis for them! But, there will never be another person like my BFF in my life. So, yes, people – be open to the magic. It’s, well, magical when it happens!

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      I do remember you telling me about your best friend. I’m so sorry about that. That’s heartbreaking. I’m glad there was magic, and you can remember it. It’s not the best solution, but it’s something, you know? :(

      Like

      • Kris Rudin (@krisrudin)

        Yup. At this point, I can at least be so very grateful that we were friends, and that we knew what we had was special. Still miss her like anything, but definitely grateful for what we had. She was a gift. (Now, she wasn’t a saint, mind you – but she was a gift to me!)

        Like

  • Andreas Heinakroon

    On people who push too hard – There’s an expression I learned in Isle of Man: “Never give a sucker an even break”. This refers to the fact that if you do nice things for people who seem to constantly suffer from bad luck, they’ll never let you be and won’t stop until they’ve bled you dry .I guess the (rather non-PC) moral is: stay away from needy people, they’re usually failures for a reason.

    (Which reminds me of the awesome Southpark episode ‘You have 0 friends’: http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s14e04-you-have-0-friends – it’s well worth a watch!)

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      You know, I’ve been meaning to watch that episode forever. I need to do that. Maybe this weekend, if I get a chance.

      That’s a good saying. And very smart. And TRUE.

      Like

  • Andreas Heinakroon

    Re the subject of real-life friends vs online friends: I see that as a non-issue, in that a friend is a friend, regardless of the form of communication. In the old days, people used to be pen-pals, and some of them became life-long friends. (The book ’84, Charing Cross Road’ comes readily to mind.)

    I’ve made more friends during the short time-span I’ve used social media than I did during the preceding 10 years, and I don’t see them as lesser friends just because we haven’t met in the flesh. After all, friendship isn’t about our bodies, it’s a meeting of minds.

    But, obviously, it would be a great to actually meet my online friends one day! If nothing else because we would be able to dedicate time to just chat/discuss/laugh over a cup of coffee without any RL distractions.

    Is social media a perfect medium for friendship? No. But how often do we get to choose how we meet new friends? Just like falling in love, it just happens, and we’ll just have to live with any limitations forced onto us by external circumstances.

    (Also, as your Science Fellow I refuse to believe that we won’t one day be able to define what constitutes that magical part of friendship (and falling in love), although I’m in no particular hurry to find out.)

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    • lucysfootball

      You’re the best, Andreas. You’re one of my favorite things about Twitter. Do you know that? If you didn’t, I’m telling you now. You’re one of the people I talk about and people are all, “What? Your friend Andreas? HOW THE HELL DO YOU HAVE A FRIEND IN FINLAND???” and I have to explain social media and it becomes a whole big THING and it’s annoying.

      And, yes. Totally agreed. I’ve made more friends in the past year than I have in the past ten. That says something about social media, right there.

      I don’t know if I want science to define the magic. I kind of like that it’s magic and non-defined. I know, I know. It’s good to have science for everything. But also I like a little magic in the world, you know? There’s so little left.

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  • blogginglily

    The whole stalker section was about me, wasn’t it?

    Wasn’t it?

    Why aren’t you answering me?

    Amy?

    Are you mad at me?

    Amy, why aren’t you answering me?

    I HATE YOU!!!

    The stalker picture made me chuckle-snort.

    By the way, I need your address.

    Like

  • ProfMomEsq

    I’ve written, deleted, and rewritten this comment for more than an hour now. For some reason, everything I think of to write feels too personal and a little melancholy. So, I’m going to say just that this is a really well-written, thought-provoking post. If I can figure out how to say more than that, I will be. But, I sincerely mean the compliment.

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    • lucysfootball

      I made people sad today. I did not mean to make people sad today. I’m an ass. Please accept my apologies for my sad-making-ness. And, thank you.

      Like

      • ProfMomEsq

        You are the furthest thing from an ass. Whatever the opposite of ass is, that’s you. No apology required; sometimes the best thinking is the kind that makes you uncomfortable. (Although I do appreciate laughing so hard it makes me make an ugly-cry face and a snot bubble sneak out of my nose, so if you could get right on that, that’s be great.) :-)

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  • jbrown3079

    I wondered about the etiquette around DM’s. I have received a few and I completely understood why the message was private.
    Yeah, this post made people think but you attract thinkers with your writing. That is a good thing.
    And the saying ,Never Give a Sucker An Even Break, came from W.C. Fields.

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    • lucysfootball

      I get why some messages need to be DMs – and that’s fine – but sometimes people DM you that you barely know, and it’s stuff they probably shouldn’t be sharing, I guess. It’s awkward. And a little worrisome. Or sometimes they just DM you stuff that could be on regular Twitter, and I feel like, why are we keeping this between us like we have a secret? I’m weird about DMing. I’ll admit it.

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  • Elizabeth

    Thank you for this post. I get the inability to make friends and I still sit and wait for people to approach me. I never thought about friendship in this way. It makes sense. Maybe I can use your tips to become a better friend. I hope so.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      I’d be willing to bet you’re a wonderful friend – you just don’t know it. You’ve been a wonderful friend online, anyway – and I’m sure you’re just as great in real life.

      If anyone says otherwise, I’ll smack ’em for you. I like you just that much. :)

      Like

      • Elizabeth

        I finally got back to reading my comments and I saw this. Thank you so much for the compliment. I am a really good online friend because I can hide when I need to. :)

        I like you too, m’dear, and think about you when I’m hiding. Take care!

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  • Kelly Naylor

    Yes, yes! I know so many people that I put in the “Friend” category whom I’ve met online. It’s a mystical, magical thing. When I arranged the very first FTF meeting with one of my online buddies, all our other friends were like, “OMG, take the cops with you, he might be an ax murderer, lolz!” And he totally wasn’t; he is just a wonderfully sweet person (in fact, he was the minister at my wedding). And the person who started the ax murderer thing? Met him a year later, and I said, “You are SO totally an ax murderer!” And then I gave him a plastic ax as a gift. We laughed so hard we were crying.

    I’d start stalking you at the theaters, except I’m really kind of shy (why does NOBODY BELIEVE ME???) and there are days I wouldn’t recognize one of my own family members, so if you see me and my awesomely marvelous spiky red hair at a theater, I AM NOT STALKING YOU! That would be creepy, and I try to only be amusing.

    But in seriousness, friendships are kind of like plants. Taking care of them is work, but usually it’s fun so it doesn’t seem like work. Fortunately, friendships aren’t exactly like plants, because I have a black thumb. Plants see me coming, and they shrivel up and die. I’m much better at friendship… though, considering what I do to plants, “much better” is not necessarily a ringing endorsement. Still… I have friends, and they make me happy. :-)

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    • lucysfootball

      Oh, I have no doubt we’ll run into each other one of these days. It’s inevitable! We run in the same circles!

      (I also kill all the plants. But not all the friends.)

      Like

      • Kelly Naylor

        I have yet to kill a friend. Or an acquaintance. Or even Evil Bosses Who Totally Deserve To DIE. I’m a pacifist, yo. Well, except that one of my RP character DID lop a guy’s head off (he deserved it) and killed a demon and is planning on killing the Avatar of a god in the next day or so (not, like, REAL day… it will actually take a month or so to get there), but she only beats on the Bad People. She like a paladin, except not exactly.

        Come to Pride, come to Pride! See my red spiky hair! Kori says she’ll be singing (you can’t miss her… she looks like she should be singing Wagnerian opera… and she DOES, won’t at Pride, probably).

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  • Samantha

    I can count on one hand the friends I’ve had in my life that I felt really cared about me as much as I did them, and it is truly a special thing. I tend to let people come to me as well because I don’t get along with women well most of the time and guy friendships, while lovely, can get complicated. I must say though that I love the discussion and possibility for friendship social media provides. You can relax, cause distance/other factors are not as serious with online friendships, it’s already present, so it’s less of an obstacle.

    And now I will quit blabbering and simply say “great post,” you nailed it.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      You’re not blabbering. Thank you. :) And yes, social media friendships are a little more laid-back – you can kind of go at your own pace, in some regards, which is nice, I think.

      Like

  • lazyboo

    SO MUCH. Just SO MUCH. I’m pretty sure I looked like one of those bobble-head things while I read this, I was nodding the whole time. You almost could have been writing that for me, except where you have the childhood bullying trauma I just have an anti-social, untrusting taciturn demeanour that scares everybody off.

    Brilliant post Amy.

    I am so like you in that I wait for people to approach me. One of my best friends is one of those larger than life people who just kind of badgered me out of my shell, and since then I’ve made a lot of acquaintances and some good friends via twitter. The sad thing is they’re all in the US and the chance of us ever getting a RL meet is slim, but every now and again we hook up on skype and that’s pretty amazing too, although I almost died of discomfort the first time. Hell, the first few times.

    And the explaining. “So, how do you know so and so that you mentioned?” “Well, actually via twitter.” And then you get the reasonable ones who follow up with… “Oh yeah, that’s cool, and how did you come across them on twitter?” “Well… I was writing this fanfiction story and…” and then they look at me like I’m a freak.

    That whole knowing when to back off thing… *shudders* Being that I am extremely reticent it makes it hard to make connections at all, and I’m easily rebuffed, because I feel it keenly. I wonder how many people could be great friends but because they’re the hang back and wait type they never get the chance for the magic to work? IDEK.

    Thank you Amy, this was marvelous.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      I’m so glad you liked it! I know, the hang-back-and-wait approach isn’t the best. But I’m not good at putting myself out there. Too afraid of rejection. Too old to change, I think. Which is funny, because if you met me, I’m TOTALLY the larger-than-life type. But it’s all an act. I’m secretly shy. But an actor, so good at covering it up. Heh.

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