guest post by Lindsay of That Working Girl
In the last three years, I’ve picked up my life and moved across several states – twice. The first time, I was a wide-eyed and trembling 23-year- old, packing all of my prized (read: IKEA) belongings into my hatchback and embarking on a journey from Atlanta to Denver to join my boyfriend in Colorado. Most recently, I packed up yet again and left the Mile High City for St. Louis to join my fiancé – and yes, it’s the same guy!
As adventure-filled these formative years of my 20s have been, at times I’ve felt myself grasping at straws when it comes to embracing community and forming new friendships in a new town. I’m not talking about the friends who you see at the bar or make small talk with at lunch – but the friends you can be utterly transparent with; the ones who want to know you and be known.
I work full-time in social media, so naturally, I’m plugged in all day long! In a fortunate series of events, I’ve forged several meaningful, ‘in-real- life friendships’ by being vulnerable and honest on social media. But first, I had to overcome three big doubts that I was believing about myself, vulnerability and how social media played a role in my life.
1. ‘No one will relate to my feelings that I tweet or Instagram.’
Sometimes, we equate vulnerability to complaining, but the two couldn’t be any more different! I remember moving into my new apartment in Denver by myself on the hottest day of the year, truly believing that I’d just made the biggest mistake. I ripped off my neighbor’s wifi that night (sorry, former neighbor!) while sitting on the floor with my laptop, tweeting that I’d just landed in Denver, yet it didn’t feel like home just yet. Kind, local souls reached out to me with the warmest welcoming messages that I’d ever received, and I found myself with three coffee dates on my calendar for the next week. We grow when we support each other and invest in our seasons of change – to grow is to lean on others for wisdom and understanding.
2. ‘Social media should only show my highlight reel.’
This is a big misconception that I remind myself of each day. All too often we fall into the lie that our Instagram grid needs to paint a constantly cheery, idyllic picture of our lives. That’s why we’re more apt to post to Instagram when we’re all smiles at a group happy hour, or traveling to a new exciting place. But what about life’s mundane moments – the moments we can all relate to. Why aren’t we showing and sharing more of those? As I’ve opened up and allowed myself to be more vulnerable across my blog and social media platforms, I’ve become a much more authentic version of myself. Each day I have to wake up and die to my ego, while letting intuition and honesty take the lead.
3. ‘They’ll never want to hang out with me.’
This is the big one. Part of being vulnerable is not only allowing yourself to open up to others, but to also allow yourself to approach others – even if rejection is a possibility. In this day and age, it’s OK – and totally normal! – to reach out to someone local you admire on social media and ask them out to coffee or drinks. One of my most treasured friendships was forged in a tweet over our mutual love for PR, which I was very scared to send.
Who knew 140 characters could lead to so much joy and fulfillment?
Encouraging and creative friendships are vital to the success of our small businesses, communities and passion projects.
I’m so glad that I said “no more” to waiting and dove into sharing more of my life with seemingly strangers who are now dear friends.
I no longer take to social media to paint my picture of perfection. Sharing my triumphs, struggles, and big and small wins alike has humbled me and taught me to practice everyday vulnerability, all while helping me find my tribe – the friends who bring richness, joy and fulfillment into my life.
Lindsay currently lives in St. Louis, by way of Denver and Atlanta. She’s a digital dabbler and designer and works full-time in social media for a national retail brand. When she’s not working, you can find Lindsay blogging at That Working Girl, a lifestyle resource that empowers women toward fulfilling, creative careers. She has a passion for connecting creatives, championing small businesses and building brands. Catch Lindsay on Instagram at @thatworkinggirl and on Twitter at @heyworkinggirl.