I'm Not Your Friend

This is quite a grumpy, serious post for such a new blog, but I just had to get it out there! I really hope it doesn't make me sound like a horrible cow. I'm actually quite nice, but we all have our limits! 

When I was at university, I was very lonely, and so I found YouTube, and in particular, a girl who lived in the same region as me. She talked about all the things I liked, she had similar interests to mine, and every video felt like she was speaking to me personally. So I left long comments, praising her and telling her about myself, building what I thought was a friendship. 

After some time, her replies got shorter, then more sporadic, until they fizzled out completely. I was so upset! I couldn't understand why she didn't appreciate all the praise I was giving her or why she didn't want to be friends with someone so in tune with her. I even spoke to family and friends about it, and they advised me to stop watching her. It took a long time, but eventually I had enough of the rudeness, and cut all ties, as it were.

About a fortnight later, a man started to speak to me on Twitter. It started with friendly replies to my tweets, and a few compliments about my videos. It was a little strange because he did not seem interested in beauty or blogging, but there was no threat or malice in his messages. 

He then asked me if he could send me a private message, which I agreed to, and he told me about some family issues. I am not trained or qualified to provide solutions, and I did not know him well enough to offer advice, so I simply gave my condolences. I think this kindness was seen as a chink in my armour, because from that point on the tweets were relentless. Constant updates about his day, things that had no relation to me at all. If I didn't reply, he would send private messages, or write indirect tweets about ignorance. 

It sounds so silly. Even as I read it, I think 'block him!' but I felt bad doing so. He had told me personal things and come to me for help, but I started to dread opening the app and seeing him him him, or posting a video to know he was watching. Finally I realised that at no point had I asked for any of this! Since then, I have had similar experiences but felt no shame in blocking when my boundaries were crossed and strangers became too close for comfort. I am a friendly, kind person, but I am not a counsellor, or a nurse, and no matter how many people my videos reach, it is up to me how many of those become my friends. 

It was then that I realised that I had done almost the same thing to the girl I mentioned at the start. I had taken her 10 minute videos and blogs to mean friendship at a time when I was lonely, taken advantage of her warm personality, and put her in an uncomfortable position. When she eventually cut me off, it really did hurt, but it was a very important lesson for me to learn- both as the audience and as a creator.

 Whether you make content or not, remember: if anyone is making you uncomfortable, it is just as okay to block them online as it is to walk away in real life. 



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