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Posts tagged ‘Relationships’

Random Thoughts – my social fear

My big social fear is ridicule.

As much as I delight in sharing my opinion, I am pretty well ruled by that fear.

Looking foolish, stupid, incorrect.

It keeps me in check a lot of the time.

To reveal the workings of my mind and heart is to make myself vulnerable to ridicule.

Better to keep silent than to expose my tender shoots to the harsh elements of public scrutiny.

Blogging has made me face this fear in a big and very public way.

I still fear being called out, laughed at, or trampled on in some way.

I still super fear scorn, the poison on the tip of ridicule’s blade.

I still don’t let some of the me’s in me come out too much.

Or ever.

But I’m working on that.


Do you have a social fear?


Random Thoughts: Really, lady?

Customer: Do you have any rock salt?

Me: No, I’m sorry; the only thing I have is…

Customer: Just show me what you’ve got!

~ I walk the customer to our product. ~

Me: This is the only thing I have. It works really well, and you don’t have to use very…

Customer: No, I’ve got that!! What I’m looking for is rock salt!


Is it just me?

Am I the crazy one?


How Does Facebook Help Your Friendships?

Today I have a guest post by Cherie Burbach!

Cherie is a friendship expert at, and my guest on the podcast this week, which you can listen to  here! We had a great chat about friendship, and I really enjoyed it!

Today Cherie offers some observations and advice about how we use Facebook with our friends.


When Michelle interviewed me about friendship, we naturally got to talking about social media. Specifically, Facebook. Seems like everyone we know is on the site, even people we never thought would join, like our parents, grandparents, and technically-challenged friends. Recently I came across a figure that made the reality real: 71% of online adults use Facebook.

No wonder it’s become such a force in communicating with friends.

After my interview with Michelle, I did an informal survey of some of my own Facebook friends to see how they used the site and if it’s helped or hurt their friendships. The responses I got were:

  • It helps to stay in touch with long-distance friends.
  • It helps look up old friends easily.
  • It can get a little overwhelming sometimes.

Another response: it hasn’t changed things one way or the other. I think the response was largely based on how people used the site. Recently I talked about how studies had shown that Facebook made you happier or sadder depending on how you used it. For my own use, I think Facebook has been very helpful in certain situations, but since I use it for work it can also become a little too much at times as well.

One thing is clear: Facebook shouldn’t be the only method you use to communicate with friends. Call them up, text, and make time to see them in person. That’s the only way to truly keep your friendships going and make the people in your life feel important. Facebook can supplement the things you do, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you do to connect with friends.


Get out and meet up in person! (photo by Whiskeygonebad)

author photo.

Cherie Burbach is a freelance writer specializing in lifestyle and relationships. She’s written for, NBC/Universal, Happen Magazine, Philips Lifeline, and more. Visit her website,


Random Thoughts: on mother and child

I spent the weekend with my parents, and it occurred to me that no matter how old I get I’ll always be the kid.

And my mom will always be my mom…

Me: “Hey Momma, is Louis’ bed still in here?”

Me: “Hey Momma, where’s my soda? “

Me: “Hey Momma, is this my plate in the oven?”

On Friday night, my mom cooked the dinner, and then cleaned everything up by herself, before I was even done eating. But when I put my plate in the dishwasher…

Mom: “Thanks for doing that.”

No, thank you Mommy!


Here are some pictures:

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Is Cyber Friendship Real?

When I was writing about her  for the MQM post, I kept going down all these rabbit trails of questions and thoughts. So, I finally tore it all apart and just posted the simple version. But I didn’t want to scrap the rest, so I’m posting it here.

Her  filled me with questions and observations. But what resonated most for me is a question Samantha asked, “How do you share your life with somebody?

In a non-science-fiction world, Theodore and Samantha’s relationship resembles a long-distance couple who have no hope of ever meeting in person. But is that really sharing your life with another person? Or is it just sharing the abbreviated notes and emotions of two lives lived separately?

What does real intimacy look like?

Theodore and Samantha’s relationship is entirely emotional, with no physical intimacy. Samantha was very real to me, but I found myself picturing Scarlett Johansson when Samantha spoke. I craved to see the expressions on her face, even though I could imagine them all well enough from the emotions I heard in her voice. Director Spike Jonze created an intimate connection between Theodore and the audience through the use of facial close-ups and torso shots, but we had none of that with Samantha. Close your eyes and think of someone you love. What do you see? In the end, I felt a loss over never seeing Samantha’s face or being able to look in her eyes.

Can you maintain a relationship with someone who will never be physically present? Is that a real relationship at all? For me, this is not about a physically functioning body, but about being there. Being present, showing up. Being able to look in each others eyes, whether you’re laughing or arguing. Not being able to check out with the click of an off button.

In the relationship of Theodore’s friend Amy and her husband, we witness physical intimacy without a great deal of emotional support. Almost from the moment you meet them, you get the sense of this separateness. They live together and have the benefit of a physical intimacy that Theodore and Samantha can never have. They get to look in one another’s eyes when they laugh or fight or cry. And yet they don’t click with each other’s personal passions, either finding fault or simply not “getting it”.

But is being present, being physically accessible, in the same city, house, room, more important than being fully present emotionally, listening to one another, communicating well with one another? Is being there in a physical sense enough to maintain a relationship if the emotional component is lacking?

Is intimacy about communication or cohabitation? Does sharing your life with someone mean being fully present emotionally or physically? 

When Theodore’s ex-wife finds out that he’s dating an OS, she exclaims: “You always wanted to have a wife without the challenges of actually dealing with anything real.” And as much as Theodore considers Samantha real, as much as he loves her, this statement throws him into a tailspin. He wonders to his friend if he’s even capable of a “real relationship”, to which she asks, ‘is your relationship with Samantha not real?’

What constitutes a real relationship?

Before he starts seeing Samantha, Theodore meets a girl who basically says she wants to date him. But he can’t or won’t commit to even the prospect of future dates. I can understand how having that physical person in front of him, and thinking about adding a person to his life, might be daunting for Theodore. This is someone who’s going to make demands on your time, someone you’re going to have to accommodate. You’ll have to incorporate their friends and family and routines into your life. It’s a whole big deal. It’s serious business to bring a person into your life.

But there’s an additional piece to that for people who are less social. When Theodore is first setting up his new OS, the computer asks him if he’s social or antisocial, and Theodore doesn’t quite know how to answer that. I’m like that. I’m social in that I need people, and I genuinely enjoy people. I’m antisocial in the sense that I don’t want all the trouble that comes with incorporating more people into my life in a physical way. That idea fills me with anxiety. So there’s an attractive aspect to a non-entity relationship. Cyber relationships, long distance relationships, voice relationships…those are appealing in their way.

But is there something wrong with preferring to add non-present relationships, as opposed to inviting new people into your physical life? Is Theodore – am I – emotionally stunted in some way? That’s what Theodore was asking himself, and doubting about his relationship with Samantha, when his wife reacted the way she did. She was saying that something was wrong with Theodore since all he could handle was non-physically-present relationships. It made him wonder, “what’s wrong with me that I can’t handle a relationship in real life? Am I not giving all of myself?”

Like Theodore, what her  made me wonder is if those non-present relationships are real relationships at all. I have many great cyber relationships, whether from blogging, Facebook or Twitter. My job requires me to speak by phone with dozens of people every week, and many of those people feel like friends, even though our relationship only consists of these phone conversations. Are these relationships less valid because they don’t happen face to face, or in some cases even in real time? The truth is that those relationships are easier to maintain because of their limitations. They don’t have any of the extra “physically showing up” requirements of an in-person relationship. In a cyber friendship, you can take days to answer someone; it’s not even rude. After all, the other person knows you’re just busy leading your real life.

It takes less effort to maintain cyber relationships, but does that equate to less intimacy? 

I guess what I’m really asking is am I truly friends with all the people I think I’m friends with? Are you and I real friends? Even though we may never meet in person, I may never hear your voice or even see what some of you look like? Is this real life too?

To answer my own questions, I say yes and yes. Yes, these friendships are real, and yes they lack the intimacy of an in-person relationship.

But that’s okay too, right?


Movie Quote Monday – her

Her is a love story.

It’s about a lonely man, Theodore, who falls in love with his computer operating system, Samantha. Just to be clear, he isn’t simply infatuated with the voice of his smartphone. Samantha is not just an OS, she’s a learning, evolving artificial intelligence, a consciousness. She is her own person, she just isn’t human.

Samantha comes into Theodore’s life a year into his separation, when he knows he needs to sign the divorce papers, but still isn’t ready to let go. She breaths new life into Theodore just by the nature of her own newness. She tells him, “I want to learn everything about everything, I want to discover myself,” and he’s swept up in her enthusiasm and in experiencing the world through her fresh eyes. She’s excited about living, and he’s excited to be with someone who is excited about living.

That feeling of renewal we get when we embark on a new relationship is only one of the topics in this movie that I could explore. I love a movie with many layers, that makes me think, especially about my own life and how I’m living it. Can we discover new things about ourselves well into adulthood? Do we need a body to be considered a “real” person and have relationships with others? Are our emotions real? Can we learn from the mistakes of past relationships and move forward? Can a relationship survive when one person is going places the other can’t follow? The advertising for these artificially intelligent operating systems asks: “Who are you? What can you be? Where are you going? What are the possiblities?” These are all threads that weave themselves through the film.

Her asks lots of questions, but in the end it’s a love story.

Love can open us up and expand our souls and take us places we never even dreamed existed. And it can chew us up and crunch our bones in its teeth. You can say we do these things to each other, and that’s true. But without love, the pain and joy we feel wouldn’t reach such depths and heights in the first place.

All relationships are complicated. All relationships have their difficulties. Some will thrive and prosper, and some will shrivel and die. This movie is the study of one relationship. Will it work or not? It’s a movie about how wonderful and scary and frustrating and complicated and exhilarating love can be. Falling in love, the possibilities of love.

So, my favorite line:

Theodore: “Will you come with me?”

He asks this of his friend Amy, and she doesn’t ask where, or why, or do I need a jacket. She just nods her head and follows him out the door.

That’s the only thing we absolutely know we can control, is our willingness to open ourselves up to the possibilities of love or friendship. To be vulnerable enough, daring enough, hopeful enough to ask that question. Will you come with me?

And when someone asks us, to be vulnerable enough, daring enough, hopeful enough to go.