Mar 29, 2009

Things that suck about your 20s: Not having any friends

me and my bff, who now lives in CaliforniaI don't have any friends. Well, at least, not any in Portland, the city I've lived in for over a year. I'm still hopeful that at some point, I'll start to become better friends with people at work whom, at this point, I consider myself to be slightly better than acquaintances with. But for now, my only real friend in Oregon is my boyfriend, and I'm completely aware that that is a little sad.

This hasn't always been the case. In college, I had a ton of friends. I think it still sort of baffles my boyfriend, who met me when I was in college, that I don't have a ton of friends and that I'm not always at the center of everything the way I was back in those days. Of course, what I don't think he realized then is that by the time he'd met me, I'd had three years of being in college to make friends. And it took me all of those three years to make those friends. The first two years I was in college? Completely friendless. You can ask my sophomore year roommate. It drove her absolutely nuts that the totality of my social life pretty much took place on the internet.

I don't really know why I have such a hard time making friends, but I always have. I'm just sort of...awkward...around people I don't know very well. This afternoon, the boyfriend and I went to see I Love You, Man, the new Jason Segel/Paul Rudd movie, wherein Paul Rudd has no friends outside of his girlfriend and spends most of the movie failing pretty outrageously at making friends, mostly because he's painfully awkward. Watching it, I really sympathized with Rudd because, hey, that's pretty much been me my whole life. As we were walking out of the theatre, I asked the boyfriend, "So, uh, did Paul Rudd remind you a little of me?" He immediately started cackling and said, "Yeah. Why did you think I was laughing so hard?"

*sigh*

After leaving college, I went almost immediately into flight attendant training in Minnesota. Even though I spent pretty much 20 waking hours of the day with these three other girls who were my same age and who shared close living quarters with me, I had a really hard time ever feeling NOT awkward around them, much less making friends with them. They had all become best buds before I showed up with my suitcase on the very first day—a matter of hours to start braiding each others' hair and swapping friendship bracelets—but over a period of 6 weeks, I barely felt comfortable being in the same room with them. I'm not even sure why. They were always really nice to me and tried to include me in everything. But I always felt out of place with them.

Same thing has happened in Oregon. I've been at the same workplace for a year, and I still feel incredibly uncomfortable with almost everyone I work with. And the thing is, there's no reason for it. No one has ever been anything but nice to me or done anything to make me feel uncomfortable. I'm just uncomfortable with myself. I say and do awkward things, I have a hard time coming up with things to talk about that aren't sort of strange. Give me a blog, and I can talk for hours, but put me in a face-to-face conversation? I turn into a puddle of embarrassing yuck.

And the idea of making friends outside of the workplace? Forget about it. I wouldn't even know where to begin. I've heard from a lot of other twenty-something's that making friends once you start your real world job (especially if you leave the town where you grew up or went to college) is difficult even if you aren't impossibly awkward. On tumblr (yes, I'm back to 99% of my social life being on the internet), I'm always encountering posts that have been reblogged dozens of times where people in their early 20s ask, "Is it this hard for everyone to make friends after college?" Everyone's answer seems to be, "Yes."

So while I know part of my struggle to make friends is that I'm uncomfortable putting myself out there enough to do it, part of it is just the nature of being in your 20s. It's making big moves away from your friends from childhood or college. It's spending most of your time at work. It's not really having many opportunities to run into other people your age or with your interests. It's everyone coupling off, getting married, having babies. It's a lot of things.

I've tried putting myself out there more. I joined a community band, and I'm going to take a Spanish class starting next month. I've started accepting and extending more invitations to people I work with. I can feel it slowly starting to happen. But the boyfriend and I are planning on moving after he finishes school. What then? Do I have to start over all over again?

It really stinks not having friends, too. Like tonight, when Kellen has gone back to school and I'm sitting around on what is a really beautiful afternoon wondering, "What do I do now?" I'm completely capable of being alone with myself. In fact, hanging out on my own is something I've gotten pretty accustomed to and cool with in the nearly two years I've been out of school. All the same, sometimes you want to be around other people. You want someone you're close enough to that you can bitch about your life or tell silly jokes or go do something fun and interesting with or just...be yourself, however awkward you might be.

So making friends. It's something I'm still working on, and hopefully, the situation will improve soon. I just wish I had friends now, though. I wish all the awkward "we might be able to become friends, so let's test the waters and see how it goes" conversations could all be over, and we could already be friends, and I could stop feeling so awkward all of the time. That would be awesome.

32 comments:

  1. It is hard to make friends when you’re not in college. You don't have that opportunity everyday to meet someone new. I was the same way. I didn't have a lot of friends untill my junior and senior year. I think my junior year I think we all realized we all had the same classes (I went to a small college). We pretty much became known as the back of the class group. It's funny how that works. Half these people live all over the world and we still talk just like we got out of college yesterday. It does take a while to get to know people. I always find having a few drinks breaks the ice a little. Give it some time. Good luck

    ryan

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  2. Same here. Still keep up with all my college friends. They are super wonderful people. Just wish they were closer!

    Also, maybe I'll write a post sometime on how much I miss alcohol. I rarely ever drink these days, though, largely because when there is alcohol available these days, it's almost always beer (yuck!), or because I'm alone and have to drive myself home. *sigh* In college, it was definitely my social lubricant of choice.

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  3. Have you ever played tennis? Tennis is a good way to meet people. If you have never played you could always take lessons or get into a beginners class

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  4. Gosh, I'm so right there. I met every one of my college friends through someone I already knew. I can seriously trace them all back to one guy I knew from high school.

    And now that I've been home for the semester, it's pretty much just me. I've got one local friend, but she's almost impossible to spend time with (she's an architecture student).

    Rough times.

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  5. do you get on any im programs any more? i'd love to chat more :)

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  6. Not really. Mostly because on every single chat program there is, there is always someone I want to avoid. Ha. No wonder I have no friends! ;)

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  7. How about making doggie friends? Having a dog helps break the ice. Take Pippin for a walk...I'm sure you'll see the same people over and over with dogs. Plan a "doggie play date" which is supposed to be for the dogs but is really for the owners. Talk about what you have in common first then branch to other things, like watching a movie or something. Works like a charm!

    I think you're doing the right things (band, Spanish class) but you may have to be a little more aggressive. Ask people out on a "(wo)man date" like in the movie.

    And I think you're a very sociable person - not awkward. We became fast friends, you know. ;)

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  8. I'm sorry you feel this way. It is much harder to make friends once you're not in college anymore. It sounds like you've taken some good first steps by getting involved in some local activities. I know it's easier said than done, but what seems to work well is to really put yourself out there and initiate friendships. I've forced myself to step outside of my comfort zone and it has really paid off. Hang in there!

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  9. (Hi there).

    I've been thinking about this, too... You see people on TV having these fabulous dinner parties and drinking wine with their friends and I think, who the eff are these people?

    I've been in the Hollywood area for a few years now - and the only (real) friends I have.. there are about 5 of them? 2 of whom I see regularly enough - the others it's every few months.

    No idea how to remedy this!

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  10. Just started following you on Twitter! I'm @jesslaw. I can't believe you were a flight attendant! Every time I fly I think about how that would prob. be my least favorite job to do ever. I bet you have seen some crazy things!

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  11. I've seen LOTS of crazy things, but on the whole, it's a pretty awesome job. :)

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  12. you can block people ya know. for all they know, you just never get on...

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  13. Wow, I TOTALLY understand where you are coming from. I grapple with these issues all the time! I think it's hard in your 20's especially in a new place, when you are used to having so many friends around..you become sad and feel sorry for yourself and thus make the situation worse!

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  14. Katie,

    As someone who has ironically stumbled onto your blog via twitter, let me say that I am not very sympathetic towards your situation.

    Our generation, the “millennials” as 60 minutes has dubbed it, is a group that is so self-involved and technologically entrenched that it seems to make perfect sense that you have “no friends.”

    Growing up, we generally made our friends based on common interests. I enjoyed playing sports therefore most of my friends came from the sports teams I played on. As high school came, I demonstrated a passion for film and film criticism and from there I connected with people who had similar interests. Social interaction isn’t that complicated of a science. Unfortunately, the facebooks, twitters, myspaces and iPhones of this world have fucked it all up.

    We seem to feel the need to scream out to the world, “I AM HERE!” Hence the immediate growth of blogs, twitter, and the internet as a form of extension of the self. Sadly, nobody on the net really cares that you or I are here, no matter what they say on your facebook page.

    As grim as I make this sound, my intention is to demonstrate the importance of interpersonal communication. Oddly, dealing with people in a one-on-one, face to face setting seems to be “uncool” these days. I can tell because most people don’t look one another in the eye anymore and generally have the public social skills of the troll that lived under the bridge. Interpersonal communication induces the ability to work off the cuff, to talk with tone and intent, and most importantly, to learn about yourself. Fear of doing this forces us to hide behind our cell phones and computers where everything feels “safe” and “correctable.”

    So after diagnosing your problem, here is my prescription: get out into the real world! You have a boyfriend and that is all well and good, but if you want to make some female friends you have to go out and find them. You’ve stated that you are taking a Spanish class and that you are reaching out to people at work. It’s a start, but you need to try harder and stop feeling so bad for yourself. I have no idea what your interests are but I can bet you there are organizations, clubs, and/or events that you could attend. When and if you go, be open and forthcoming. To make it more comfortable, bring the boytoy along. Say hi to people and spark up conversations. I’m sure you are capable of doing this. Just stay away from bars; nobody makes REAL friends at bars.

    I apologize for being so blunt Katie, but it is time to get away from the safe haven that is technology. Get out into big bad scary world where rejection and embarrassment are inevitable but finding true love, be it platonic or sexual, is highly probable and infinitely more rewarding.

    Good luck.

    TK

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  15. I want to try very hard to accept your response, TK, as a well-meaning piece of advice, but considering that you attempted to box me into an incredibly negative stereotype with little more to go on than a few blog posts, and then dropped some condescending "hints" at how I could not fulfill your perception of what I must be, all because I have a blog and fall into the Gen Y age range...I'm having a hard time treating it as anything but the blatant douchery that it is. The problem wasn't with your prescription. I absolutely agree that I need to put myself out there more, something that I stated on my own in the post. The problem was with your diagnosis, both about me and my generation, which couldn't be more off-base.

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  16. I was simply responding to your post. I based my opinions on you solely from your writing.

    Therefore, my, as you so eloquently called it, “douchery” comes from reacting to your post which makes you come off as a generic millennial who has no understanding of technology’s impact on her social life and who finds clarity from the works of Paul Rudd.

    Having a blog doesn’t make you cliché. Whimpering about having no friends in a world infested with people does.

    On a side note, if the problem with our generation ISN’T our increasing inability to interpersonally communicate, then what is? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

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  17. You based your opinions solely on my writing, but you assumed that the entirety of my life could be (or would) summed up entirely in my blog.

    For instance, the Paul Rudd thing. Just because I mention a movie I just watched on my blog doesn't mean that I think it was a path to clarity or that the particular actor is my version of a philosopher. I'm sorry I didn't reference Foucault or Descartes or whoever you think I should reference in order to prove my intelligence or my capacity for deep thought. I didn't realize that in order to prove that I'm worth treating like a semi-intelligent human being I had to peddle high-brow cinema or give serious academic lectures about philosophy on my blog.

    Or for instance, assuming that one whiny post about having a difficult time with making new friends in a new city meant that I'm a pathetic hermit who is incapable of having a conversation unless it's on a facebook wall. You know, I don't know many people who can replace friends and family members one has known for several years or for an entire lifetime in a matter of months. But...whatever...clearly I'm just a cliched Gen Y internet loner, all because A) I have a blog, and B) I'm lonely, two things that aren't necessarily related, but because you've already got the stereotype ready in your head, the relationship must obviously be causal.

    Maybe whining about not having any friends in a world full of people does make me a cliche. But going around making stupid assumptions about people because you've read one blog post and think that gives you not only all the information you need to know about a person, but also a license to act like a total shit to them is pretty cliched, too, don't you think?

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  18. Honestly, I'm not sure that our generation lacks the ability to communicate on an interpersonal level. I've talked to my mom about how hard it is to make friends right now, and she's said she experienced a lot of the same problems right out of college, particularly because she was single, she moved a couple of times and most of her friends and the people she met at work were married with families. I don't think the problem I'm having is unique to me or my generation, or is the result of technology. I think more young people might be experiencing what I'm experiencing now because more young people are like my mother and I have been in our 20s--we've moved away from old friends, we are surrounded by people who for the most part are older or in different stages of life, and have struggled to acclimate into an adult world where most adults have spouses, families, homes, etc. 30 years ago, my mom was pretty unusual. Today, women (and men) like my mom are a dime a dozen, so that might attribute to higher feelings of loneliness in our cohort. I do think that's why so many people DO resort to online dating or social networking, not only as a way to meet new people but also to stay in touch with old friends. Does the technology make us lonelier, or do we rely on technology because we are lonely? I personally feel that the latter is more true.

    Beyond that, I'm not really sure what you mean by our generation lacks the ability to communicate. People said the same thing about Gen X and the Boomers when they were first entering adulthood. Part of it is simply natural inter-generational tension, and part of it right now is the fact that most Millennials are young, immature (no moreso than any other generation, but mainly as a result of age), and have yet to fully enter and acclimate to professional settings. Of course we lack many of the professional communication skills of older generations--we've never had the opportunity to exercise them. And if you want to argue that people make less eye contact now or people are ruder than they used to be...I don't buy it. I can remember when I was little hearing older people in my rural community complaining about how people in cities never make eye contact and are always so rude. I think the tendency to believe that things were once better, and now things are going to shit, is nostalgia for a past that never existed and fear of the future and change.

    Perhaps you can give some clearer meaning of what you mean by "our generation isn't increasing our ability to interpersonally communicate"?

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  19. Regarding your first comment: as I stated, my response to your piece was SOLELY based on reading your article. Honestly, after reading it, I had no desire to read any of your other work. (SIGH…..our fun little banter here has forced me to.)

    The Paul Rudd thing was a joke. Had we been talking face to face, you would have noted my HILARIOUS sarcasm.

    No need to quote Foucault or Descartes. Your name-dropping clearly demonstrates your ability to use wikipedia. (That was a joke. Funny, right?)

    I never called you a pathetic hermit. A hermit? Maybe. Pathetic? No. Just someone who APPEARS to reflect Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. (NOW THAT IS HIGHBROW….well, not really) (Also if you want a GREAT movie that might “strike a chord” regarding your feelings of loneliness in the vast world we live in, see Woody Allen’s Manhattan. Ya see what I did there?)

    I’m not ragging on you for having a blog. HOWEVER, if you are willing to post your thoughts on the net, meaning throughout the world and in a PUBLIC forum, then you leave yourself open to criticism. I thoroughly DISLIKED your piece and based on your settings as the administrator of the site, I was allowed to comment. And I did. If you want to keep writing (or “venting”) and not have people act like “total shits” then keep it in a diary. To be cliché: if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

    Lastly, I’m not going to write some banal comment like “Gosh, I’m so right there” or “rough times.” Rough times?! We are in our 20’s! We are NEVER going to look this good, feel this good, or have the general freedom that we have now. I don’t want to see how much complaining you are going to be doing when you are fifty, have a mortgage, two snot covered kids, a husband who can’t get it up, and boobs that droop down to your hips. WOE IS NOT YOU!

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  20. The thing that you did not get in your first, second or third comment is this: I don't take my blog or my life that seriously. So while you're flapping your arms and lecturing me about appreciating life and shouting "WOE IS NOT YOU!", because you've clearly got an idea of the kind of person I am in your head and you think that person deserves the lectures, I'm just sitting here staring at my screen with one eyebrow raised in complete exasperation going, "Well, no shit."

    It's just a blog. It's not that serious.

    And while, yes, I could keep my thoughts to myself in a private diary, you could just as easily, upon realizing my blog wasn't your cup of tea, have closed the page and never read my blog again. To be cliche: if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all. Not that I'm particularly wounded by what you have to say at this point. I'm just tired of arguing with someone incapable of differentiating between a blog and a human being. And I can see why someone with that problem would feel that technology interferes with our ability to communicate with one another.

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  21. Regarding your second comment:

    What I mean is that our increasing use of technology as a form to communicate inhibits us from having any perspective. By perspective, I mean the opportunity to reflect on our close relationships. We seem to feel this need to “connect” and have infinite “friends” or “fans” or whatever you want to call it when in the end, it doesn’t matter. We need to learn how to “stop and smell the roses.”

    I remember in high school being so concerned with what other people thought of me and that every single thing I did mattered because the people around me would NEVER forget it. How many people from high school do I talk to on a REGULAR interpersonal basis? 3. 3 of 300.

    People claim that sites like “facebook” or “myspace” keep them connected with their “lost” friends. Where is the urge to keep up with someone you went to kindergarten with? To me, it only demonstrates our insecurity with the fact that we probably don’t have that many true friends. And I’m content with that. I, just as I’m sure you do, have a close-knit group of friends that I talk to and spend time with as often as possible. Our memories revolve around direct experiences, not ones where a box made of lights and wires came between us.

    I don’t know what evidence you have to support your statement regarding the baby boomers and generation X. Yes, there was intergenerational tension based on a culture gap, but that tension had nothing to do with their ability to communicate. It wasn’t like my grandparents were yelling at my parents to “get off that stupid typewriter.” I don’t see your connection between generational tension and it being based on said generation’s inability to communicate. Doesn’t make sense.

    Yes, we are young and immature and yes, (a tiny) part of the problem is because we haven’t had the opportunity to distinguish ourselves professionally, but what you seem to be missing is that before the year 2000 (roughly) people had been able to communicate rather efficiently for a very long time.

    Therefore, our generation is COMPLETELY UNLIKE all other generations because we are the first to have our lives, be it professional or personal, revolve around technology. Do you think you could go a week without the internet or your cell phone? I bet you couldn’t. (I’m not saying I could either.) In 1996, you probably did it without even knowing. That is only thirteen years ago! It’s a snowflake in the avalanche that is time.

    To say that technological growth hasn’t affected how we communicate when it has DRASTICALLY changed the global landscape is ridiculous. The freakin’ president can’t even get rid of his Blackberry.

    I simply ask that people gain some perspective on how the internet affects them, particularly products like myspace or facebook. We need to stop “quoting” their business model and affirming that it “brings people together.” Instead, lets reflect on whether or not we truly need things like social networking in our life which, based on your most recent comment, only provide a safe haven for our loneliness instead of forcing us to deal with it head on. (Clearly, I believe technology breeds loneliness but I really don’t think there is much of a difference as to whether or not it is the cause or the solution to our loneliness. It still causes the same negative reaction.)

    I know this guy who spends EVERY SINGLE NIGHT on his computer playing World of Warcraft. EVERY NIGHT. He loves music, bike riding, and he is generally a pretty interesting guy. He lives in the heart of New York City and he NEVER goes out. He has hundreds of live music venues and parks and bridges and amazing places to meet new and exciting people and he never does it. He just sits at his desk, plays World of Warcraft, and looks like any other person who has been staring at a computer screen for six hours: disillusioned.

    One night, he had about ten friends from college over for some drinks. They were laughing, reminiscing, and having a great time overall. For the first time ever, he seemed like a normal social human being. No matter what you say, no facebook or myspace can ever replace that.

    TK

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  22. It seems to me that understanding that while you might have 500 friends on facebook, but only five of them are people you actually want to talk to and hang out with on a regular basis, that you DO have perspective on your relationships, even within social networks. If we didn't have that understanding, there wouldn't be conversations about "spring cleaning" our friends lists or what have you. And...I think people have always expressed a basic curiosity to know what happened to people they knew a long time ago but haven't talked to since. What else would be the point of those "Where are they now?" celebrity shows or high school reunions or just good old fashioned gossip? I think that while, yes, some people view social networking as a sort of way to argue that they have 500 super close friends and they are soooo popular because of it (Julia Allison comes to mind), most of us don't view social networking that way. And I think this is where your problem with conflating stereotypes with reality negatively affects your argument.

    While my grandparents never yelled at my mother to get off her typewriter, they did yell at her not to play her records so loudly and complained because she talked like a stoner. "Maaan, that's so groooovy." I know because my grandmother still makes fun of the way my mother and her older brother talked when they were younger. While, no, there weren't necessarily technological mediums we could put up between ourselves (other than record players and 8-tracks, I guess), there are differences in basic communication (i.e. youth slang, which is present in almost every culture) and differences in a basic desire to communicate. Most teens just don't want to talk to their parents and make it difficult because of that.

    How do you mean people were able to communicate "more efficiently"? How are we not communicating efficiently now? I would argue my ability to call my mom on my cell phone, facebook her and send her five e-mails in a day is far more efficient than a letter-writing system where our responses are staggered by 4-5 business days. Am I misunderstanding your meaning? You say that the president can't get rid of his blackberry, but what does that mean? Just because he's holding a technological device that takes him out of the here and now for a few minutes, that means he's incapable of appreciating it or existing in it? For the people who aren't able to be in the here and now, don't devices such as blackberries actually improve communication?

    I can't completely disagree with your comments on WOW. I have a lot of friends who play it, and it seems to suck away a lot of their life. BUT I do understand that some of my friends, when they are exhausted from work and don't really want to do anything or talk to anyone (and sometimes people just feel like that), WOW is a good way to zone out for a few hours. I can't argue it's always a bad thing.

    Of course you can't replace human interaction with a blog or with facebook or with a blackberry. I would happily trade in my tumblr if it meant I could spend a few days in Austin with my friends from college. I would probably hand over a lot more than that for a nice weekend with my parents. In fact, that's what I do pretty much every time I go home or go visit friends, I trade the technology for flesh and blood. And when your friend had the opportunity to hang out, he didn't pass it up or say, "Uh, why don't we do this little meet-up on WOW? We can totally go on a raid together!" He chose to do it face to face. So...I don't necessarily think MOST people are using technology as a replacement for human contact. I think if anything, technology has become a way for us to avoid being alone with ourselves. In spaces where we would normally have been alone, we now fill that with social networking sites or texting or blogs. I worry far more about that, actually, than I do about getting to the point where I would rather be with my laptop than with another person.

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  23. So what's the point of blogging then? Or your blog in particular? Isn't your blog in someway a reflection of who you are? Shouldn't your writing reflect your personality in some sense? Is this your alter-ego writing these posts? Now you are just being confusing.

    Again, you are putting out your work PUBLICLY, you can't stop me from reading it (no matter how many pleas you make to people who don't like your writing.)

    By your logic, you are saying that if a person stands in the middle of the park and begins to scream aloud then people shouldn't make eye contact, listen, or comment unless they agree with that person.

    The last thing you said confused me even more. I can't differentiate between a blog and human being? What does that mean?

    Take responsibility for what you write and stop hiding behind whatever impressions you have about the "informality" of blogging.

    Again, if you can't handle it, put it down in a notebook. It seems it would serve the same therapeutic release you so desperately crave.

    TK

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  24. A few things:

    First, I never said "more efficiently." I said "rather efficiently." Big difference. Of course technology allows us to communicate more efficiently now than it did in the past. I'm not saying throw the computer out the window. I'm saying evaluate how we use it and realize its effects on us.

    The President not being able to give up his blackberry is a reflection of our society as being obsessed with technology. Why MUST he have one? W. didn't need one and he is the greatest president in our nation's history. (I hope you just cringed from that.)

    Regarding your final point, the thing we all need to realize is that we are alone. No matter what we think we will end up alone. Our family and friends provide us with joy, love and happiness and perhaps that is the "meaning" to all of this mumbojumbo but no matter what you or I say we will end up alone. I prefer to accept that and move on, rather than run from it and deny it.

    TK

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  25. "Isn't your blog in someway a reflection of who you are? Shouldn't your writing reflect your personality in some sense? Is this your alter-ego writing these posts?"

    I would argue that my blog is, at best, a small snippet of the thoughts I have or the things I do, and even then, it's a snippet that I've slanted to fit the overall theme of my blog. (Which is mostly bitching.) And if you go to some of my different blogs, you will see that they all contain different interests, different topics of conversation, different ways of looking at life. And even those...I mean, they're just small slices, not the whole cake.

    I try to some extent to use personas or themes to help focus my writing on different blogs. It's not necessarily an alter-ego, but rather, a premise that I kind of run with in my writing. I came up with the idea for this blog after I went through a series of unexpected expenses in about two months--including a pretty gnarly car wreck--that left me short $9000. It was at that point that I thought, when sorting through my bills, "Wouldn't it be funny if I keep a blog about all the ridiculous/stupid stuff that happens all the time in life?" I decided to call it "twenty something" because I knew that this kind of real world sticker shock is something a lot of twenty somethings go through. And while a lot of people just see this blog as whining and think I should move on with my life, a lot of people identify with it and even see the humor in it. I guess that's why I keep writing it. Not so much because my life is really that bad or worse than anyone else's but because...everyone goes through this stuff, and some people really seem to connect to it.

    So my blogs aren't wholly divorced from my life. It's not like I'm just making stuff up. But...my blog isn't just talking about my life. Part of blogging for me is a writing challenge, to see if I can keep things focused through a specific lens, if I can maintain tone or an idea from one post to the next. That doesn't mean everyone will like it, or that I even expect that no one will ever disagree with me. (I've been blogging for far too long to even entertain that as a possibility.) I would hope, though, that people were able to distinguish the difference between what I write about and what I do with the other 23.5 hours of the day. I'm not some 16-year-old girl babbling on about her life on her blog because she has too much emotion and not enough filter. This isn't some stream-of-conscious narrative of my every waking thought. I do occasionally think about--and do--other things. In fact, sometimes I really struggle to come up with things I can write about here, so that shows you that in a lot of ways, this blog is at odds with my natural thoughts or feelings a lot of the time. That is what I mean by you conflating me with my blog, though. I don't assume that somebody who keeps a movie blog does nothing but sit around and watch movies all the time, at the expense of social relationships and other interests. I don't assume that someone who keeps a blog about job searching doesn't do anything but job searching. So why would one assume that what I talk about in my blog is all I do with the rest of my time?

    I'm not sure what you mean by "take responsibility" for my writing. Do you want me to agree with you that what I'm writing is bad, or that I'm a bad person for writing it? I write what I write. I like what I write, and I like it so much, I have no intention of changing it. I take full responsibility for every word I put out there. You, however, are not the All Knowing, All Powerful Blogging God to whom I have to prove my blog's value or reason for existence. So if you don't like it, that's just one person who doesn't like it. Big deal. That doesn't mean I'm somehow failing to take responsibility because I'm not writing content that has YOUR stamp of approval, or because I refuse to apologize for failing to earn it.

    I'm completely capable of handling the criticism. If I weren't, I would have probably stopped blogging about 9 years ago. I certainly would have taken this blog down a couple of months ago when, two or three posts in, I was already getting hate mail for what I was writing. I would LIKE to clear up any misunderstandings we have about what I'm like when I'm not blogging, even if it doesn't make you like my blog (I don't expect you to), but if you're unconvinced, you're unconvinced. That won't stop me from continuing to blog.

    And for me, my blog isn't all about therapeutic release. A lot of it is just about writing. But...again...you think you know me, so you can think whatever you like. It's not like I can change your opinion.

    I never said I don't evaluate the relationship I have with technology, and in fact, in my responses I have demonstrated that I do. I just think your conclusion is wrong--and if you can't accept that someone might criticize your high and mighty ideas on the basis of their own fairly solid evaluation, well, I guess I'm not the only person who should consider removing my commentary from the internet and sticking to a more private medium. And to be honest, I think you're wrong about the idea that people are and will inevitably end up alone, too. In fact, I think that's just a sad, miserable way to approach life. You can argue I'm in denial, but...in my life, I don't feel alone. Sometimes I'm lonely. Sometimes I'm very much physically alone. For the most part though? I know there are people out there who love me, who genuinely love me and care for me and value my existence, and because of that, I'm never alone. And I don't need the internet, or my cell phone, or anything else to tell me that.

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  26. I liked your discussion about what your blog means to you. It doesn't appeal to me, but I you explained it well.

    By taking responsibility for your writing I'm saying that you need to stand behind what you write and not cop out by saying, "take it easy, it's just a blog." You should defend your work and it's good that you do. But don't belittle it or try to tell people to not read your stuff because they don't like what you write. That is what I mean by taking responsibility. Be willing to take the criticism, just as you are willing to take the praise. Sorry, but you don't do it well.

    The only way we can clear up any understandings about who YOU are is for you to keep on writing and for me to keep on reading. I'm not about to go to Portland so that we can "kiss and make up" over a latte. Sure, your blog doesn't represent ALL of you, but it represents a part, be it large or small. That is all I know of who you are.

    I think of my blog as a representation of my personality and my interests. Yes you are correct, I don't sit around and watch movies 24/7, but it is a large part of who I am and that's why I do it.

    You need to stop with the high and mighty junk. If I was that special, I would be writing for a newspaper. I'm confident in my opinions and I disagree with you (a lot). Deal with it and stop acting like you are 12. I'm not about to call your mommy to tell on you.

    You might not agree with my idea on everyone ending up alone, but it is true. You will die alone. Cold hard fact. That DOES NOT MEAN you are alone now. I'm not trying to belittle any relationships you have now. I'm sure you have plenty of people who care about you and love you. I'm just saying that it is inevitable that we will end up alone. Death is the only constant. Not sad or miserable. Honest and beautiful.

    TK

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  27. The thing is, it IS just a blog. It's not my personal manifesto. It's something I do for fun, to entertain other people, to occupy myself when I get bored. So when other people flip out on me and insult me because they think this is the person I actually am, 24/7, with no other thoughts or opinions about life, my telling them they need to take a step back and get a little perspective before they start ripping on me is not evading responsibility. It's just asking them to stop and think about whether their critique is going to be relevant, much less realistic, before they commit it to figurative paper.

    "Sure, your blog doesn't represent ALL of you, but it represents a part, be it large or small. That is all I know of who you are."

    Exactly. My blog is all you know about me, and that's why it's really silly to assume you know enough about my life or me to start doling out the insults. In my opinion, a reasonable response in the event of finding a post I didn't like on the internet would be to: A) do more research on the person before I pass judgment, or B) move on. Jumping down someone's throat because I've read one post (or maybe even a handful of posts) on a person's blog, and because what I've read seems to confirm a stereotype or a preconceived notion I have in my head? I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous, and that's not the kind of "critique" I feel the need to encourage.

    I absolutely take responsibility for what I write. I love what I write, and I have no intention of stopping. But I don't think that means I have to claim that every word is deeply meaningful or personal, or that it's a distinct representation of who I am (please, if I'm going to do that, I'll find a better way to do it than through a blog), or that my blog is meant for everyone. It's not. That's not evading responsibility, that's just being honest about the limitations of what I'm writing. And personally, if it's not your thing, I don't know why you'd want to keep reading it, unless you're just looking for more opportunities to attempt to make me feel bad about myself.

    If you'd brought up the topic of technology inhibiting our abilities to communicate with one another or a broader generalization about how our generation struggles to make friends because of technology, I would have thought your response was really thoughtful and would have been much more receptive to what you have to say. However, when you lay into someone with personal attacks, when you lob insults, and when you treat someone else as wholly inferior to yourself on the basis of almost zero information, don't be surprised when the response you get is less than friendly. And really, don't be surprised when someone refers to you as "high and mighty" when you've spent several posts talking down to them. You don't want the moniker, don't act like it.

    PS: I don't drink lattes.

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  28. Wow, people really do just randomly rip on you...I really have never seen anything like that before.

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  29. Unfortunately, I have seen something almost identical to this before. The links to the massive bitchiness are included in this post:

    http://robot-heart.tumblr.com/post/82976871/nikophony-i-am-entirely-over-my-job-and-i-have

    And also:

    http://unfollowfriday.com/post/82937357/robot-heart

    Bitching out people on the internet for something you are probably guilty of yourself is the new international passtime. I'm almost used to it...almost.

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  30. I'm two years late to the party, but conclusion:

    1. TK's a troll
    2. Katie, you're not alone! :)

    <3333

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  31. I am glad to see this post! I have just finished college and most of my friends and I went different directions- leaving a lot of us starting over in the friendship making process! It gets harder as we get older, agreed?

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  32. TK<3Katie (sparks flying) Katie<3TK

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