Every now and then I’ve had people –friends and acquaintances – tell me in person that they like my blogs. “I’ve read them all”, they say, which always comes as nice yet surprising information. Sometimes I wonder if they are simply being polite. Sometimes I believe it’s genuine. But every time I wonder why they are only telling me this. Yes, I appreciate it and having people compliment my writing is something I will never tire of (hello, instant pick-me-up, you feel better than cookie dough ice cream tastes. And that shit tastes amazing). However, what I really want, what I long for, what makes me heart-eyes-emoji is the digital equivalent of that compliment. I want the online recognition that someone has read and enjoyed my words.
To steal a line from Josh Thomas, I want you to Please Like Me. Nothing makes your support official like putting your name to it on social media. As sarcastic as that sounds, I couldn’t be more serious. Today we use social media to show support of someone’s works, achievements or even just their outfit of the day. It may seem a little impersonal – simply hitting a button rather than saying, or even writing, the words – but there’s no denying that’s the way things are. We are chasing that thumbs up, a double tap, the tick on the ‘follow me’ box. Save your words, give me your likes. After all, that’s what helps things grow.
I used to sigh when Facebook friends invited me to like their page. ‘Oh, you’re trying to set up your own at-home business and want me to like your page, hey? We haven’t spoken since high school, we were hardly friends, but you want to use me to gain popularity points? I don’t even know what your stupid page is about. Why would I like it? LEAVE ME ALONE!’
I’m not kidding – those thoughts actually used to cross my mind. I want go back in time and roundhouse kick myself in the face for having such shitty thoughts. Why would I like a peer’s Facebook business page? Why not?! I may not keep in contact with this person, but they are venturing out on their own, trying to make something out of nothing and I respect that. I understand how hard it is to do something on your own. It takes time to build a client base, to crack the industry. So, of course, I will support your endeavours with something as simple as the click of my mouse. Spread the love. Spread the likes. Everyone could use a little more.
Meeting a friend’s new boyfriend is always an interesting experience. You want him to live up to expectations, be handsome, smart, funny, a real gentleman. You want someone who recognises how fabulous she is and wants to make her happy. But what if he’s an absolute tosser, treats her terribly and constantly has her calling you to vent about his latest act of ignorance?
Telling your friend you don’t like her man can be tricky. You don’t want to come down too hard on the guy, in case she ends up marrying him. No one wants the bridesmaid giving the groom death stares during a wedding ceremony. You also don’t want to tell her she’s being stupid staying with him, as insulting her intelligence isn’t what she needs to hear from you.
The best thing you can do is be there for support, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to bitch to. Of course, there is only so much of this one can handle before wanting to pull the shitty boyfriend in question aside and tell him to step up or f*ck off. As grand an idea this is to fantasise about, the truth is the only relationship you’re likely to end is your own friendship. Avoid confronting him like you avoid the creepy old guy who hangs out at your local bar on his own every night.
One important thing to do is ask her what it is she likes about him. Sometimes just because the attraction isn’t clear to an outsider, doesn’t mean it’s not there. This is especially important if you haven’t spent much quality time with the man in question and are basing your judgements on what your friend has told you. Some people only talk about the negative aspects of their relationship because they are the things concerning them. There is no need to vent to your girlfriends if everything is smooth sailing, is there? This might be the case with your friend – you are only hearing the negative stories and making your decision based on a misconception. Asking what she likes about him will help you better understand the relationship through her eyes.
If she really does love this man and is happy with him, then it’s best to gently let her know once or twice that you don’t always appreciate the way he treats her but, for the most part, hold your tongue and try to be happy that she’s happy. If, on the other hand, she isn’t happy, you need to be there to offer soothing words of advice, remind her how awesome she is and encourage her to have faith in herself and believe that she deserves so much better. Often the hardest part of leaving a relationship is wondering whether you will find someone better. Hopefully, if you keep assuring her, she will start to believe you.