Finding Friendship (and not with Level 69 Paladins in Netherstorm)

A couple of weeks ago, the ever-lovely Tabitha posted about making real life friends, with real life people, as a real life adult.  One of the reasons I love blogging so much is because you guys really ARE friends – we email, text, chat, and apparently now, vlog, and I’m sure it won’t be long until I’m on the Sykpe bandwagon – but let’s face it: I have very few real life friends. As of this weekend, pretty much zero.

I don’t have a standing Friday night cocktail date with a tight group of four à la Sex and the City.  I don’t do Sunday pancakes or brunch with anyone other than my lovely Dad.  And I had to cancel my St. Patrick’s Day party because I had a grand total of two people confirm, and I refuse to be a total Billy-No-Mates in my own home.

I see people on Facebook, people who’ve grown in cliques or stayed in the same groups they did in high school, and sometimes I long for that feeling. A feeling of closeness, like a mini family you share everything with, fun times, memories, board games nights, trips out of town, and nights out – memories, and a solid network you know you can rely on. It kind of reminds me of that scene in About A Boy, where he’s talking about how two people aren’t enough, because if one person drops off, you’re left on your own. I can’t help but feel this happened this weekend, and other than David and my little cat, I have nobody in my physical real life.  I try and go above and beyond to try and make other people’s lives better, easier… and it’s worthless. At work, I’m probably getting laid off, and at home, I’m told people’s lives would be better off without me in them.  I’m more than a little heartbroken.

Tabitha’s post got me thinking. In this day and age, when most mid-twenty-somethings have already got their friendships well and truly formed, how do you break in – and not look like a desperate weirdo? Is it even possible at this age, or have we missed our chances? I wish I lived in another city, another place… Illinois, perhaps, where I’m sure Jen and I would hang out all the time, and I could meet up with Brittany for lunch every other day while living in Ashley’s spare room, where we’d share stories and play video games all night.  Or Texas, where I know I’d definitely move into the same neighbourhood as Brittney, and we’d spend Friday nights baking cupcakes and watching girly movies while Audrey and Rose chased each other around. In an ideal world, there’d be one big city with all of you living in it, and I could just come and join the party.  But I’m stuck here, in a city I don’t particularly like very much, where people hundreds of miles away show more interest and friendship than 95% of my real life “friends” on Facebook. And I can’t help  but feel like somewhere along the way, I did something wrong. Or wonder if there’s something wrong with me.

I know life happens.  I know people move around the globe like chess pieces and before long, everyone who was once a ten minute drive away is now somewhere else, seen only in photographs, and heard only through words on a screen.  I know I’m blessed to have people around the globe that I know, were it possible, would be here in a heartbeat if I needed them.  Seriously – those of you who reached out this weekend, you have NO idea how much your words meant to me.  Don’t get me wrong, I like my alone time. I like cooking and writing blogs and reading books and watching TV with Sweet. I like karaokeing to Rock Band all by myself. I cherish the lunches I have with my Dad. But I can’t shake the feeling that I should have some sort of… network, shouldn’t I? People to dress up and go dancing with, or take turns hosting dinner parties with, be in a book club with, or go shopping for 8 hours with, laughing and reminiscing the whole time.

I run into people regularly who I’d love to be friends with.  The girl who does my nails every 3 weeks, who goes on holiday with all her coworkers.  The massage therapist I see once a week who chats about Star Trek and music, and exchanges bad roommate stories with me.  The girl at the tanning salon who’s full of tips for my wedding, and the people at work who share so many of the same interests and stories… but wouldn’t hang out regularly with someone 10 or 20 years younger. Asking any of them out for coffee or a movie would either come off as an awkward lesbian pick up line or cross professional boundaries, making future encounters potentially uncomfortable.

There are countless books and websites and services out there to match people up in relationships in this world.  Compatibility tests, blind dates and questionnaires to fill out to ensure a perfect fit with someone you hope to spend the rest of your life with. But why must it be so difficult to find companionship?  Is it just that I missed my chance?  I really count my blessings for having you guys, and for everything Sweet does for me and brings to my life. I felt like the luckiest girl alive when I read so many kind and concerned words this weekend from many of you. But I can’t help but wonder – is it too late in life to find real-world friends?

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41 comments

  1. i think it does get harder to make new friends as you get older. it’s hard for me to have ‘real life friends’ too. part of it is my friends are scattered in different places. so local friends are hard to come by. i have made some friends in my past residences though and been able to keep in touch thru facebook. so in that way, i haven’t felt that i’ve lost any friends, and that i can actually have somewhat longterm friendships with them.

    my ideal friend area right now is colorado. totally jealous of the colorado bloggers right now and wanna hang out with doniree, ashley and grace!

    1. Ditto what Floreta said, although minus the Colorado part. I don’t know anyone in Colorado. 😛

      But for me, my BFFs are all over the country, so internet is definitely the way we keep in touch, and I’m so grateful that I live in an era where that is possible.

      I moved to a small city (Cincinnati) with a small town mentality, so everyone here already has their set of friends and family that they grew up with, and like you said, it’s really hard to break into. I’m fortunate in that I have a boyfriend and a dog so our family provides companionship — and I also really like my coworkers, but we don’t hang outside of work — so I’d still like a few “regular” friends. To be honest, a lot of non-Cincinnati-born people in their 20s/30s move away from Cincinnati for this reason. I don’t have that option (boyfriend is here for work) but I haven’t given up hope. I think it is never too late to make real life friends. And in the meantime, internet friends are pretty wonderful. 🙂

  2. I hope it’s not because I just moved across the globe to a new country where I don’t know the language and left all my friends behind 😦 All I have are my little brown dog and husband. But you know what, it’s definite NOT too late. It is exactly like dating – it’s definitely putting yourself out there with the risk of being rejected. Like ‘where’s your phone – write my email and email me! we are hanging out!’ or one girl who took my email and said she’d email me so that i had hers in case i had any swiss questions. and it works. sure it’s awkward at first…and you have to get over the few first times of hanging out and making small talk and feeling eachother out – but friendship and trust takes time. but who doesn’t like new friends?! i’d be flattered if some girl asked me to hang out 🙂

    you can always come to Switzerland visit me and we can dress up and go out! like…on april 29th for a certain mumford and sons concert 😉

    i’ll be emailing you back later dear!

  3. I ask myself this all the time.

    I am fortunate enough to have many of my HS friends still living in the same area – however we are going through different phases in our lives, and I feel like i relate more to the people in the blog world than I do with the people in my real world.

    In summary, even though I have people near me (physically) I am starting to feel like I don’t connect with them anymore. We are living very different lives.

  4. I wish I could have you visit DC just for ONE WEEKEND. I would wrap you in a cocoon of ridiculously awesome girlfriend-ness and you would never, ever want to leave.

    xoxo

  5. I totally know what you mean. The Mrs and I have a close group of friends (two other couples) which is great, and they are great but they have different interests than us so they have other activities that we don’t include ourselves in for philosophical reasons. We used to do things with my Wife’s cousin and her husband but they moved to BC about a year ago and we don’t get to see them much anymore. It’s hard to make new friends, I”m a fairly gregarious person and I talk and have friendships with people I have worked with (i.e. you) and people I work with currently but as you wrote seems like your crossing a professional boundary do to something outside of work. And if you ever do you find amazingly you have nothing in common anymore and its awkward. What’s worse is your World of Warcraft title got me thinking that I spend 90% of my game time on WoW solo. Sure I’m part of a guild and that I occasionally talk to, but this guild is really just my brother and some of his friends. So I have difficulty making virtual friends let alone people outside in real life. Sure I have well of 100 friends on facebook. But out of them I see maybe 8 of them throughout the year. So maybe you can come back to WoW and be my friend? lol

  6. Been there. Still there. I actually have several friends in NYC but I don’t have a “group” which is a little awkward sometimes. I started a book club hoping that might help. We shall see. I also joined meet-up.com, and that’s really helped me meet people too. But yeah, I have friends that I love but don’t talk to anymore from high school, and I have friends who I talk to but don’t know very well from NYC (who I’ve only known about a year – it took awhile to meet people when I moved here). I have written about this a TON. Search “friends” or “maid of honor” on my blog. For me, I have friends but I don’t have a best friend, and I’ve actually ended up in tears over this with Erik. I don’t have a maid of honor already set for when I get married and it’s AWFUL to me. So I totally know how you feel with the whole “who will be my friend?” bit.

  7. In these parts, there’s a website called meet-up.com. And it’s exactly what you speak of – a place to find friendships and interests in common. It lacks the romantic bend a lot of websites have.

    And you know what? Becoming friends with the people you cross in your daily life isn’t as weird as it sounds. I mean, if you’re willing to become friends with the people you work with (doesn’t that have the potential to cross some professional boundary?), then why wouldn’t you be able to become friends with people who service you (or vice versa)?

    I became quite good friends with my hair stylist (until she moved away). We wound go out for drinks. Chat on the phone. And even get together with our husbands (and eventually with her baby, too). To this day, I think so very fondly of her and miss our times together.

    Hang in there. You still have lots of choice and a really bright road ahead of you. Things will improve.

  8. It does get harder, I think, but it’s not too late. I think it’d be worth it just to go for the awkwardness every now and then and ask someone to hang out. I think you’d be surprised, because the other person would probably love to be friends with you too.

    I’ve done it like this: the first time I mention it, I’ll say something like, “We should hang out sometime,” to see what their reaction is. Then if it’s favorable, I’ll think of something specific and casual, with a set beginning and ending, that the two of us could do together. In the past I’ve suggested things like running a 5k, doing a yoga class, or seeing a movie. It usually works out great!

  9. this totally struck a chord with me.

    because often times — i see people always hanging out with one another. a lot of girls i know from high school are still super close to one another.

    I’ve got a few good friends but they’re all over the place! it’s maybe feasible to see them a couple times a year. while locally, i don’t have that many friends that would call me or text me if they wanted to just hang out, do something, shop or whatnot. it bums me out quite a bit.

    i’ve actually tried the meet up.com thing before but it got to the point where people usually already have known each other for quite a while, and then they’re just simply not interested in making more friends.

    Truth of the matter is — i have a few blog friends that i wish i could meet in person! i think we’d get along famously because we like the same stuff — running, cooking, etc.

    i’ve had a really good friend “break up” with me because i wasn’t where she was in her life and i wasn’t connecting with her. Who breaks up with a friend like that? it’s a slow process.

    i had a couple of girls in the same work out class as me — i really wanted to talk to them after class, but i totally chickened out. i just don’t want to seem desperate! (boy this comment is all over the place!)

    Remember you want quality friends not quantity! just know you’re not alone in this!

  10. I’ll not lie to you Emily, I’m almost certain that it gets harder to make friends, but only in the 20-30 age bracket where people are standoffish and workaholics.

    I look at my friends. My true friends. They all live at distances where I couldn’t just pop out and visit them. Some are in completely different countries. Yourself included. I haven’t a single friend in this town, mostly because of the calibre of person, and partly because I’ve made friends who have either moved away or proven they weren’t really friends to begin with.
    I look at people I do my shows with. My good friends in that circle are all older than me. We don’t meet up outside of rehearsals (hopefully that’ll change now the Quartet is running) and it’s a pity because I know I’d get on brilliantly with some of them. (Mutual Luvvie Appreciation society much? lol)

    My point is, don’t give up hope. I’m certain loads of people in your life are just as concerned about reaching out to you as you are to them. You may well find they pluck up the courage to step forward at the exact same time you find the courage to do the same.

    It’s never too late for anything in life Emily. Sometimes you just need to wait for an opportune moment. X

  11. I can completely relate to this. I mean, I was never a girl who had a bunch of friends in high school but I honestly don’t have anyone (outside of the blog world, of course) that I spend time with, other than my family. I’m extremely lucky to be as close to my mom as I am but I don’t have a group of girlfriends I see on a regular basis and hang out with.

    I wish I did. I wish I had girlfriends I could call when life got messy or something awesome happened in my lie. I wish I had a bunch of friends I actually hung out with and had a good time with.

    It’s so hard to make friends now. (But it’s always been hard for me, so no surprise there!) Meetup.com sounds like a great option but I could never see myself really doing it. I’m way, way, way, way, WAY too shy!

    If only you lived near me. 🙂

  12. oh em i can relate to this too. i’ve lived here my whole life and i seem to have gone through school missing out on friend opportunities and now it seems too late. i wish we lived closer, i’d love to be friends with you! i really appreciate your genuineness, your emails, and you not being afraid to be vulnerable. sometimes admitting we wish things were different can be amazing in terms of things changing. i hope people realise how awesome you are and that you find some meaningful real-life friendships. anyone would be lucky to have you in their life =)

  13. I’ve either moved or friends have moved in and out of my life on a continuous basis. As you grow older, it definitely is harder to make friends but never impossible. Even then though, you realize there are about a handful that you are truly close to, who understand you without an explanation.

    Honestly, I’ve always thought that if I have one or two close friends, that I was very lucky. A bunch of my very close friends whom I met in grad school don’t even live here. I’m lucky if I see them once a year.

    At the same time I don’t think life is like how it’s portrayed in Sex & the City for example. I think we tend to all have different groups of friends at different stages in our lives, sometimes more than other times, and sometimes less. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    That being said, I hate the fact that you feel this way. Don’t let it get you too down though. Just focus on spending time with the ones who do want to spend time with you. Trust me, they are the ones who count.

    Big hugs hon.

  14. Making new friends is hard, but it’s not impossible.

    I moved across the country and didn’t know a soul. My only friend became the girl I had randomly moved in with in London (Ontario, not UK) when she followed me out here.

    I met girl friends through:
    -One boy I dated. I stole his friend because we got along famously.
    -Sports. Roomie and I hopped on a singles soccer team.
    -Work.
    -The bar. Yes, we met a girl at a bar and picked her up with promises of coffee dates and a vow to show her the city.
    -Friends of acquaintances. Ever meet someone at a party and you find yourself clicking with them more than with the person who invited you? Yeah.
    -The Market. Fun, creative girls all around!

    The hardest part is putting yourself out there. You may find it awkward to ask your nail girl if she wants to grab a pint, but chances are you’re building it up to be way worse than it is. Put yourself out there and you’ll be pleasantly surprised what you get back. And hey, if it flops, laugh it off and try again. If someone turns you down for friendship, you obviously don’t want to be their friend anyway. xo

  15. I’ve been asking myself this same question lately. You’re definitely not alone in the way that you feel.

    Ever since I got married, quit my job, and moved to a new city, I don’t really have any friends to spend time with. All of my closest friends are far away, and I have yet to make any friends here. (It doesn’t help that I’m not working and most of the guys my husband has made friends with through his job aren’t married.) I’m more than happy with spending time alone, doing things I love, and spending time with my husband. But sometimes, I do wish I had a good girl friend in the area to actually spend time with. I don’t mind shopping and getting pedicures and such on my own, but it’s so much more fun with a girl friend. Growing up, I moved around a lot, and making friends always came naturally to me, but it’s so much different now that I’m older.

    Just remember that we’re still young, and in the scheme of things, it’s definitely not too late to find friendships; it’s just a bit harder and a little less natural than it once was. If you come across someone who’s personality you enjoy, like the girl at your nail salon or your massage therapist, put yourself out there and suggest going out for coffee or something else fun. If you do it naturally, during a good conversation, it’s not nearly as awkward.

  16. I don’t think it’s impossible. It may be harder the older we get, but it’s certainly not impossible. As great as blogging and the world wide web is, I think it paralyzes us in a way. We become so engulfed in the connections we make with people from all different places that often times, it takes a toll on the relationships we can manifest locally. I believe it’s about opening ourselves up and pushing slightly pass our comfort zones. Talking to the girl you see getting her nails done three times a week, or the girl at the tanning salon, or the massage therapist. You never know the friendships that can form there.

  17. I have moved several times and I still struggle to connect beyond surface/acquaintance level with others. I find breaking the ice initially to be tough.

    I started going to a church recently and hope to meet people through activities there. Maybe you could find some kind of organization/community of people you can connect with? Book clubs, craft groups, etc. Crossing my fingers that you find some connections soon.

  18. ugh, finding friends as you get older is not fun. i miss all my college friends and i see them as much as i can, but it has been almost a year since all 4 of us were together.

    but i miss being able to go out for coffee or just something quick with friends and not planning it a few days in advance.

    i also wish i lived closer to a few blog friends too, i’d love to meet so many people!

  19. I think it’s way easier to make friends in some kind of pre-existing community, i.e, a dance class, church, art class, charity, etc.

    I’ve made lots of new friends through church. I guess it’s the atmosphere!

    Remember what you said about not living life by fear? Well you’re exactly right…go out there, go to a cafe and talk to people when you can. We’ve all got a chance to see your cute personality through this blog (and vlogs, haha). I don’t see why anyone would have a hard time connecting with you!

    Or, come and move to San Diego. 😛

  20. For me, friends come and go constantly. There haven’t been any lasting friendships in my life because with my husband in the military and our many moves around the world, I have developed a much different view on friendships. With every move and every new place, I am thrown into a new group of people that my husband works with. Those people I consider my friends. While they aren’t close friends, they are what I need and who I feel comfortable around in a new place at a new time.

  21. I think it is so totally possible. Maybe a little more difficult but I think that we grow older we find friends that are more true, once we have matured past the stages of pettiness and drama. I genuinely believe if we go out in search of something that our heart wants, we will find it.

    Best,

    Hannah Katy

  22. I can relate in a different way. I have so many friends from all over the place because of the deaf community – we don’t all live within minutes of each other. It sucks and now I really want to have real friends that live like…NEXT DOOR or down the street. Tyler and I talked about it and that’s kind of why I’m trying to become active here in our town by joining the sweat challenge & he’ll be joining dodgeball so hopefully we’ll gain some new neighborhood friends.

    Too bad we’re not close by! 🙂

  23. I, too, can relate. I’ve always had a couple of best friends but I’ve always felt alone. I distanced myself from my HS group of friends when I started college, and ever since then, I’ve had a hard time finding people to become close with. I found a husband, and he’s my best friend, but I would also like a group of friends. Hubby feels the same way. We’re both yearning for a sense of belonging and just haven’t found it. I think one thing that works against us is the fact that we’re introverts. It’s very hard for us to force ourselves out or to accept invitations.

  24. Hey there Missy! Sorry it’s taken me so long to comment on this post…I’m so behind with everything! But. I do want to say that I think as adults it can be a bit harder to make friends, but it’s not impossible. The only reason I think it’s harder is because there is that awkward element…like um…how do I just begin a friendship? And how do I even meet people? It’s something I’ve always struggled with in my adult life. Only in the last couple years have I really made true friends, and even those friendships took time to build and we weren’t close right off the bat. I don’t think it would be weird if you hung out with the people who cut your hair or do your nails or any of that. I would just bring it up casually, like hey, we should get coffee sometime! Or something, you know? Also maybe you could find a writing group in your area, or find ways like that to make friends with people who are interested in the same things as you. Chin up, pretty. You are beautiful, talented, and a sweetheart! I know the universe has wonderful things in store for you! ❤

  25. girl i totally get this. i am in the exact same boat! at least you have the fiance to keep you company. some of my best friends are my beauty ladies (nail tech, hair stylist etc) it just works that way. sometimes it can be so damn frustrating being that girl who doesn’t have a group of girls to go out with, share stories with or even just do nothing with. toootally get where you are coming from. i feel as if a lot of my blogging buddies are my real life friends and if we lived by each other, nothing would break our friendship.

  26. Ohhhhh my goodness, Em. You hit the nail on the head. I’m so with you… I see so many girls in groups around the city and I think, “What is WRONG with me? Where are MY Carrie’s and Samantha’s and Charlette’s and Miranda’s??”

    WELL?

    What I wouldn’t give to be able to call you or Britt and say, “HI! It’s coffee time. See you in 5!”

    However, I am SO happy to have met you! You’re brilliant and hilarious. Being able to email and text with girls like you is more than I expected when I first started my little blog. And for that, I must be greatful.

    Thank you for this post!

    xoxo

  27. You know, while I do have good friends, I am missing having a group of gal pals to hang out with. I used to have that back home, and I suppose I still do when I am home but it has been so long since I moved away that we have grown apart a little.
    Here I have a friend here and a friend there, but they don’t really know each other, and if they do it’s because they met once at my birthday party. I also miss having that friend I can call every day, who I know will pick up the phone, who I can just hang out with on short notice, whom I see more frequently than once a week. I realize that this may be harder to come by the older and busier you are.
    I don’t think it is ever too late to make friends, online or in real life. It does get harder, I agree. But what I’ve done whenever I moved some place new is I told myself, girl you are the one who needs friends. You are new here. The others already have friends. So you’ll probably have to make the first step, maybe even the second, to make them realize you are a great friend. It may sound a bit like a job application but in a way, I think, when you want to make friends with someone, you need them to realize they want you as their friend.
    I will be moving at the end of August. Depending on where I find a job I might find myself in a city I have never lived in and have no friends in. In a way, the thought makes me nervous (especially because in Germany it’s less common to socialize with co-workers), but you know, I’ll just have to find a way to meet new people. Volunteer somewhere, join a club for something I like, maybe even go to meetups that are organized online. I’ll see.
    I just firmly believe that if you want to make new friends, you cannot wait for them to find you, you have to find them.

  28. See all the people who totally feel the same way as you? It’s so not abnormal at all. I feel like people who have their little closeknit group of friends are more the abnorm if you ask me. I know one co-worker who has friends Sex-In-The-City style minus all the fancy clothes and I have one other friend who has become really close with her two neighbors who are basically her age and have kids all the same age. Other than that, I think more people are doing their own thing. I wish we could live closer, too…although I’m ready to move somewhere warmer than colder…as cold as Chicago already is! I think you should come for a weekend! That would be a blast! I wish I could go to Vegas this year, but with the baby and money being kind of tight it won’t work. Sorry I don’t have any solution to a real-life friend for you! 🙂

  29. I know exactly what you mean… There are very few people in the world I can count on… Laura and her husband, My cousin, My closest friend who I now live MILES AND MILES away from and that’s probably about it… But Emily, If I were in Canada or you were in UK i can guarantee that I would make the effort to come and have coffee dates and lunch with you… You’re a truly wonderful person and if these people who you are in contact with in your real life can’t see that then surely it is there loss and they are at fault, not you Emily, never think its you…

    Your one of the most truly amazing people i know and i’m blessed to have you in my life even if at the mo it is through a computer screen… But believe me, I would love nothing more than to be there as a true friend a few days before you get married so we could sit and have gossips of all nature and then to see you walk down the isle in to the arms of the man (i can assume we’d have talked about over coffee) would bring more than a few tears to my eyes…

    Love you Ems

    And remember what your little thing says on Facebook, life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it… so you know what I say?? React… and as you said before, be the change you want to see in the world 😀

  30. It is hard to meet new friends – but it is possible. I have met alot of great people at the various jobs I’ve had. It helps if you get a job where they have younger people working since they are all kind of in the same position that you are in… Hang in there, though. I wish I lived close so we could get together for coffee or wine or Sunday brunches.

    Hang in there and be kind to yourself.

  31. I don’t know if I have anything new to add to the discussion, but I’m just one more person who thinks that you’re awesome enough to meet new girlfriends and blow them away :). And lets be honest, those Samantha and Carrie types that you brunch with, don’t always live up to the hype. Trust me… 🙂

    Sending lots of happiness your way! ❤

  32. I feel the same exact way!
    All my friends are scattered…and I think it just might be too late to make friends!

    I’m desperately hoping someone will prove me wrong and adopt me into their social circle…but until then…it’s me, myself, and I!

    🙂

  33. Hey Emily,

    It is never too late. I moved to different cities in the past 5 years and I always made good friends. Yes, when you are a student it is easier to make friends than when you are working. But after moving to Vancouver and having a hard three first months I made amazing friends. I met a guy at work one day and we clicked and decided to do things together. Then I met other people through him. I met people volunteering, I met people at work who are older but it does not matter. I think the key is to stay genuine and really show interest in other people (I am sure you do that). And yes sometimes you are not lucky and the first 10 persons you meet are not great (and you wonder if you will ever meet great people) but as soon as you meet one or two great persons, it is just easier to meet other great people through those first persons.
    Also what you see on TV is not always what you want or need. Those groups of 5 friends that do everything together are usually far from real life. Sometimes it is real life (I know a group or two like that) but everyone has different ways to express friendship. And sometimes it is good to have different groups of friends. They complement each other.
    Stay open, don’t hesitate to meet new people and don’t hesitate to shake things up and call people once you have met them to do something fun.
    Best of luck.
    xoxo from Vancouver.

    Benoît

  34. I agree – it is hard to strike up a regular friendship with someone when you are an adult.
    Sometimes when you hit it off with someone at a party, you exchange numbers, facebook details or email addresses, but after that, what are the chances of you actually catching up?
    Blogging is a good way to keep contact with people and meet new friends, but it can be hard when you live across the world to meet up.
    I really enjoy your blog, by the way 🙂
    Carly

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