THE IMPORTANCE OF "NON-INTERNET" FRIENDS (AND THE LIKE)
I think it's fair to say that the majority of us live our lives via social media. Not a single drop of caffeine can be enjoyed without it being documented, filtered, touched up and shared with a series of complimentary hashtags that will hopefully get you, well, noticed. Followers and engagement equal instant gratification and perceived success, something we now crave in droves given the fiercely competitive nature of our online personas.
And we say we don’t care, but we do. Even if you’re not a blogger or an influencer, you can’t deny that you get a little kick out of seeing that love heart count tick over your expected average or having an unknown Instagram stalker decide vocally that you are #goals. Even back in the day, before Instagram had reached such stratospheric heights of popularity, planning, photographing and editing a selfie so it was ready to post at the prime time on Facebook was all part of the teenage game.
Well, fast forward into this decade and I can declare that I'm pretty much addicted to social media. It's somewhat justified by the fact that I can screech "but it's my job" after every eye-roll, but it's an addiction all the same. It's something that can be managed by a few factors but most importantly, non-internet people. Non-internet people? Who are these hermits, I hear you scream?!
Non-internet people are those in your lives that don’t have a clue what the latest ‘blogger drama’ is or what the f*ck the Instagram algorithm has to do with anyone having a good day. They're the people that say ‘oh hereeee we go, another picture of you prancing around Notting Hill, is it?’ as soon as a notification pings up on their phone, or the people you can spontaneously meet up with for a coffee without worrying about having to make it an Insta-worthy cafe.
My friends - although super enthralled by the fact that they get to tag along to fun events and often get free stuff - continuously mock me for my 'selfie face' or for the fact that I often write cringe-worthy captions on Insta. And my boyfriend Joe quite obviously hates quite a lot of my 'jcjlifestyle' clothes. And no, bless him, he doesn’t outright say he hates them (unless probed) because he’s an impossibly nice person, but every time I voice the fact that I've bought yet another yellow item of clothing because it fits with my Instagram theme, his darling face just says it all. One big eye-roll.
Continuing with the trend of my nearest and dearest questioning my sartorial decisions, the last time I asked my Mum to shoot - which might be the last time I ever dare do so - she decided to let me know that she thought I looked like a "gypsy" in the dress I was rocking and that she didn't want the neighbours to see me dressed like that. Which did wonders for my self confidence but FYI, that “gypsy dress” went down a storm on my Instagram account a week later so HA!
I’m not sharing this to name and shame my favourite people (although they should be ashamed because my taste in clothes is - almost always - fabulous), but rather to confess the importance of having non-internet people in your life. Of having people that can mock you and help you escape in the same breath, who can say well done for doing well but also instantly bring the conversation back to what really matters - what we're going to be having for dinner that evening.
It’s important. Not least because it stops us from getting a big head, but also because it reminds us on a deeply personal level that there is more to life than the pixels that we squash together online. You can’t hold a like in your hand and it’s refreshing to have somebody remind you of that, outside of your digital bubble. I’m not discrediting the “online” as a very real, lucrative and, to some extent, an accessible career path, nor discrediting the friendships that we form online, but what I am saying is that when it goes to shit or even when it goes well, the world keeps on turning outside of your data limit.
Basically, it's not the be and end all.