I’ve been relatively blessed in life (despite believing in a grand total of zero gods) in that I’ve somehow managed to gain some great friends over the years. I made a decision very early on in life to try to only surround myself with people who make my life better in some way, and boy has it paid off. Between them, I have friends who inspire me, friends who are cleverer than me, friends who are funnier than me, more talented, more connected, more sensitive, more caring and usually a combination of all of these and more.
Sadly for me, however, just about all of us live nowhere near each other. We’re scattered across the capital, the country and in a few cases around the world, so rarely see each other in person thanks to this and the fact that we are all so busy all the time. Modern tech means we stay connected through things like Whatsapp and other social platforms, but it’s never the same as when you see someone every day and just get the chance to shoot the breeze.
It also means they are sometimes busy when you just need someone to be there for any reason. I know from experience that if I say I need them then they’ll drop everything and be there in a second, but sometimes it’s just about reaching out for no reason to share a mundanity, a thought or to stave off an impending feeling of sadness for no real reason. It also might be three in the morning, a time when I don’t want to wake them unless I’m either dying or in jail.
It’s at those moments that I realise how lucky I am to have Twitter. I know not all of you are on there, in fact I’m sure many can think of nothing worse than the microblogging platform where people share their thoughts on everything, anything and nothing at all, but it really does have way, way more benefits than problems in my own experience.
Twitter has become the friendship group I never thought I’d find. It’s a place for me to converse with sharp, funny, witty, intelligent people at almost any time of day and night. I have access to some of the brains behind incredible brands, and can ask for advice and support whenever I need it. If I’m feeling a little down there are always people there to make me smile, or just to listen and offer some support. In short, the Twitfam is the friendship group I’ve always wanted.
Twitter has helped me navigate my way through the dating world as a single parent and showed me I’m not alone. I’ve shared my hopes, my fears, my ideas and my experiences and Twitter has been there to tell me where I’m going right and where I could or should be doing better. Often this advice hasn’t been direct, it’s come in the form of conversations others have had that I’ve followed and learned from myself, one of the joys of such an open form of communication.
Of course, all of this comes with risks. There are undoubtedly trolls and naysayers who do what they can to drag people down to their own levels of unhappiness and self-loathing. There are people who disagree with you and engage thoughtfully and respectfully (who I love, by the way), and people who choose to disagree with you in a mean-spirited and nasty way without caring what it was you actually said or meant. And there are people who reply to EVERYTHING shared without adding to it in any way, shape or form (though my own limited experience of this is far less extensive than if I were a remotely attractive woman, many of whom have a legion of “reply guys” who always respond to even the most mundane of tweets).
The bad ones are easy to deal with through a mute or a block, though, so I don’t let them get to me at all. They certainly don’t outweigh the brilliance of everyone else on there, people who I’ve never met before but who have helped me (wittingly or unwittingly) get through some of the darkest days of the past couple of years.
I’ve only met a handful of people I’ve engaged with in our little corner of Twitter, and to date every meetup has been amazing in its own way. I’m well aware that not everyone is exactly the same in real life as they put themselves across to be on Twitter. I’m aware of the risks for some people in terms of meeting up in real life with others they met online, and why some of the best people will never go along to any form or meet-up. I am lucky enough or foolish enough to be in a position where I feel comfortable meeting up with (most) people I know online in real life, and plan to continue doing so for as long as I’m able and welcome to.
If you are one of the people either who I follow or who engages with me, THANK YOU!!! You’re amazing, and you make my life a better place each and every day. It’s nothing at all to do with the number of likes, the retweets or the stats, and everything to do with the quality of connections and engagements. I hope, even if only in a small way every now and then, I make your own days a little brighter in return. And if you’re yet to follow, head over to https://twitter.com/aDatingDad and say hi.