Be My Friend

October 21, 2016 § 2 Comments

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Jolie writes,

Hey Kathleen!

I want to start by letting you know that I’m really happy about The Fangirl Life. Recently I’ve been uncovering my creative side outside of my obsessions so I feel like your book would be a huge help to me. Unfortunately right now I’m going on holiday overseas really soon and I’ve gotta save, but I will definitely get onto buying ASAP 🙂

Now, here’s the thing – I’m part of a super obscure fandom so unlike a lot of fans sometimes I find it hard to connect to people who share the same interests online. And even if I do come across them, I have no idea how to approach them in a way that would make a friendship between us seem organic. Since I don’t use Twitter or Tumblr I usually find them on YouTube, and that’s not really a ‘social media’ as much as it is a video platform.

Which leads to the fact that I found someone from within my general interest circle who inspired me a lot because they’ve harnessed their passions and turned them into a personal living, and a meaningful contribution to the world. They live on the other side of the globe, but I found their social media (stalker, I know) and I’d really like to message them, probably even ask to write to them, just to let them know how much they motivate me; it’d make me feel like I’d have someone to connect to as well. But I’m just some chick from another country who’s never met them but managed to track down their profile – I feel like they might that find that creepy and that’s what’s making me really hesitant.

I’m so sorry about the length of this post, but advice would be very much appreciated!
Thank you 🙂

Hi Jolie! This is one of my favorite topics, and it’s one that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

I don’t know how old you are, but I’m in my thirties, and making friends once you’re out of school is HARD. You might have people offline you hangout with or people online that you orbit around like a hidden moon, but you wouldn’t necessary call them friends or mentors.

But here’s the secret. Nothing about relationships is organic. That is, if by organic, you mean natural or slow and safe. But there’s a better meaning to the term organic, which is organized. STRUCTURAL. FUNDAMENTAL.

I truly believe that everything that happens in a good friendship is intentional. As adults, we’re no longer going to be thrown into an organized arena with people who have to be our friends. We have to do the work and be authentic. We have to TELL PEOPLE we admire them or want to be their friend. Especially if they live far away.

TELLING PEOPLE (ahhh!) is scary because it requires a level of vulnerability. It’s giving people a peak at our heart-pacing, friendship-pining selves. Brené Brown says, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

I’m tired of doing the dance, Jolie. I’ve finally learned to see someone and say, “You’re a person I want in my life FOR GOOD.” And every time I do that, the muscle gets a little stronger. It becomes a little bit easier to present that vulnerability. I have been “just some chick” who creepily messages people on Tumblr or Twitter or whatever. And guess what? Some of them I never heard from again. Some of the only became friendly acquaintances. Some of those people are my best friends today.

When you choose to be vulnerable, you agree to let go of the outcome. You can show your heart to people, and they can think you’re creepy, or not worth their time, and it fucking HURTS. Or maybe they simply aren’t ready to be vulnerable with you. But all you can do is show up and be courageous. Because it’s worth the times that you find someone who says, “YES! I want that too.”

I want whole-hearted friendships in my life, not half-hearted interactions. And to get that in an online environment, you have to do the brave thing again and again. So be brave, Jolie! Friendship feels like courage.

 

 

 

 

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§ 2 Responses to Be My Friend

  • My advice? Reach out anyway. A year ago I felt the same way about a blogger I felt connected to. I sent a message. She answered back! I couldn’t believe it; I was shocked for days. Long story short: we’re best friends now and talk every day. My passport is ready and I get to see her in 38 days. Don’t be afraid. The worst that could happen is you don’t click… but the best is that you could!

  • Jill says:

    Ahhh! This is awesome! Kathleen, you are so right. It’s so hard to make friends out of school. There have been people online that I like but I’ve been unsure how to approach them without seeming like a weirdo. Thanks for the encouragement to reach out anyway. And thanks, Jolie, for asking this question.

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