The other night I got drinks with a woman who reached out after reading my essay on CNN.com. She moved to Chicago from California about five years ago and lives with her fiancé, but said she could relate to my plight because while she has girlfriends here, they are mostly younger and in different life stages and just not the same as her BFFs from home. So we made a date.
It went really well—easy chatter, a few beers, important discussion about E! news and John Ritter (separately, of course). We talked about friendship in today’s world, both acutely aware that we were looking to see if we gelled. I thought we did. One date does not a BFF make, but still, it was encouraging.
Yesterday we became Facebook friends and on her page I noticed she too has a blog. Like any good Facebook stalker, I checked it out. The most recent post is dated March 17. The first sentence: “I haven’t really written much about this, but I am going on a Blind Friend Date tonight.” Oh my god this post is about me!!! I couldn’t believe it. This really is friend-making in the digital age. Here I am writing a post about her post about my post… or something.
I get that it’s silly to be surprised that someone else is blogging about our date when here I am doing the same thing. But still, I am surprised. Blogging is new to me, and though I know there’s a big bad blogosphere out there, I know very few other people personally who participate. When you spend your life as the observer, you forget that somewhere someone’s watching you.
Social media has completely revamped relationships. There’s a fascinating article in today’s New York Times about couples fighting over Facebook. I’ve heard plenty of stories of friends getting angry over someone else’s away message, or employees dissecting Twitter for a clue to their boss’s mood. The Times article captures the reason my husband refuses to go on Facebook or Twitter or any such site…he didn’t even have Instant Messenger in college. Too many opportunities to be misunderstood and create unnecessary drama, he said. This article proves his point. We live in a world where you can google or facebook a date (of the romantic or friend variety) in advance, and find a cyberspace recap of the outing the next day.
It’s a voyeur’s fantasy, but does it change how I should approach this search? The last time I consciously went looking for friends, a facebook was an actual book, printed on actual paper, with the names and majors of my freshman classmates. Things are a tad different now.
On her blog, my girl-date said she was nervous. Really? I never would have known. She worried that she had no idea what she’d say. Could’ve fooled me, the conversation was seamless. She wrote, “All I can do is be myself and know there is a mutual camaraderie in the fact that we are even brave enough to do this.” So true. In closing, she made a promise. “I will keep you posted on how it goes, good or bad.”
I’m waiting on the edge of my seat.