I talk to my coworkers while I’m in the office and I talk to my husband at home, but that’s pretty much the extent of my adult in-person interactions. I almost never spend time with friends, not for a lack of wanting to do so, more as a result of incompatible schedules and locations and priorities.

I don’t have many friends, really. I am shy and reserved and I find it hard to accept the inherent vulnerability that comes with friendships and I’m not good at maintaining them and I’m terrible at reaching out and sometimes I wonder there’s something fundamentally broken in me in this regard.

I fill this friend-shaped void with the internet and I don’t really know if that’s sad or sensible, if I’m a pathological dork or someone who’s just making connections where she can.

The last time I spent time with a group of like-minded friends was last summer, at BlogHer. For all the anxiety surrounding BlogHer—meeting new people! Figuring out what to pack! Finding a familiar face in an intimidating conference room!—it was deeply enjoyable to briefly shed my normal life and be a social person, someone who talks with actual out-loud words instead of clattering keystrokes. It was wonderful to step through the computer and actually be with people I’ve only known through webpages and emails.

Unless something fairly miraculous happens, I don’t think I’ll be able to go to BlogHer this year. And maybe it sounds silly or even kind of pathetic, but I am stupendously brokenhearted about it. I don’t care about parties or sessions or keynotes, I just wanted to spend time with friends.

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jonniker
11 years ago

Oh! I am TOTALLY BROKENHEARTED too, now. This is my year! The year I go! It’s on my coast!

I wish you lived closer. Because yeah, you know, this internet thing works really well for making friends. (I see someone I met through my blog every day here, and the same was true in VT.)

BAH. UNFAIR LINDA. UNFAIR. I’m sorry. I will miss you terribly.

MichelleH
MichelleH
11 years ago

I’m really sorry Linda. I know how you feel. Those stolen moments to be with like-minded friends are precious. So much of life for me right now is just going about the ‘business’ side. Keeping bills paid and the kid alive. Being a sensible and responsible adult can really suck sometimes! I’ll keep my fingers crossed that somehow at the last minute there will be a way that you are able to go.

C @ Kid Things
11 years ago

I could have written those first 3 paragraphs myself. Except I don’t even have coworkers, unless you count my kids but they’re obviously not adults.

samantha jo Campen
11 years ago

That’s exactly why I’m so excited to go. I just want to see my friends.

I’ll miss you terribly. And hey, miracles DO happen, right?

I’m so sorry. I know what it feels like to be so SO bummed about something like this. I wish we could hang out. Or sit next to each other on the couch and IM. Whichever is easier :-)

Sheryl
Sheryl
11 years ago

I work in an office alone, do not live with another adult and have few friends. Same scheduling/life problems with the friends. My hobbies tend toward the solitary: reading, gardening, some TV, and surfing the Internet. Many days the only human I speak with face-to-face is my 12 year old (and teenager-hood approaches for her, so she’ll probably stop talking to me any minute.) Your second paragraph is a dead-on description of me.

crisitunity
11 years ago

The second paragraph – this is me.

Lindsey
11 years ago

I relate to every word here.
And am stupendously brokenhearted not to have the chance to meet you in person!
xo

Amanda
Amanda
11 years ago

The only thing sad about you filling your friend hole (heh.. dirty..) with the internets is that you don’t get to go and see all of the hole fillers this year. The economy, etc = FAIL.

I think the internet, specifically blogging, has allowed people to seek out those they are like (or different from) and form real, lasting bonds in an environment that isn’t faint-inducing. It lets us reach out when otherwise we might not.

I, personally, hate strangers. HATE HATE HATE… But (and I’ve never admitted this, so don’t mock me or I’ll vomit on you – it’s true, I’m like a vulture that way) I think I only hate them because I want them to like me, and I’m socially retarded and don’t know how to make that happen without chocolate or, yaknow, like money or something… But writing and reading what others writes allows me to feel closer…

Sometimes, honestly, I don’t know if it’s sad, either. All I know is that when I read what other people write, and see that they’re reading me, I’m happy. That connected feeling makes us happy – and there’s nothing sad or broken about that.

mamabird
11 years ago

You’re not the only one who uses the internet for a social life … I am glad that you have been able to make good friends with it.

Hilary
11 years ago

But you show such vulnerability in your writing — it’s one of the things that’s so impressive about your blog. And I don’t want to try to solve your problem, because you didn’t ask for that, but I bet if you reached out a little bit (any parents of your kids’ friends? kids are always a good excuse to connect with people) you’d be surprised at the result. It takes work, though. Damn it, why isn’t anything easy?

Brenna
11 years ago

I never would have guessed this about you, and it’s a testament to your writing that I can so easily project myself onto you (except in this case, because I pretty much never shut up). I’m hoping to get to NYC but waited too late to add my name. Fingers crossed, good luck.

Katherine
11 years ago

I’m the same way. It’s been years since I’ve had a close friend. I have coworkers and my husband and not much else. I’m actually not sure I would be brave enough to go to BlogHer, since I’m not sure I would be able to be social enough.

Shawna
11 years ago

Oh no! I was REALLY hoping to meet you in New York this year!

Pete
Pete
11 years ago

You could always do what Jen McCreight did and put up a ‘Donate’ Button. I gave her $50 so she could go to TAM. Just a thought.

Pete
Pete
11 years ago

BTW, how do you submit a comment with a web link?

Carrie @ Who Knew
11 years ago

I’m sorry. This is such a bummer post. I have all the same issues with friends (being, making, keeping friends) and the internet. I feel for you. Good luck.

If it helps I love you and your wonderful blogs. I think you would be an awesome friend to have.

Alina
11 years ago

One of the most important things that’s happened in my “find like-minded people” sector is when I had a gathering of internet folks here in Chicago.

It sounds sappy, but we had a great time, and they’ve become close friends of mine.

You should have a Sundry/Seattle/Internet gathering! It’ll be fun!

Kami
11 years ago

That fucking blows. This is my first and likely my last appearance at a BlogHer. I am going to meet you. Sometime. Somewhere. You have been my inspiration for the last year to get in shape, to write, to laugh more, to focus on the little things that make being a mom so awesome and so awful. Thank you for all of that. Thank you.

Dawn
11 years ago

How weird – after your last post, I thought, “You know, Sundry never writes about her [offline] friendships.” And here you are.

Is it the economics of BlogHer that make it impossible, or the cross-country logistics and timing? Inquiring and potentially-scheming minds want to know.

Sunny
Sunny
11 years ago

If you’re ever feeling brave about meeting the local freaks who love your writing, post a time and place to meet up.

Lori
Lori
11 years ago

Too, too bad you can’t attend BlogHer, but Seattle BlogHer sounds like a great idea. We recently moved a billion miles away from all of my mommy friends. I’ve been on the web so much more here, not only b/c the television stinks in this country, but also b/c I miss my friends. I need to start doing more to make some new ones, but I hate wading through the social scene until you find like-minded souls. It’s stressful and isn’t fun. Makes me feel like 8th grade all over again. But, I do notice a difference in my mood when I have the occassional girls night or can pick up a phone to call a friend for a last-minute playdate.

Molly
Molly
11 years ago

Having just flown to Seattle from my new home in South Florida, the cross-country trip is a bee-atch…but you had such a good time last year – fly a cheap redeye, camp on someone’s floor. I just skipped my college ‘cluster’ reunion (could they have picked a worse word to describe three classes getting together to reunionate?)…and I *REALLY* wish I’d gone and spent time with some of the only real girlfriends I have. Having moved to a new state, now working from home and the only company I had was my old mutt who I had to put down this weekend (still brokenhearted), I could REALLY use a friend about now. I freakishly linger in my 2-year old’s class in the morning chatting with his teacher just for the interaction with another adult that is not my husband or his mom or sister (which is why we moved to this new state and I’m glad they are around and all but…). It is just SO HARD to make friends as an adult. Why is that? I remember moving when I was 10 and I instantly was out riding bikes with the girl across the street. When school started I immediately figured out that friendship bracelets were my way IN – and insta-group-of-friends that carried me through high school. I was hoping to live vicariously through your BlogHer trip again.

Donna
Donna
11 years ago

Dude, we are your friends. You are our friend. It feels that way anyway, and with everything we both have going on in our lives, if I lived next door we probably wouldn’t hear from each other any more often than we do now.
Plus, I know I am probably a much better person online than not, online, my kindness is not mistaken for weakness, and no one can take advantage of me. (Except for that money I’m still waiting for from Nicaragua.)
You are not alone, not for a minute…we all feel this way.

Carrie
Carrie
11 years ago

I’ve needed to hear this. Thanks.

Jen_Ann_W
11 years ago

I understand as well. When I moved to Ohio, I left behind my two best friends that I’d had since elementary school, the only ones I’ve ever really been close to. I’ve lived out here for NINE YEARS and I still don’t feel like I have any friends here. I’m pretty introverted, and I have an especially hard time relating with other women due to having the sense of humor of an 8-year-old boy, and when you’re friends with mostly men you’re labeled a slut, so… yeah. Getting back to Washington or Oregon this summer and closer to my lifelong friends is something I’m definitely looking forward to (as soon as a job lands in somebody’s lap).
Oh and ditto on a meet-up, if you ever felt brave & wanted to coordinate something in Seattle, I’d be there. Considering that JB and my husband could be long-lost brothers (he wants to know where JB got the gas-guzzler bumper sticker, BTW), I’d be there just so you & I could sit in the corner and laugh at them, if nothing else.

Lena
11 years ago

It’s funny how we can be so “connected” on the internet, and yet still feel isolated.

I’m totally on board for a Seattle BlogHer.

Lena
11 years ago

Oops, forgot to update my website.

Sean
11 years ago

I’m going to steal the paragraphs about finding it “hard to accept the inherent vulnerability that comes with friendships,” because that’s me. I had a couple of bad experiences with making friends when I was little; is that why I never seem to be able to open up, be comfortable around people the way I see others do all the time, effortlessly? Now that my roommate has moved away I’m on my own again, sitting at home alone, compulsively refreshing my Twitter and Tumblr and Gmail and Facebook and what-have-you in hopes someone has responded to one of my stupid posts.

In contrast to your situation, I get far too much adult interaction during my work day (try being a reference librarian if you lack adult contact. I dare you) and so when I come home a lot of the time I’m legitimately burned out and just need “me” time. But not EVERY night! It would be nice if I had the know-how to maintain friend relationships that would turn into weekends full of fun and frolic. But I don’t.

You do so much, Linda. You’re an inspiration to me. And you’re a great writer and really funny to boot. My goal in life: learn to be a friendless shut-in like Linda, because she seems to get out and have a lot of fun. :D

kate
11 years ago

well, i am sorry that you are unable to be at Blogher this year, because I would have liked to meet you and tell you how much I admire you and love your blog. And then stare and turn clingy and just generally creep you out. I am slighty broken at social interactions too.

willikat
11 years ago

I can’t go this year, either. Maybe next year…

I hope someday you realize how many people consider you one of their funniest, smartest friends, even if it is through the clacking of keys.

AndreAnna
11 years ago

I want to offer suggestions for ways that we could make it work that you be there, because I want for it so much – for you, for the friends who want to meet you.

But I know that’s not what you need.

I’m totally bummed for you. And for me. Truly.

willikat
11 years ago

I hit send too soon.

What I wanted to say was that you’ve developed a lot of friends, because you put so much of your life out there on the internets. Those clacking keys have made you considerably popular!

Colleen
11 years ago

So this totally bums me out. Not that you know me but I was hoping you’d be there. You’ve inspired me recently with your FIX post. I’ve got a lot mulling in my head with my own eating issues and I’m trying to be brave enough to write what I need to write. ANYWAYS – I wanted to say hi in NYC and am bummed I won’t be able to.

Christy
Christy
11 years ago

I fill my friendship void with the internet, too. I don’t have coworkers, just three small children. I’m slightly introverted, so I tend to crave alone time. I talk to one or two friends on the phone, the others via email. I just don’t feel like there are enough minutes in the day to maintain friendships in person. I vote for the low-maintenance Seattle BlogHer.

Rachel
11 years ago

Oh my gosh. Seriously, the first three paragraphs (substituting “classmates in my night classes” for “coworkers at work”) are SO ME. Once again, you have made me (and apparently the rest of the Internet) feel less alone. Thank you.

I am sorry you can’t go to BlogHer. The “tip jar” idea isn’t a bad one…

Angella
11 years ago

NOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Dude. You are one of my go-to people at BlogHer. The one who rides insane roller coasters with me and laughs at me “Code Brown! Code Brown!” joke ad who I share Bruce with (Heh) and, just, BOO.

I get the rest of this post, too, but I’m just being selfish. I miss you and need you there. Sigh.

But I get how even more heartbroken you must be, so I’ll stop making you feel worse.

I guess it’s time to plan that cookie-thingamabob in Vancouver?

Sigh.

Kim
Kim
11 years ago

Strangely enough, having children has made me an extrovert. I’ve become comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my life and I attribute it to hitting my 30s and also to having children. I can see the bigger picture now and I just don’t have the energy to worry about people and what they may think of me. This new attitude has completely changed my social life and I have friends coming out of my ears. My point? No clue. But I would be your IRL in a heartbeat.

Maria
11 years ago

One of the highlight of my trip last year was meeting you, even super briefly!

You’ll have to visit Florida some day with your boys. I’d hang. I can’t promise my kids wouldn’t be tremendous assholes though.

agirlandaboy
11 years ago

I really hope something happens to change this. Even now that I’ve met you several times, you’re still one of my ultimate blog crushes, and part of the thrill of being around you in person has been seeing that you’re exactly who you are here but out loud and in three dimensions. Hearing you mutter something under your breath about a “sack of dicks” was the highlight of BlogHer for me last year, and if you can’t make it this time I will be a very sad girl indeed. You’ll find me wandering the halls begging for someone to talk dirty to me; it won’t be pretty.

Shannon C.
Shannon C.
11 years ago

Hello, my name is Shannon and I am an introvert. AND SO ARE YOU. There is nothing the least bit wrong with you, either.

I want to share a very recent life-changing book for me. I am in counseling (well, couples counseling, truth be told) and during a session a few weeks ago, I was suddenly in tears, describing how damn TIRED I seemed for no apparent reason all the time and how I just wanted a full week alone, dammit, no husband (no offense, husband, but please go away for a little while). My counselor handed me the book “The Introvert Advantage: How To Thrive In An Extrovert World” by Marti Olsen Laney, assured me that I was not a horrible or weird person, and told me to read it.

I devoured this book in one night. It changed my damn life. There were so many personality quirks explained that are simply inherent to introverts–ones that I thought only *I* experienced–that I sometimes had to put the book down and catch my breath. I am not alone! There are thousands of us out there: we who need a full two days of recharge after socializing, who dread returning phone calls, who often can’t remember simple words when having a discussion, who freeze up when meeting people, who hide in the corner at parties, who HATE small talk, who often feel like we’re not being heard at work meetings, who hate networking, who love small gatherings instead of blow-outs.

This book isn’t a book about how to be more extroverted, nor is it a book teaching you how to use your introverted personality as a crutch. It’s just a book that says, “Hey, you’re totally normal, you’re just an introvert.” Please please read it. Then have JB read it. You’ll be a much happier person for it. :)

Kristin
11 years ago

Oh mann. I’m kind of broken hearted to hear this.

Now there’s no excuse to NOT hook up that Seattle/Van road trip we’ve been flaking on for years now. Let’s do it.

Mrs.  Flinger
11 years ago

I reach out almost to a flaw always asking and constantly getting turned down and pathetically broken-hearted because of it.

As someone who would be a friend locally, I’m always willing to go walk, playdate, brunch.

But BlogHer will surely miss you. Sob.

Jennifer
Jennifer
11 years ago

When you and Kristin hook up that Seattle/Van road trip, make a stop off in Bellingham, hey?

Liz
Liz
11 years ago

Well, I would love to meet other readers in the Seattle-area. I’d go to SundryCon.

Allison
11 years ago

But… but I was looking forward to a real life Sundry vs Do0ce smackdown! Which you’d totally win, by the way.

Just kidding. Aww I’m disappointed for you though, I usually look forward to everyone’s photos and posts from BlogHer, especially yours! That really sucks. I hope by some miracle you do get to attend.

becky
11 years ago

I won’t get to go this year, either. Really bummed about it for the same reasons you are. Argh.

Kate
11 years ago

I’m in the middle between you & Kristin and would love a meet up! I vote for SundryCon!

Ness at Drovers Run
11 years ago

OY up there, who says that online connections are less important than IRL (in real life) ones? We are *more* honest with our online friends, and often times a lot kinder and more thoughtful to our online friends, because for the most part, we keep less from each other.

We don’t have to worry that *so and so* is eyeballing our husband, or that *so and so* just got new boobs/nose/ass etc.

We love each other honestly, and without malice, the way we’re supposed to.

Here’s to more online friendships!

Heather
11 years ago

I vote tip jar (if it is a monetary reason you can’t go). I visit your site every day and I get endless hours of enjoyment from your writing. Is that worth a couple bucks? You betcha. It would be worth it just to see what you had to say about the experience.

JM
JM
11 years ago

I have commented before but I’m feeling a little raw right now and don’t really want to list my name or website. The first two paragraphs are me, to a T. Except these days, without the husband part. And I, too, wonder if there’s something fundamentally broken in me with regard to maintaining close relationships. I’m about to start counselling or therapy or whatever you want to call it (see above, e.g., husband issue or rather, lack thereof), so hopefully that will help with that aspect of things, but I am another one of those with a wide circle of casual friends and very, very few (if any?) truly close friends.

Anyway, I get you on this. If you ever want to host a gathering of complete introverts, I would love to come to Seattle — maybe we can all sit around and drink wine and type.