CAN THERE BE AUTHENTICITY WITHIN BLOGGING FRIENDSHIPS?
If you do – or have ever – made a living from spending your 9-5 in the traditional workplace, you’ll know that work friendships are a little unconventional. You’ve all come from different directions and have (usually) been thrown into the pit of hell, and you get on because a) life would be so much more stressful if you didn’t, and b) you all drink from a communal cup of misery that is 3pm on a rainy weekday. Oh and who else would you drink with on a Friday?
When you're self-employed, your working environment is obviously very different. You’re either working from home or more likely, working from a coffee-shop whilst trying to get that perfect avo-on-toast flatlay and so there isn’t that predominant set up. And so, forging friendships within the same industry happens a little differently. For starters, every single one of my friendships blossomed from the blessed seed of the internet. Since we all operate within the digital world, we connect online first, trialing the friendship thing through a series of tweets or Instagram comments, trying to gage how well our personalities align and if we’d be able to talk freely about the real (often gross) things that we don’t share in our posts. Inevitably this comes to the “omg we should totally grab a coffee soon!” suggestion or accidentally on purpose bumping into each other at the same event, and BAM – you’re at second base. Real life action.
I think there’s a common misconception about the blogging industry that everything has to be sugar sweet, heartfelt and almost, to some degree, naive. In any other industry it’s entirely normal to have friends who are your friends simply because you do the same thing. In blogging, it seems that you must be genuine 100% best mates or you’re not being honest, and you’re filtering your life for the sake of a good Instagram picture. The truth is, a lot of us are mates because it’s cathartic and mutually comforting to have someone to share our experiences of the industry with, but that’s as far as it goes.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. It's pretty obvious to say that you can’t be best mates with everybody you meet. You can care about someone and enjoy their company without drawing up a strict rota for regular hang-outs and declaring how close you are in every other blog post. There are lots of women in the industry who I’ve met and admire, and when we see each other we double-kiss and occasionally we’ll have a catch up over Instagram messages, but that’s as far as it goes. That doesn’t mean the friendship is fake, it just means that we’re both normal people, building work relationships and maintaining our out-of-work friendships alongside it.
But then there's a few who have made it through and have become “real life” friendships. Those who I hold really dearly and make sure I fit into my diary regularly. We’ve bonded over our shared careers, but we’ve also shared intimate family histories, personal hang-ups and relationship woes together.
Blogging is a business. As with any business, you can’t always like the people you work with, and you certainly don’t have to. You can have surface relationships without being fake, and you can also build deeper, meaningful friendships from a shared, common ground. Blogging is often made out to be a shady, back-stabby industry (unsurprisingly so because it’s dominated by women, but hey, let’s leave those sexist misrepresentations for a later date), but it really isn’t. Be honest with yourself, avoid moany, passive aggressive chats and you’ll be surprised at how wonderful it can be, both in a personal and a business sense.