Confession, I use to feel socially awkward about saying hi to someone I followed on social media and was only moderately connected to in, "the real world".
Social media has made it very easy for us to see into the intimate lives of our acquaintance's, from a distance. Peering in through the images people choose to share and sometimes leaving the scene without a trace or "Like".
When I would see these individuals, I knew they had just been married or remodelled their kitchen but I was afraid to say hi and ask for more details. Why was I so afraid? They were the ones putting that content out there, and they had accepted my friend request. They knew, I knew, what was going on in their lives. I felt as if there was a barrier that needed to be broken.
I love social media and the potential it provides me to meet cool people, that I would not otherwise have the opportunity to meet. I love commenting on people's photos and I love it when people comment on my stuff. I not only love to share my story with others, I want to know your story too. People are cool!
I decided a few months ago, I was going to overcome my fear of crossing the social media barriers from online to real time, so I started sending personal emails to a few people.
When I was pregnant with Luke, I connected with another pregnant mom on Instagram through a hashtag. We were at the same stage in our pregnancy and begun following each other, as we shared many similarities in preparing to be mothers and interests in general. After giving birth to our boys, one day a part, I decided I needed to know more about this girl so I invited her to email with me. Turns out, we have crazy amounts of things in common and now I have a wicked cool pen pal in California.
I also decided to email a girl I kinda knew and had mutual friends with but had never officially met. We both tweeted and blogged and interacted online. From what I knew, Tara Jeffrey was a pretty cool chick, that I wanted to know more about. So I emailed and invited her for a visit. Since then, we have been in touch and had the opportunity to help each other out with a few things. She is a super cool mom, freelance writer and farm girl in training and I am so glad we have had the opportunity to connect real time.
It's scary to put myself out there sometimes, but in my experience it's totally worth it. I want to get to know people for real, not just the version I see on their Instagram feed with perfectly filtered photos, the real people, because that's way better!
If you have felt the same social anxiety that I have felt, I invite you to step out of your comfort zone and say hi to that person that you kinda know from Facebook, they could be your next, real friend.