"How Not To Be Alone"
June 9, 2013 10:09 AM   Subscribe

"How Not To Be Alone" Author Jonathan Safran Foer touches on loneliness and empathy in an era of "iDistractions" during his commencement address at Middlebury College. (SLNYT)
posted by raihan_ (40 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Leon Wieseltier covered some of this same ground in his own commencement address at Brandeis this year. I prefer his version. It avoids the narcissistic self-involvement that seems to tug at everything Safran Foer does in favor of a real engagement with the health of our culture.
posted by R. Schlock at 10:29 AM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Wow, I could not disagree more with Mr. Foer. As a New Yorker, there are 8.2 million of us here. Sometimes we have no choice but to cry in public. The compassionate thing for a stranger to do is to give the person privacy and not listen to their phone conversation. That's the bargain we make for living here.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:42 AM on June 9, 2013 [9 favorites]

It is sad that many of my friends say I'm weird for leaving voicemail and/or calling them on the phone instead of texting. That I'm labelled "stalkerish" for preferring an actual voice over the typed letter.

posted by Fizz at 10:57 AM on June 9, 2013 [9 favorites]

Yeah, I've cried in public in New York, and I was deeply grateful to the people who quietly gave me my space. Foer comes off like he's more interested in seeming empathetic than actually being kind to someone, or in patting himself on the back for wrestling with hard moral decisions.

Also, I'm probably what people would awkwardly call a "digital native," but I have real trouble believing we were far more empathetic (in the physical world, at least) before electronics. I was born only a few decades after people were given carte blanche to think of virtually everyone female and/or non-white as less than human. You can talk about broad trends in technology shaping human interaction, but were we really more attentive to others reading a book on the subway instead of an iPhone?
posted by Tubalcain at 10:58 AM on June 9, 2013 [4 favorites]

But then a funny thing happened: we began to prefer the diminished substitutes. It’s easier to make a phone call than to schlep to see someone in person. Leaving a message on someone’s machine is easier than having a phone conversation — you can say what you need to say without a response; hard news is easier to leave; it’s easier to check in without becoming entangled. So we began calling when we knew no one would pick up.

This suddenly became a regular feature in my life and a couple other people I knew right at the end of the 1990s, a strange sociological phase change. Several people I knew complained about it, that people had got into the habit of calling one at home when they knew one would be at work. I got rid of my answering machine then, as did some others. It's as if the penetration of email into the life of the average person had caused them to discover the ease of offline communication and now they preferred a lack of immediacy. A curiously perverse effect for an advance in instantaneous communication to have.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:14 AM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I, too, bailed on the notion that upset people want to be randomly bothered.

I dunno, I suppose I can fill up my time a little to much fycking around with the Internet on my phone - which you can probably can guess I do a lot. On the other hand Twitter and the like means I'm always in touch with Freinds even the ones I've moved thousands of miles away from.
posted by Artw at 11:16 AM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

And hey! You can have kids without dropping out entirely from your social life! That's good, right?
posted by Artw at 11:18 AM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Only those with no imagination, and no grounding in reality, would deny the possibility that they will live forever. It’s possible that many reading these words will never die.
When I got to this part he lost me completely. Is he trying to say something else?
posted by Evernix at 11:18 AM on June 9, 2013 [4 favorites]

I read the Wieseltier one the other day, and I thought it was a typical and not very interesting exhortation for "the humanities". The only thing it lacked was the ritual C.P. Snow quote.

I'm coming to the conclusion that "wear sunscreen" was the high water mark of the whole commencement genre. That speech gets bonus points for having not actually happened, so that may be unfair.
posted by thelonius at 11:30 AM on June 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

As someone who has lived through the 50's, 60's, 70's etc, I can unequivocally say that there were many many more face-to-face conversations in the old days. And it's not only old people like me who wonder about the future when they see youngsters whose smartphones seem like extensions of their nervous systems. This is a perennial conversation, but one worth having, still. Many of us are deeply ambivalent about tech/communication/empathy issues, but no one thinks the problem will go away by complaining about it.
posted by kozad at 11:31 AM on June 9, 2013 [4 favorites]

I was born in 1980, and vastly prefer e-mail and text to conversation. To me, communication is much better when I can think through what I want to write, rather than having to talk to someone in the moment. I don't think there's anything wrong with it, and it seems to be the way most young people are living.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:34 AM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

I was faced with a choice: I could interject myself into her life, or I could respect the boundaries between us.

From the word choice there he apparently knows the correct answer. Why on earth does he think that a stranger crying on the phone is his interlocutor to approach? Does he imagine that he'll pick up where the comforting mother left off? Step in as a calming authority figure after the angry mother's castigation? Does he picture an aw shucks hands-in-pockets "you okay there?" scenario, a hand on a knee, that casual "empathy" which actually insists that the distressed person resolve the exchange to the interjector's satisfaction, what?

My reaction may be colored by the picture of smug eyebrows guy right next to that paragraph.
posted by postcommunism at 11:39 AM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Reminds me of the Louis CK bit where he ever actually gives the traveling soldier his first class airplane seat, but he feels so good that he thought of it! "What a great guy I am!"
posted by fungible at 12:17 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

communication is much better when I can think through what I want to write, rather than having to talk to someone in the moment.

The thing is, though, that being able to hold a conversation in real-time, with all the quick thinking and tact that is involved, is an essential social skill that requires constant practice to maintain.
posted by steamynachos at 12:20 PM on June 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

A friend of mine's outgoing voice message is "Hi, you've reached my voicemail. Please hang up and text me."

This is hilarious or depressing, depending on what kind of day I've had.
posted by tzikeh at 12:25 PM on June 9, 2013 [9 favorites]

Interesting that he thinks there's any point of his interjecting - he a 30-odd year old guy - into some 15 year old girl's private little really sad crappy moment. What fantasy world does that ever work out in?
posted by From Bklyn at 12:25 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think Safran Foer's main point is that tech has removed many possibilities for interaction (serendipitous or not), not that you should be a busybody in public spaces. Hard to disagree with him when people shield themselves completely off by constantly listening to music outside, interact more with the phones than with people during family dinners and get-togethers, etc, etc. I don't think we're doomed to living lonely tech lives but changing our current trajectory would require a revolution that we've never experienced before, i.e. one that focuses on kindness, intimacy and love and not economics or freedom.

Interesting that he thinks there's any point of his interjecting - he a 30-odd year old guy - into some 15 year old girl's private little really sad crappy moment. What fantasy world does that ever work out in?

I guess that would be the fantasy world where adult men aren't creeps by default and where interactions between people aren't defined by age or sex. But yeah, we might need to wait for the revolution, I guess.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:38 PM on June 9, 2013 [6 favorites]

Metafilter's own Misha Glouberman has a piece in his book, The Chairs Are Where The People Go, that sums up my feelings on this perfectly:
1. People’s Protective Bubbles Are Okay

I hear people complain that, for instance, in this city, people don’t say hi on the street or make eye contact on the subway. But that’s ridiculous! It’s perfectly reasonable for people not to want to see your dance performance when they are coming home from work. People are on the subway because they’re getting from one place to another, and for all you know, they’re coming from a job that involves interacting with lots and lots of people, and going to a home where there’s a family where they’re going to interact with lots more people. And the subway’s the one place where they can have some quiet time, get some reading done, not have to smile, not have to make eye contact. That’s what a city is. A city is a place where you can be alone in public, and where you have that right. It’s necessary to screen people out. It would be overwhelming if you had to perceive every single person on a crowded subway car in the fullness of their humanity. It would be completely paralyzing. You couldn’t function. So don’t try to fix this. There is no problem.
(from this excerpt)
posted by heatherann at 12:39 PM on June 9, 2013 [29 favorites]

I'm so tired of the "it was better back then...." refrain.

And I'm OLD.

I prefer to communicate via, like, *this*, a lot of the time. But not all the time. I made most of my best friends on ECHO (echonyc.com) starting in 1990, met my husband online, blah blah blah; think about how people pre-telephone may have felt about telephones changing their styles of communication, things proceed, nothing stays the same, etc.

And yeah, leave the kid on the street alone. She has her own circle of friends and family. She doesn't need you, Mr. S F.
posted by DMelanogaster at 1:02 PM on June 9, 2013

Jonathan Suff'rin' For
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:24 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

It is sad that many of my friends say I'm weird for leaving voicemail and/or calling them on the phone instead of texting...I'm labelled "stalkerish"

You really need better friends.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 1:30 PM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

I guess that would be the fantasy world where adult men aren't creeps by default and where interactions between people aren't defined by age or sex.

But where is that not the case? And I don't mean it flippantly, but no matter how nice, kind, compassionate etc., I have a hard time believing any 15 year old young woman hasn't been told and or experienced for herself that talking to older, strange men, when in an emotionally raw state, is very infrequently the right choice.

I think the Louis C.K. allusion was probably more along the lines of what I was after.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:40 PM on June 9, 2013

I'm so tired of the "it was better back then...." refrain.

But that isn't his message, in a sweeping kind of way anyway, at least not by my read.

I think it was Julia Robert's character in "Mona Lisa Smiles" who said to her art history class: "You don't have to like it, but you do have to consider it". I think that is relevant here and I think the author of this piece is making that point. People born in the 1980's or 1990's lack perspective on these kinds of issues only because they have never experienced the world when it was different. There is some wisdom to be gained by growing up with one paradigm and experiencing the shift to the new paradigm. The author doesn't expect young people today to live and interact the way people did a generation or two ago. He states quite clearly that rejecting technology is foolish. But, he also states it is foolish to just embrace it or use it all uncritically. And he certainly isn't the first to make that sensible conclusion. So we should at least consider that there might be some value to the way some things used to be. And through that consideration perhaps a better balance is achieved. Otherwise, you fall into the fallacy that all change is by definition good change. With consideration and balance comes preserving little nuggets of the good stuff.

And yeah, leave the kid on the street alone. She has her own circle of friends and family. She doesn't need you, Mr. S F.

Probably, given that we know she has a mother and a phone and perhaps there were other aspects of her appearance that would indicate a degree of socioeconomic security. But where is your line? Are we really going to criticize this person for just wondering if intervention is warranted? Is the answer so obviously clear? There was a time when simply inquiring if strangers, and especially children, having some difficulty needed help was considered the right thing to do. It was certainly not some social nirvana back then. But I like to believe that that little part of the human condition, even in large cities, is one of those little nuggets worth preserving.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 1:40 PM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

> This is a perennial conversation, but one worth having, still. Many of us are deeply ambivalent about tech/communication/empathy issues

Foer comes across as out of touch here not because he's old or un-hip or anything (he's young and has gobs of social capital) but because he flat out doesn't have a grip on his subject matter. Listen to this:

Only those with no imagination, and no grounding in reality, would deny the possibility that they will live forever. It’s possible that many reading these words will never die.

How can I read that as anything other than the opinion of a man for whom "technology" is a awesome, inscrutable totality about which he knows little beyond received wisdom? Foer and other writers in his vein (such as Franzen, who the title of the article references) repeatedly present technology as some mental (moral?) disease inflicted on a naive populace, the social acceptance of which they humbly interrogate. That's disingenuous because they present technology as the as the ultimate determinant of social mores (which they they question) when in reality social mores are determined entirely by common convention. Technology can effect and amplify, but it cannot determine social convention. The people who use it or who dictate it's use (Apple, facebook, the company that issued your blackberry, etc.) determine that.

Put another way, he comes across like a guy who complains that strangers aren't striking up conversations on the 6 train at rush hour, and isn't this the source of all urban alienation. Yeah, what the guy has to say about empathy and connection in general may strike a chord, but his starting position is all wrong.
posted by postcommunism at 1:48 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Last time I was in London I was on a late night Tube home and there was a woman crying opposite me. I was carrying a flower I'd got from a club I'd been at.

When it got to my stop, as I left I gave her the flower and said "I hope it gets better". She looked at me with the eyes of a startled possum.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:14 PM on June 9, 2013 [11 favorites]

And speaking of similar essays, the focus on attention amidst distraction definitely recalls DFW's Kenyon address, but Foer's happy to stop his own diagnosis of malaise right at technology. He doesn't follow Wallace into the "day to day trenches of adult life" and address what attention and the humanity of others means in that context.

I also imagine DFW would have more honestly interrogated his own instinct to interject himself into someone else's private distress.
posted by postcommunism at 2:18 PM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Jesus, people. He's not suggesting you SHOULD interject yourself into other people's personal dramas, nor that he did so, nor even that he necessarily thought very hard about it. I'm pretty sure what he's trying to say is very simple: you see someone crying about something on the street, it sounds very sad, your heart goes out to them. You want to do something but you can't. And then you walk on, maybe understanding that there's nothing you can really do for them, but you still wonder (irrationally so, completely irrationally so) if maybe you had the magical words or actions to comfort them.

His point is that in earlier times, you either had to stand around awkwardly, pointedly ignoring the crying girl, or you could intervene to unknown benefit and perhaps breaking social conventions. Now, it's not even problematic because you can spend all your time absorbed in electronic ephemera and simply pretend not to notice. It's like how people often wear headphones on the street not just to listen to music, but also because it puts up a message of "don't even try to bother me because I'm not listening, and really I'm not even really present mentally." Which is a great help when you walk past the fifteenth homeless person begging for change, but you can see the downsides. Some possibly having to do with how you treat homeless people.
posted by chrominance at 4:27 PM on June 9, 2013 [4 favorites]

The girl was crying TO her mother. If she hadn't been on the phone, she might not even have been crying on the street!
posted by DMelanogaster at 5:26 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

So I don't think the technology he's talking about is the portable phone (or any other owned-or-leased-by-an-individual gadget). What's more, I think the technology he actually observed worked almost perfectly in this case.1.

One of the really key notes that Jane Jacobs hits throughout Death and Life of Great American Cities is that a well-functioning large city neighborhood (and it's the city, not the phone, that I think Foer is actually observing here) offers something that neither small towns nor Corbusier-style skyscrapers-in-parks can; loose connections with people who to some extent know you, but whose business you're not obligated or expected to be all up in all the time. This means people like the guy who ran the little corner store on her block, people who she could chat with and who she could trust to (say) leave her keys with for a friend to pick up, without necessarily becoming best friends with or whatever. In a small town, she and the shopkeep would know absolutely all of each others' business, because everyone knows everyone. In Corbusier-world (or, for that matter, in a contemporary American suburb), where everything is built at a non-human scale out of interchangeable modular parts, she and the person behind the supermarket teller would know absolutely nothing about each other; you'd have to be insane to think that a random cashier at a Meiers or whatever would watch your keys for you.

A good neighborhood, in Jacobs' view, pretty much inevitably gives you a bunch of people to have close-enough-but-not-too-close relationships with. People who you know will help you out if you ask, but who you can trust to mind their own business if you don't ask — who won't continually nag you about why you weren't in church or just who was that guy we saw you with the other night or whatever. The liberating potential of human cooperation is allowed for, without the stifling weight of having everyone around you knowing (and meddling with) everything you do.

In short: a good city neighborhood gives you people who mean well toward you, but who know not to come up to you in the middle of the damn street when you're having a difficult phone conversation.

So, yes. Foer wrote a lovely little piece about the city and why it's a great idea and really fundamentally humanizing, while trying to lazily kvetch about how digital technology is bad and dehumanizing. Shrug.

Turning for a sec to the technology that he thought he was discussing: oh good lord, texting is such a better mode of communication than talking for me. This is for a variety of reasons: for one thing, thanks to long habit I'm much better in text than in writing. You know that thing I do? Where like half my sentences involve deeply nested subclauses and you're never quite sure they're all going to resolve? And where I'm continually switching tone between over the top fussy academicism and like super informal tumblrspeak?

Where I use footnotes?

I, um, do that in speech, too. It... doesn't work as well. So any textual medium is going to feel more like home than speaking for me. I try, lord knows I try, but if you send me a text you're likely to get me back, whereas if you call me you're going to get someone who keeps tripping across his own words as he keeps trying and failing to revise his sentences on the fly as he speaks.

Moreover: I went to a ton of concerts when I was younger, and was too stupid to wear earplugs most of the time. Unless I'm wearing headphones, expect to get a lot of "how's that?" and "huh?" when you talk to me on the phone.

Moreover: All of my work and half of my play involves deep concentration on things functionally equivalent to logic puzzles. Coming out of that mode requires n minutes of downtime, typically, so when you call me on the telephone don't be surprised if I take everything you say totally completely literally for the first five minutes of the conversation, until I manage to switch gears. I am not proud of this (no more than I'm proud of being half-deaf), but it's sort of a fact about how I am. If you send me a text, though, I can wait until I'm a person again before I reply.

Anyway. This article bugged me. It seems to be about why digital/network technology is bad and dehumanizing, but actually it's about how the city is good and humanizing, and it seems to be about learning to pay deep attention to other people, but it pushes for a particular mode of communication (or really, mode of relation in general) that makes it very difficult for me, personally, to successfully pay or accept that attention.

A less lazy man (and I'm another one who wishes DFW were alive, because he was that sort of less lazy man) would note that paying deep attention to others requires first learning how those people like or need to be paid attention to. Someone who pays close attention to how other people like to interact, and who carefully tries to account for those differences between people when interacting with them, is I think simply a better/kinder/nicer/more caring/more saintly communicator than the evangelist-for-speech-over-writing-and-presence-over-absence that Foer seems to want us to be.

I understand that Foer believes that, should everyone prefer "diminished" or "supplementary" modes of communication over face-to-face speech, then over time we ourselves will become diminished and feelingless. But, well, I don't buy it for a second. First, on a theoretical level, I'm not ready to grant that in-person face-to-face speech is somehow ontologically before / superior to writing — I'd say I'm with Derrida on this point, except I'm not smart enough to understand Derrida's argument. On a more straightforward, quasi-empirical level, though, Foer's diagnosis — that people communicating through progressively diminished channels will over time themselves be diminished — may make grammatical sense, but it doesn't seem to reflect my lived experience at all. People my age, who grew up in an Internetworked world (I'm cusp X/Millennial) tend to be much, much, much better at communicating our needs/hopes/desires/experiences/joys/sorrows/dreams with each other than the Boomers, certainly, and in my experience the Millennials and younger are even better at it than we are. Where's all the diminution that Foer's so up in arms about?

1: And I say "almost perfectly," here, because Foer's own reaction is a glitch; if the technology as implemented were better he would have realized that he was not offered a choice but instead an obligation: to look away and not interject himself unless asked.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:51 PM on June 9, 2013 [7 favorites]

Sebmojo: that's brilliant and selfless! I've been on the other end of things. When I was at a restaurant eating alone and tears rolling down my face as I wrote in a journal, the waiter came by and gave me a dessert on the house. He said in Spanish, "this is to sweeten your day" and walked away. It certainly made me feel much better and brought a smile to my face. Since then, he does it every time I see him there. I really appreciated his action that first time and now I just feel warmth when I go there. And, I prefer face to face communication and old timer letter writing and cards, but the additional modes of communication while in a romantic relationship just makes it a lot sweeter.
posted by happysocks at 6:01 PM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Does not do what it says on the tin.
posted by smcameron at 6:25 PM on June 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

A few years back, I was on a crowded train in China, standing. We had another 13 or so hours to go before getting to our city. Due to a lot of different factors, I had a complete nervous breakdown on that train very early on. I started crying, and could not stop. Kind people on the train took turns offering their seats to me, and asking if I was okay.

About two hours in, my friend and I managed to get an upgrade to an unbelievable luxury--we were going to get a sleeper berth for the rest of the journey.

My friend told me later that as we left, all of the people in that train car smiled at us and waved. They were happy for me, for us.

I'm a city person. I get it. It's nice to have privacy, and I use my smartphone to fend off all kinds of people when I don't want to be bothered. But it's also great to be connected to others. To strangers. To reach out to each other in our time of need. I never saw any of those people again, but I remember their kindness and I am grateful. We're all in it together.
posted by so much modern time at 6:42 PM on June 9, 2013 [4 favorites]

I grew up without smartphones and Internet - well, at least till my teen years. I don't remember that time as being particularly rich with human interaction, at least not any more so than now. Maybe there were more interactions because there had to be, but most of them were for purely practical reasons and many of them were irritating and not enjoyable. That's because the chances were increased to get into arguments with people you don't even know and people are just, you know, kinda jerks a lot of the time and in every interaction there's some amount of hierarchy being established, and some people are really domineering and need to demonstrate that they're smarter and better than you. That's my cynical take on this.
posted by ChuckRamone at 8:06 PM on June 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

When I was commuting to University (grad school, 3 and 5 years) daily, I've had older people start conversations with me, mostly about how people hide behind their personal digital devices - while I was reading fiction on a PDA and subsequently an iThing.

I'd put my reading aside, and have a polite conversation. No big deal. Sometimes these people were cool, sometimes they were Jesus freaks, whom I'd politely end the conversation with and go back to my recreational reading.

Since then, I sometimes take public transit. Sometimes I'll offer information to people who seem lost. Sometimes that leads to conversation.

Thing is, I'm male and ugly. I don't start conversations or look at people or force eye contact because I've been socialized to think that attractive (and otherwise) people of the opposite gender don't want me to do that. Guy-guy interactions on public transit might possibly be even more complicated than urinal etiquette. And I'm ok with that and I've even had to "socialize" other males who were aggressively trying to engage women who very obviously didn't want their attention.

On the gripping hand, when strangers reach out, I'll try to help when I can. The thing with city living is that there's no *choice* to be isolated, so the least bad compromise is to pretend that everyone has a choice to privacy which shouldn't be breached until they show a sign.
posted by porpoise at 8:16 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Several years ago I was renting a room in a house owned by a woman and her boyfriend, both a couple years older than me. They watched a lot of TV in the living room. A lot of TV. Coming home from work, I'd eat a quick dinner with them in front of the TV, with CSI or whatever playing in the background.

One day I was checking my email at work and found one from the boyfriend that said roughly the following: "Nomyte, I'm glad we've become friends. Please try to spend less time in the living room with us. We would really appreciate if you put some social distance between us and yourself." And that was basically all it said.

To be honest, that email made me want to cry helplessly as if I was three years old. Really, "helpless" was a good word to describe the situation in which I had found myself. By sending that short message, the writer implied that I wasn't worth having a face-to-face conversation with. He implied that there wasn't going to be a dialog. That he didn't trust me to respond like a rational, responsible, mature human being, and instead decided to email me at work, knowing perfectly well that I was going to be home in a few hours anyway.

I'm sure from his perspective this looked like a good way of delivering his message and managing my response. He may not have thought twice about it. What it communicated to me was a perception of mistrust, condescension, and, for lack of a better word, distaste.

Up till then, I had always been very careful to address important things face-to-face. I think that things that could be misunderstood may be easier to address if presented gradually, politely, socially. Interacting with that couple really drove the idea home and made me redouble my attention to this personal principle.

In fact, I am sad and even alarmed that accepted wisdom seems to be tilting toward thinking of all face-to-face dialog as risky and unwise. A quick "thanks" or "well done" is fine over email or text. But if it's something more complicated or in any way critical, I'm rolling it into the bundle of stuff to talk about when we're hanging out in the same physical space, or at least talking on the phone.

If you prefer asynchronous communication for important matters because it gives you a chance to compose your thinking, also take the time to think of how it might make the recipient feel when they get your beautiful, unambiguous, decisive message without any warning or preamble.
posted by Nomyte at 8:43 PM on June 9, 2013 [11 favorites]

...and some people are really domineering and need to demonstrate that they're smarter and better than you.

Okay, okay. Why the hell are you on the Internet then?

Where's all the diminution that Foer's so up in arms about?

Well, self-reported loneliness is on the rise, to the point that it's being called an "epidemic". Suicide rates are also on the rise. More people are also living alone than ever before. But it is hard to determine whether this is in any way directly or indirectly caused by technology or not.
posted by FJT at 8:59 PM on June 9, 2013

Okay, okay. Why the hell are you on the Internet then?

More people are emboldened to act saucy online, but it's much easier to manage interacting with them than it is in person. On the Internet you can ignore these kinds of people, and you develop ways of dealing with them.
posted by ChuckRamone at 6:13 AM on June 10, 2013


A word for those of limited vocabulary and limited perceptions. A word designed to limit interaction across group boundaries.

Example: It is stalkerish to ask my 16 yr old kid what are the names of the other kids he's going to the movie with.

I ignore that word.
posted by surplus at 5:59 PM on June 11, 2013

"a hand on a knee"

God I love that movie. The older I get, the more uncomfortable it makes me.
posted by surplus at 6:04 PM on June 11, 2013

Holy crap. I just had the worst conversation. Some relationships cannot be fixed.

I just want to be alone.
posted by surplus at 6:07 PM on June 11, 2013

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