Filing Cabinet of Friends

I love my real-life filing cabinet. I know, exciting stuff. Admittedly I’m a bit rubbish at getting round to actually filling the cabinet – the post piles up on the pile marked ‘filing’ (there is no pile marked ‘filing’, it’s just a pile) and I’ll have an admin binge and then do nothing until the next time I can’t see my son over the unsteady mountain of paper on the kitchen table.

IF I opened my lovely filing cabinet to a little party of friends waving flags and drinking bubbly or tea, depending on the time of day, I imagine I’d clear my table more often. Until any miniature friends volunteer for that job though I’m left with just a filing cabinet.

Flag in some tea mugs with bubbly glasses behind them. The flag is black and white and says 'Lucy!! (We love you)'
Yes this is an actual flag in my house from actual friends

Right where’s this going? Ah yes…I don’t actually keep anyone locked in any part of my house, let alone the filing cabinet but I do have a very effective friend filing system in my head. I imagine I’m not unusual in having lots of different categories of friends? There are many disparate parts to all our lives that lead to different friendship groups – old friends, school friends, uni friends, work friends, local friends, bookgroup friends, cricket friends, parent friends…I once had train friends, they were fun.

And recently I’ve added a new category, not a category I thought would ever apply to me – online friends. Yes, conjuring up images of IT fanatics and disturbed middle-aged men in basements, I am unbelievably the proud safeguarder of some new friendships in this previously unchartered friend category.

I was lucky to make some online friends in the relatively early days of my blogging meanderings and under a heady mix of coding advice, linky wisdom, Twitter bafflement and general cynicism a friendship was formed. More recently I stumbled upon (that’s not supposed to be a webby pun, who knew that was actually a thing!?) #Tribalchat – a weekly Twitter chat held on a Tuesday evening 8pm – 9pm. The chat and the accompanying daily Twitter DM was set up and is powered by the lovely Katie at Mummy in a Tutu.

In both of these situations I’ve learnt a few things:

Firstly that words are powerful. In blogging we are, to some degree, conveying a part of our personalities. A very real bit of us comes out onto the paper in our voice and tone…it might not be the bit that comes out when we speak but it doesn’t make it any less valid. And, unless anyone is lying, the content of our writing is us too…little snapshots, however presented, into our lives.

That you’ve got to be trusting as well as applying a relative degree of caution whatever the friendship category – I’m not saying we should all go around being suspicious of potential good friends, I actually think the opposite…I’m much more inclined to embrace people (figuratively not physically!). But even so, no one is an entirely open book…it takes a lot of shared experiences to bond and build a fully trusting relationship and this applies whatever the category. So if 30-something blogger Rosie with twins turns out to be 52 year old Frank, no children, then certainly I would be surprised and disappointed (and possibly suggest Frank gets an impersonation medal…I believe it’s called a criminal record) but devastated? Not yet.

That friendships based on the written word are not new – I think we imagine that this is a phenomenon of an online world, and of course there’s some truth in that regarding the ease and proliferation of making and keeping friendships via Internet, whatsapp etc. But, have you read 84 Charing Cross Road?…a lifetime’s friendship built on the overseas correspondence between a bookshop and a customer.

Fountain pen writing on paper

That online friends can be real friends, whether or not you’ve met them face to face. My online friends are entertaining, they offer endless cups of wisdom, not tea, and great big accompaniments of support, not cake. Just because they’ve never seen my face, they know me as far as a lot of people can say they know me.

This has all particularly been brought into view with their enthusiastic cheerleading capabilities and unbelievably generous support for my unexpected BiBs award shortlisting. Yes, I know I’m like a dog with a bone with that (and I fear I’m going to have to be all week, I’m sorry brace yourselves) but really that’s the catalyst for writing this post. These are friends and peers who have put aside whatever personal disappointment they felt not being on the shortlist and instead put their energy into making it special for someone else. I think that’s pretty amazing and while I’m courting their crossness by rebelling against their ‘tell your friends, use the press release and get yourself out there’ advice I am no less startled by, and appreciative of, their generosity.

In fact I may have to print out and stick on my fridge the message stream that met me when I turned my phone on just a teeny tiny bit late on the morning the Britmums BiBs awards shortlist was announced. In my defence I wasn’t expecting to be on a list of any sort that day and would have looked at some point during the day, honest…anyway it went a little bit like this: LUCY! Where is she? She’s normally up by now. Maybe she’s having a lie-in… Maybe she’s seen the list and fainted… Should we call an ambulance!? I’ve got to go, but I want to wait to hear her reaction…where is she!? WAKE THE F*** UP LUCY!

So my conclusion…well blogging has brought lots of things into my life such as recipe, craft and activity ideas, inspiration for days out, new ways of looking at parenting and identity and – the most unexpected and lovely perk of all – friends. So if you’re new to blogging my advice would be to reach out a little – maybe head to a blogging event or conference, join a Twitter chat (how about Tribalchat!?), get commenting on your favourite blogs…you may find you’ll need to add a new category to your own friends filing cabinet.

And finally, the obligatory ask – if you’re still considering your options regarding the BiBs, I’m on the shortlist for Readers’ Choice and you can find my post about it here.

BritMums
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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43 thoughts on “Filing Cabinet of Friends

  1. I will echo Katie (our wise tribal chief) – we love you! I think I would actually be devastated if one of you is Frank. Love this, I didn’t expect to ever have online friends let alone through blogging, it is an amazing perk!! I want to read that book now, is it good? Ellen xx

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  2. I really like your reference to 84 Charing Cross Road. I remember when I was at school pen friends were pretty popular and it felt exciting and exotic communicating with someone you hadn’t met (usually from abroad). The purpose remains the same, the communication channel has just changed x #KCACOLS

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  3. Aww I absolutely love this and I’m feeling terribly modern that I’ve got online friends (ps I like a bit of embracing and if you’re at britmums there will be hugs!). I would shun the idea of my children meeting friends on line but hey one rule for them etc … Mumzilla you better not be bloody Frank! Also hugest congrats about awards – behind you all the way lovely xx

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    1. Thanks lovely, you are so very kind, as ever. I know how terribly modern! I NEVER thought I would have online friends! Yes hugs will be necessary…I mean I’m not averse to them, I just don’t make a habit of hugging random people! I hope not too re zilla – Frank-zilla does have a certain ring to it though doesn’t it!? Xx

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  4. I totally believe in blogging friendships. I’ve met some of the most wonderful people on the interwebz, people that I never would have had a chance to get to know if it wasn’t for blogging and writing, reading, hobbies, etc.
    I love that flag on your cabinet 🙂
    #KCACOLS

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    1. That flag definitely makes me smile!
      Ah that’s so nice to know and I think you’ve also highlighted the fact that we bond over things that we are interested in and passionate about so probably forming deeper and perhaps quicker friendships that we would if the bond was only a shared place of work for example. Thank you for commenting x

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  5. I guess this isn’t the best time to tell you my real name is Frank and I’ve been stalking you for the last year at cricket things…
    Vote for Lucy because she always wears that pretty perfume that I like 🙂

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  6. YUP. Totally did not expect to make any friends through blogging but it’s allllllll happening haha. I hope you’re not Frank!! ; ) lovely post, very well written and made me chuckle. #coolmumclub

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  7. NOW I get the Frank reference! I promise that I’m definitely not a middle aged man. Seriously, I think online friends are great, especially to mums who might not be able to get out much to see their ‘real life’ friends that often. Power to the tribe!

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  8. Lovely post, lovely. Glad we met/have never met/haven’t met yet. It’s complicated. But I do feel we know each other, despite that 😀 Looking forward to your seasonal tree decorating question in a few months’ time…
    xxx a

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    1. Yes I was going to get the ‘bonding over incessant craft questions’ in but fear that bonding might be a bit too one-way! The Hoo-ha nearly made it in too. By the way my nan used hoo-ha on the phone this morning, I still stand by its legitimacy.
      Me too…let’s make it haven’t met yet. No britmums but I have high hopes for a summer something, before I become too whale-like anyway. Xx

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      1. I’m sure that it was actually about bondaweb in the first instance… there is probably a joke in that somewhere but I’m not the one to make it 😀 I also hope for a summer something x I will come as a dolphin just for solidarity porpoises (sorry) ♡

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  9. Yes, I’ve ‘met’ some amazing people through blogging that I consider my great friends, and I chat to them most days!! Although, unfortunately I have one incident where somebody turned out not to be the person I, or the others chatting with her, thought she was… And it did really upset me for a while, but these things happen, and you live and learn!! I definitely have added the category of ‘online friends’ to my list of different groups-and a fabulous community it is to be a part of! Good luck with the BiBs-I’m really hoping I’ll meet you at the awards, but I will hide my disappointment graciously if I don’t make it!!!!!! Lovely to have you at #bigpinklink! xx

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    1. No way! You do have to be a tad careful don’t you…I imagine that would be upsetting. Like I said in my post, I’m protecting myself with a degree of caution and I wouldn’t be devasted yet but I would definitely be upset…and also really unnerved too. Yes it’s a fabby unexpected category…what a community.
      Now, if I were a betting type (which I’m not but if I were…) I’d say you won’t be needing to hide any disappointment! My husband said it would be a miracle if I make the list of finalists…he’s right!! But I’ll be at the conference anyway so maybe we’ll meet all the same…we should all have a shortlist moment. Thanks for hosting #bigpinklink x

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  10. Categorising friends is so important because all the different groups bring different things to the table. Like you I love my online friends – something I never thought I would have. We have built a fab community around our tribe leader and I am so grateful and proud to be a part of it. I love hearing about everyones triumph both blogging and life related. You go for the BiBs award, its thoroughly deserved x #bigpinklink

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  11. Lovely post. I’m quite new to the world of blogging but have quickly seen how supportive and lovely everyone is through the Tribal Chat group too. I’m proud to be a part of it and it’s just so fab to have a group of bloggers you can turn to if you need anything. Good luck in the BiBs, I’m shouting for you and hope you get through to the finals! #KCACOLS

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    1. So in the process of you helping earlier today with comment issues (thank you) I also discovered a few comments in my spam folder…this was one! Sorry! What a lovely comment, I agree…it’s a very supportive community and the Tribal Chat group is fab for advice, help and propping up. Thank you for the BiBs wishes, your support in that has been lovely xx

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  12. Yay Lucy! I love this post, it is very wise and grounded, and well written – as ever. Excellent tip at the end too, it has been pivotal in my blogging journey I feel. And at least I know what you’re all talking about with this Frank malarkey…well kind of. #tribalchat #bigpinklink xx

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    1. I think it has been in mine too…it has certainly challenged me and made me think and encouraged me to be proud of things I probably would have just let lie otherwise. Thank you for your lovely comment. Let’s hope Frank doesn’t exist x

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  13. I still feel quite new to twitter, even though I’ve been on there for a while now. I’ve not joined in any chats so far, but will make a note of the one you mentioned and see if I’m brave enough to dive in and say hi! x #KCACOLS

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    1. I felt new until I realised even new people weren’t calling themselves new anymore but I still was! Oh I do hope you dive in…you can always pop in and our or just watch from the sidelines and see if you like it. Tuesday 8pm – 9pm #tribalchat. Twitter chats can be quite fun and a nice way of connecting with people Thank you for commenting x

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  14. Congrats on the nomination. I am there in the whole I now have online friends too, never would of thought it! #kcacols

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  15. Congratulations again on the nomination!! I completely agree with you. I have now lots of new online friends and I love it!! 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. I’m so sorry for commenting so late!! I had a hectic week, but I’m now catching up 🙂 x

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