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Dear Internet: Please stop trying to date me.

16 May

If this had happened once, I wouldn’t say anything. Not twice, even. I know this because it has happened way more than once or twice. This is important, though. Please listen up.

Guys and gals of Twitter and whatever else: I’m not going to be your girlfriend.

Is my relationship status necessarily public information? No. Does that (or anything) mean I’m secretly looking for you, someone I interact with occasionally on Twitter, to step in and be the one to experience my Icy Feet of Doom? No.

No one person should feel like this is directed at him/her. We reached a critical mass of this type of attention this week and something had to be said. Now let’s just carry on like normal.

I love you guys. I really do. The chances of it ever being “let’s hop on a plane and lay entwined together on a private beach in the Caribbean” love? Very slim. It’s not worth your hopes.

De Amicitia

29 Aug

Earlier this afternoon, I went to the White Coat Investiture Ceremony for new med students to support my best friend, Meredith. Meredith and I see each other only rarely, despite the fact that we’ve spent the better part of the past eighteen months living in the same city again, never more than a bus ride apart. It doesn’t matter, though; the friendship we forged in seventh grade formed originally because we were thrown together, then strengthened because of how we are similar and different. Seeing Meredith is always like seeing someone I just left yesterday, even if it’s been two years.

As we arrive at the twelfth anniversary of our friendship—from this point on, we will have known one another longer than we haven’t—I think about all the things we’ve been through together and separately that make it so she introduces me to her extended family as “my best friend in the whole world.” Was there a ceremony I failed to notice was happening? Was one trial—one bad boyfriend, one mean-spirited teacher, one unsympathetic parent—the one that made us the friends we are today, or is there something in each of us bound to find accord in the other, and those parts only wanted opportunity?

Struck by self-doubt as I often am, I puzzle over the wherefores of my friendships, particularly with people I esteem so greatly as I do Mere. What is it really that makes us such good friends? I’ve only thought about it more since I started using Twitter a lot; not only do I feel real connections to many of the people I interact with daily, but some of my Twitter pals and I seemed to form almost instant, very strong rapports on the basis of a few 140-character missives. Jason, Kylee, and I have our made-up pseudo-sibling bond, for instance. Yes, it starts with “made-up,” but I can’t think of two stronger advocates for me. Kylee does it in her sneaky way, using a few discreet tweets, DMs, and emails. Jason’s the loudmouth who blogs about everyone who makes him happy (and sometimes makes them cry in the process). They both have my back. I have theirs. There’s trust in our silly relationship that is not invention, no matter how the relationship is labeled or how quickly it came into being. (And it did come into being quickly. #TWSS)

Dev’s the latest addition to my list of people to whom I felt freakily close in a short period of time. Dev found me through Kylee (see? Kylee, sneakily at it again), and within a few days of verbally abusing me on Twitter, offered me a gig being ridiculous. Then we started talking, and discovered that we’re similar beyond an apparent severe disconnect from the rational world and that we felt an almost instinctive trust for one another. What misadventure have Dev and I shared? When have I given him a hug when the world was collapsing around him?

As for my #HeLP, Ruth, I feel as though I’ve been able to be there for her at least a little bit this summer, even if the difference I personally made was small. I decided within a day of following Ruth that I wanted to be friends with her, and I told her so. The conversations we have privately crack me up, make me cry, make me feel like I really am tough enough to deal with the bad days . . . everything you’d expect from talking to someone you trust very much. If Ruth wants the shirt off my back, she’s got it. (And, because it is tradition that we try to break the internet, if she wants to make me fish that shirt out of a pool of Jell-o, she’s got that, too.)

These are not the only people on Twitter I trust, nor the only ones I’ve come to trust quickly, but they are the people who zero-to-sixty-ed me in that, in a matter of a day or three, I went from having no idea who they were to finding they matter a lot. (Kylee gets my television and blu-ray. Ruth and Jason can fight over my books, except the poetry and Stoppard, which go to Dev.) They may not each feel the exact same way about me, but that’s all right. That’s not the point, necessarily. The point is, I have confidence in not being betrayed by them, and it’s not on the basis of a close friendship built and sustained over the course of twelve years. And it feels like it counts.

I think that the friendships I’ve formed on Twitter—these and others—will benefit from continued contact, from reinforcement of the relationships, just as my friendship with Meredith has over time. I don’t think, though, that they are weak or insubstantial, that they won’t withstand bumps and bruises. However virtual, they feel real.

Failing at Twitter

25 Jul

I’ve been feeling pretty badly about Twitter the past few weeks.

No, I really have. I know I shouldn’t, seeing as it’s something I use for fun, but seeing as Twitter consists of an honest-to-goodness social network that goes beyond the realm of RL LAFK relationships, the genuine responsibilities that go along with friendships creep in and occasionally muddle the fun. Let’s face it: I’ve been slacking on those responsibilities. I’m behaving a little like one of those Twitter divas who is so assured of her success and popularity that she no longer needs to engage, or at least not outside a relatively small social circle.

The thing is, I’m not trying to be exclusive, and I’m definitely not trying to ignore people. My job is demanding a lot of me at the moment, and most of what makes it to Twitter is a slapdash combination of coffee fumes, derangement, and a linguistic ability that (apparently) defies all attempts to choke it out. My stream overwhelms me quickly, and when I find myself retreating to monitor my @ replies only, I usually feel like I’m being a jerk and decide I won’t even pretend that I’m paying attention. The other failing I’m fixating on in particular is that I haven’t done a proper #HighFiveFriday in ages: there are simply too many people with whom I engage, or who I admire from afar, and I can’t mention them all with a link to a picture of me looking like a dork without seriously pissing them all off with endless spam. I could keep my #HighFiveFriday participation more exclusive, and I’m sure most people wouldn’t mind, but I would. Forgetting people is one thing, and that’s just me not being good about keeping my lists accurate, but I really like being able to flag someone down after a fashion and let them know that hey, I really am listening to you. I noticed. Attention has been pa—

Oh, god, don’t let me almost do that again.

DEAR TWITTER FOLLOWERS: I DO NOT THINK OF YOU AS A SEA OF WILLY LOMANS.

Ordinarily, I insist that every decent piece of writing is persuasive, and that anything you put out there in the world worth reading must have an argument, subtle though it may be. This post is short, and it has no argument at all. It has an apology followed by a plea. The apology is for being distant and diva-like, though I’m not about to apologize for being insane as I suspect most of you find it moderately humorous. The plea is for ideas. I don’t think ideas about how to correct the above-mentioned non-presence on Twitter are going to help a lot, seeing as what I probably need most is for the Meeting to be over. I’d like ideas about #HighFiveFriday. Jason suggested I do thematic high fives and have folks guess the theme, but I need other options for when I’m feeling uncreative and dethemeified. You (possibly imaginary) people are smart: what do you think?