4.01.2011

Introducing: Connections v.1

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I've been talking about a new feature that I am unbelievably excited about. I haven't let the cat out of the bag, but today is the first post of what I hope will be many inspiring ones to come! I'm happy to introduce to you my new feature called Connections.

As most of you know, Chris and I recently took a week long road trip with our best friends Kaelah and Mike. It was one of my most favorite vacations of all time, I had so much fun getting to know them a little bit more, and spending time with three of your favorite people in the world in a charming little town is just unbeatable. I came home from the trip with a head swirling with thoughts and emotions and happiness. I started thinking about how crazy the whole thing is. Within a year Kaelah and I went from being two girls who like the internet a whole lot and emailed back and forth a bit, to being best friends who take trips together and have lofty dreams of one day being neighbors and sharing our lives as they change with time. If you would have told me last winter that this was going to happen, I would have told you you were a nut! I never would have imagined that I could find one of my very best friends just because I spend too much time on the internet. But it got me thinking... This is why I blog. I blog because I want to express myself, but ultimately I'm looking to connect with people. I never thought that having this little corner of the internet to call my own would lead me in the direction it has, but I am so thankful for it. I think a lot of people blog because they want someone to talk to, or they're looking for people they have something in common with, and I don't think anyone would turn down finding a true friend because of it. And it happens more often that I realized! So I came up with Connections as a way to showcase two people who have found that, who have found a true friendship with someone solely because of their blogs.

I'm also aware that there are plenty of people online that are hellbent on bringing people down. I don't want anyone to be discouraged by that, because even though there's plenty of haters out there, you might luck out and find a true friend. The internet can be a pretty negative place sometimes, but I wanted to show you that it can be truly amazing, and that you can meet someone who feels like a sister, who will support you through thick and thin even if you live on opposite sides of the world. I think that's a pretty awesome thing, don't you?

Each segment of Connections will feature two lovely people who have found each other through their respective internet presences and have developed a true friendship. Both people will answer a few questions about their friendship and the role the internet played in its development, and hopefully they can share something special with you, the reader, and with each other. I hope you enjoy this feature as much as I do, I really think it's important to support each other and be loving towards others, and this is my little way of showing appreciation for those who can do that. So, drum roll please! Here's the very first installment of...

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1. How long have you known each other? How did your friendship begin?

Susannah: I first came across Kaelah's blog in the very beginning of 2010. She was sponsoring another blog I read, and at that point I rarely clicked the ads in the sidebar, but her's stuck out for some reason (I think it was that red hair!!). I think I spent an hour or two reading through her blog that first day, and then followed her and read every post after that. She was just the sweetest thing, and I really admired her philosophy on positivity and self-esteem. I was in a funk in my own life, and the things she was writing really rang true to me in a way that hadn't happened with reading anyone else's blog. She seemed so normal, just a regular girl with fabulous ideas (and a killer wardrobe!). I was smitten :) I think I left comments on her blog when I had something to say, and eventually I took the plunge and emailed her. I can't remember the first email, but it was probably a total fan-girl moment!

Kaelah: I actually had to go dig through my gmail archives to find our first emails, but I think it dates all the way back to April 21st, 2010! That was our first email interaction, at least. She had been commenting on my blog for a bit and after that initial email we started talking pretty frequently! I had just started following her blog after realizing she was a total doll, and she even was so sweet to email me on the day of one of my finals to wish me good luck! Between emails, blog comments and eventually Twitter, it was inevitable that we became close! We also exchanged little PenPal packages, too! This of course led to bigger and better things like a mutli-state week-long roadtrip just last month!


2. How do you two normally communicate?

Kaelah: Like I said above, it started with comments, emails and tweets, but we've got a pretty strong and steady iPhone text stream going! Anytime something awesome or hilarious happens, she's one of the very first people I text. We also have epic Twitter conversations and I'm sure that clogs up anyone's feed if they follow the both of us (oops!). We've talked on the phone once or twice, but probably just so we could both find each other for our meet-ups. We're both awkward and shy but we joke about FaceTiming, too! We're working our way up there!

Susannah: I'm so awkward on the phone, and I have such a weird schedule with work, I rarely choose to talk to anyone by telephone. We mostly text, tweet (too much, sorry everyone!!), and email. One day we WILL FaceTime, though, I'm determined to make that insanely awkward moment happen :)


3. Have you met in person? What was it like to meet that person face to face for the first time? If not, do you plan to?

Kaelah: I have! What a treat! After several months of online banter we decided to meet halfway between Chicago and Nashville (well, we thought it was halfway! Turns out they drove about twice as far as we did!) It was only a day trip so we were only able to hang out for a few hours but it was so worth it! We had a less-than-exciting trip to the Louisville Zoo followed up by some delicious pub food and chit chat. (The highlight post is HERE!) I was super nervous, as usual, because I swear I'm the most awkward person on the planet. We had never talked to Chris before so Mike, Susannah and I had built this online relationship with each other and then there was going to be this 4th person. I wasn't too worried about that because I was sure it would go just fine. I was more worried about looking like a total buffoon! After Chris shared a very interesting story with us, we were feeling right at home with the two of them. Our trip was a short one but I think we all could agree that we knew we'd be meeting up again!

Susannah: We met up in October of last year in Louisville, and recently took a road trip to Wilmington. Seriously, some of the most fun I've had in a long time! Before we actually met in person in Louisville, I was a little nervous. We had talked a lot at that point, but I was still kinda like "Is this really happening??". Chris and I got to the zoo first, and we were waiting on a bench for Kaelah and Mike to get there. We saw them drive up, and I got giddy, like a goofy little school girl! It was silly. They walked up, we hugged, and after that initial moment it just seemed normal. Like we'd met before and it was no big deal that we just drove 600 some miles to come visit them. I still feel kinda bad that I was a little out of it when we were at the zoo, part of it was because of nerves, but mostly it was because I hadn't eaten anything that day (literally, we got up at 5 am and had coffee, and I think we got together at around 2pm). But a little while later we ate dinner and had an awesome conversation (that we'll probably never forget), and I felt much better then!


4. How is your internet friendship different from friendships you have offline?

Susannah: I actually don't really have a whole bunch of friends. I've always been that way, really. Especially with girls (I know there's a lot of people out there who think something is wrong with women who don't have other female friends, but we aren't all bad!). I spent a lot of my formative years being raised by my dad, and I've never had an easy time relating to other women. And in general, I just have never had too many friends. Which is fine with me, I don't need a lot because the ones I have I am fiercely loyal to and love sincerely. So the friendship I have with Kaelah is kind of unique, mainly because she's a girl who isn't related to me who actually likes me, haha. You have to interact with a long distance friend differently, too. Like, I would love it if Kaelah and I could plan a little girl time on a whim, or if we could just go shopping together or grab coffee whenever we wanted. But since there's 600 miles between us, we have to find other ways to keep our friendship going. There's lots of emailing and texting, and I think because of the distance we're much more open to expressing our appreciation for each other. In my non-internet life I'm pretty shy, not nervous shy, but I'm not especially outgoing. But you kinda have to be when you want to make sure someone far away knows you care about them.

Kaelah: Most of my "offline" friendships are with people I've grown up with or gone to school with. Blogging has become such a huge part of my life that they really don't "get it"… well, that's not entirely true. Several of my close friends have taken up blogging but none of them really run with the same blogging circle (Does that sound as weird to read as it does to type?!). Susannah and I have very similar interests in blogs, people, activities, styles, etc. We have a very similar personality and often times it's like we're thinking the exact same thing. I can text or email her about almost anything and she can relate to me on some level. I feel like that is so invaluable in a friendship! I think the distance only adds to our friendship because it's so convenient to drop contact with someone who lives 600 miles away, but we manage to pull it off without a hitch! It's become so obvious to me that my friendship with Susannah is because I genuinely value her as a person and not just because it's convenient. I love that!

5. What drew you to the other person initially? What do you love most about them?

Kaelah: She was always leaving the absolute sweetest comments ever on my blog, and she'd email me to say good luck on an exam, etc. I always thought she had the cutest name, too! I mean c'mon! Susannah Bean! How can you not love that?! Then our conversations became less superficial and more in-depth. We'd email back and forth about personal issues we were both facing and we started to confide in each other. I think that's when I realized just how stellar of a person she was and how much I could count on her to be a solid source of brilliant advice and inspiration. One of the things I love about Susannah is the way she can literally finish my sentence. We rant and rave about all the same things and it's like we're just on the same wavelength. Her relationship with Chris also reminds me so much of mine with Mike and finding a friend where you also love their significant other is a goldmine! (Seriously! If you find one, hold tight! :P)

Susannah: Initially, I just thought Kaelah was the cutest girl in the world. How could you not?! She's adorable! But then I started reading her posts, and she was so amazingly positive that I started to realize that I could gain something from reading her blog. I was going through a transformation that coincided with finding her blog, and it was sort of eerie how I was starting to feel a certain way about myself and here was this girl, blogging the same things I was thinking. I have always been just a tiny bit timid in life, in all aspects, but she has this contagious confidence that rubbed off on me. I think at the point I was in my life, I was ready to become more confident, but reading her blog just sort of pushed me over that line and it came so easily. And I still love that about her, she's an amazing girl that I am proud to call my friend! Plus, we are totally on the same wavelength. We have very similar histories, and our interests are pretty much the same. We kind of have a weird amount of stuff in common, and it's so fun to figure out new stuff that we share! I still appreciate that she didn't let the fact that I was a small-time blogger in comparison to her affect our interaction. I'd always been under the impression (at that point, now I know different), that people with lots of followers didn't have time for people with less than them. I think I only had 30 or so followers when we started talking, but it didn't seem to faze her. It seems silly to have thought that was important, but I thought it reflected her character in a great way.

6. Do you have any other thoughts about the role the internet plays in building new relationships?

Kaelah: I think the internet is a great way to build lasting friendships because I feel like when it comes to blogging online you tend to be much more relaxed. You may not let all the information fly out of your fingertips and onto the world wide web, but you're less pressured to hold back your feelings about certain situations. You're more at ease to just be yourself. This obviously provides a great jumping off point for friendships because you can seek out people with similar interests and values. In my tiny hometown there's one sole person I can stand. Obviously you have to be friends with people because it's convenient (I know you're shaking your head at me but it's true to some extent for everyone.) You lose touch with those people after high school or college because you realize that they weren't really bringing anything valuable to the table. When you meet people online you really have nothing to lose. If you don't really care for that person, stop tweeting them! There's really no awkward passes in the hall or anything! You're more inclined to build lasting friendships with people that really add something to the relationship. It also helps to have someone who is completely unbiased when you talk to them. Maybe a friend offline is frustrating you… You can talk to your "online friends" about it without them being tainted by the surroundings and assumptions about this person. I just think it's a healthy way to go about things. (I'm also really shy, like I've said fifteen times already, so if I can cut out the awkward "Oh hi, I'm Kaelah" nonsense them I'm all for it!) With that being said, 4 out of my 5 closest friends were all met online! These are people that I've been friends with since I was 14 and 15 years old! Yes, way back when MySpace and LiveJournal were popular! They live all over the country… California-turned-Oklahoma, Kansas, Baltimore, etc! I wouldn't trade them for the world! And the best part of it all… Susannah and Chris were there to witness (and take part in) Mike's proposal to me in Wilmington, North Carolina! I'm so tickled that they were there to be a part of that magical night and I'll never forget it. Susannah will also be one of my beautiful bridesmaids! So crazy to think that a few blog comments and emails could lead to having one of the very best friends and someone who I can't wait to celebrate the biggest day of my life with! All in just one year!

Susannah: I actually wasn't very interested in the internet until I went away to college. I lived at my dad's house until I was 20, and he still had dial-up, so I rarely used to internet :) But when I went away to school and had internet that didn't take forever to load, I was blown away! I started exploring what the internet had to offer, and I found a lot of stuff I liked. I remember being in high school and my friends were all on Myspace and talked about meeting people through it, and I thought it was just the weirdest thing. It seemed creepy and unsafe, and I could never imagine wanting to meet someone that I found online. Fast forward to now, and some of the most supportive people in my life are ones that I only know online. I think that if used in the right way, the internet can be an incredible way to meet people. I think that building a friendship with someone online, especially if you have a blog, sort of breaks down any defenses you'd have if you were to have met in person first. I put so much of myself in my blog, as does Kaelah, that I think people who read it already have a good idea of what kind of person I am. I always had this tentative-ness when I met people in real life, questioning whether they really liked me, or if they just didn't know enough about me yet to make a decision. With meeting people through my blog, there's no barriers. You guys know when I have a good day or a bad day, you know what I like and dislike, so all of the B.S. is out the window. You already know if you like someone or not through reading their blog. I appreciate that, it makes things much more simple, I think. I love so many people that I've met online, and while I haven't quite gotten to the point with most of them that I have with Kaelah, I'm certainly not opposed :)

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So there you have it! I'm really excited about Connections, and I hope you guys enjoy it. With that said, I need your help! Have you met someone through the internet that has become a true friend? Would you like to participate in Connections and share your thoughts about the development of your friendship and the role the internet played in it? Send me an email at susannahbean@gmail.com with the subject Connections, and I'd love to feature you and your friend in an upcoming post!

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32 comments:

  1. LOVE it!! And it makes me happy that you two are such good friends! You're both the coolest chicks, and if I lived closer, I'd totally want to hang with both of you!

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  2. Ladies, I loved loved loved this post! I swear I was following you already? Dammit Blogger! Anywho, I love this feature! HIGH FIVE SUSANNAH! I really enjoyed reading about how you two have developed your friendship. It's the sweetest thing! A lot of the things you have said about Kaelah, Susannah, I agree completely. I can't wait to get to know you more Susannah, through your blog. Is it awkward that I maybe wish to be a part of or have something similar to this awesome friendship that you two have? Haha. You gals are great and I can't wait to see more of this feature. As for myself, I have met incredible people through the internet and blogging as well, but I haven't found my Kaelah or Susannah yet. Haha. So, I might be a littl cheesy. You ladies have a fabulous day! :)

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  3. i love this! it's always first viewed as "weird" when you talk about your friends.. from the internet... but this makes it all okay! haha.. it gives me hope

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  4. Love this idea! I really relate to both of you and I think thats really why I always come back to both of your blogs. I'm very shy meeting people therefore don't have a lot of friends either and the ones I make I have trust issues with because they have always been gossipers/backstabbers in the past and it just makes for an awkward relationship. Its awesome you guys have a great friendship and I hope to have a girl friend like that some day! :)

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  5. this was lovely! such a sweet story. i wish i had a great story to share but i am really bad at making friends, haha. i'm really shy and awkward with one on one stuff. most of my friends are people i have known for a really long time (before i wasn't so bad at making friends).
    although, allison from crafted love is coming to visit in june for the wedding! fingers crossed she won't think i'm a total nut!

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  6. I really love this idea. Its amazing to me that people are finding such quality friendships via their blogs.

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  7. seriously best story ever. I love this!! You guys are too cute!

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  8. I LOVED reading this! I think you and Kaelah are both really awesome girls and I like reading your blogs, so it's nice to read this. And I like the idea of your 'Connections' feature.

    By the way, I recognize your 'awkard/shy' thing. I've got it too. Sometimes I hate it, because it makes me feel like I'm some weirdo. On the other side, it's a part of who I am and it's not that bad and embarassing as I sometimes think it is ;)

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  9. AHHH i loved reading this! You two (four) are so lovely!

    Susannah I know what you mean about feeling like you don't connect with many females and then people judging you for that, I also know what you mean about not wanting to be friends with someone simply for convenience!I have one true friend who will understand if we cant meet up due to our schedules, and sends me postcards to remind me she's thinking of me. That is so much more valuable in my opinion than just filling time with people every day. I cherish those small things much more!

    xxxx

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  10. such a beautiful post. I really love reading both of your blogs, and hearing how your friendship blossomed was such a lovely thing to share.

    I completely agree with the kaelah's comments about at school you kind of only have a few people to choose between, and so it's not surprising that you end up with few close friends! And I completely agree with you susannah that fewer, closer, better friends is definitely the way to go.

    I also have a very beautiful friendship with someone I met via cyberspace - although not through blogging so I'm not sure if it's still a story you would be interested in hearing about for a future connections post?

    Thanks again for sharing, this post definitely put a big smile on my face :-) xxxx

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  11. Great idea for a feature. I feel like a total awkward shy person too which is what I've been reading on most of the blogs I love like yours and Kaelah's and Elycia's. I think it's one thing that connects all the crafty bloggers of the world. I hope I can have a cute story like this one day :)

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  12. This is such a cute story. And a great idea, Susannah! <3

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  13. I really LOVE this new segment! Such a wonderful idea! I love you and Kaelah's story! Can't wait for the next "connections" story!
    XOXO

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  14. Love this so much! Like I told Kaelah I swear I thought you two had been like best friends for years because that is how y'all act! =)

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  15. Adorable! I hope I find a friendship like this! I'm extremely socially awkward and most of the friends I've had have not been nice people at all! My best friend is a boy, I'd love to find a best girl friend in my life! In the internet world, there are some not very nice people and also some people who couldn't give a crap about making friends or talking to people, but it's nice when you do find people that do! :) x

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  16. i've been always a loner. never really had a close friend. pretty much the same as elycia, i suck at making friends and it make me feels that i'm such a terrible person. i'm trying to working on that right now.

    this is such a wonderful story. wish one day i'll experience something like this.

    and btw, i think you two are look alike, i mean like sisters look-alike-thing :D probably because you shares the same taste of styles, i guess.

    anyway, thank you for posting this.

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  17. i love this..some of my best friends are from meeting on the internet..actually all of them are.

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  18. What a lovely idea for a regular feature!

    Ayeisha
    x

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  19. i met my boyfriend through flickr!!!

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  20. This is such a wonderful idea, thank you for sharing!!

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  21. This is SOOO CUTE! I think it's an awesome change for those of us who are old enough to feel sufficiently creeped out by the anonymity of the interwebs, to move on as it becomes a more honest and open environment. That it TOTALLY what I love about the blogs that I follow, and the *friend crushes* that I get from finding people that I vibe with. HOORAY FOR CONNECTIONS! This story is such an AWESOME example! Thanks so much for sharing, and I look forward to more!! ♥

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  22. i totally want to do this with kaelah too haha we met on the internet as well!

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  23. Thanks for sharing this I loved reading it! Looking forward to more posts like this!

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  24. This is really cute! I met my first bloggers on Monday...Justine (A New Beginning) and Cal (Boardwalk to Eden)! I plan on meeting another blogger, Amy of Lemon and Raspberry, next Saturday :)

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  25. yes i finally got to read through this - and i loved every bit of it!!!! such a fun feature - thanks for sharing your stories, ladies. both of you amaze me!!!

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  26. Wonderful feature!! Thank you for sharing the positivity :)

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  27. Fantastic. I am definitely going to enjoy this feature.

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  28. seriously one of the neatest features on a blog!!

    I am excited to read more and hope maybe I can be apart of it one day!

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  29. Connections is such a lovely idea.

    I too started blogging to have my say and to express myself but also because I wanted to connect with those that were doing the same thing and to invariably get to know some of those people.

    I have just started following both of your blogs.
    Thank you for all your posts and your pictures, the ideas that they give me and the smiles that I have received from them.

    tara xx

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  30. This is such a wonderful idea!

    I love the idea of connecting & meeting friends through the blog world!

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  31. I loved reading this post. Yours and Kaelah's friendship absolutely tickles me! I love that you met through blogging, yet whenever I read about your adventures it seems like you've known each other for years.

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Hey there! Thanks so much for your comment! I read every one I get, and I try to reply as much as I can. You can also email me if you want! susannahbean AT gmail DOT com.

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