Last week, I was given the gift of a day spent with a dear soul. Casey, from We Took The Road Less Traveled, was home for a visit, and decided to take a little trip over the mountain to stop in for some tea and chat!
As we talked without drawing breath for, oh, a good four or five hours straight, a blogging connection was cemented into a full-fledged real-life friendship. – We both agreed during the course of that day, that blogging is perhaps the best way to find your kindred spirits.
Blogland can seem a veritable orchard of potential friends just ripe for the picking, can’t it? At first we may be tempted to run from tree to tree filling our baskets to overflowing! But truthfully, who can juggle that many friendships well?? — Or perhaps you’re on the other end of the spectrum: too nervous to risk bridging the gap between the virtual world, and the tangible one?
As bloggers, we all have a degree of connectedness that we try to maintain with our loyal readers, and also a bushel of more “professional” blog relationships that are mutually beneficial. But what about beyond that? How can we sail through these uncharted waters to find the treasure that is blogger friendship?
7 Tips for Navigating Blog-Ships
1. Connect with the blogger – not the blog.
I’m sure we’ve all be drawn powerfully to a blog. Perhaps the aesthetic feel, perhaps the professionalism, perhaps to one post in particular that resonates with us, perhaps we really admire the writing – or photography. But those are not necessarily indicators of friendship compatibility – just good marketing!
2. Start by commenting.
You’ll often get a sense of a bloggers desire to truly connect by whether they thoughtfully answer your thoughtful comments.
3. Give it time.
Just be a reader for a while…find out what’s important to them, and what makes them tick by reading their blog. You will learn so much about a person purely by observation. I’ve been guilty of contacting a blogger, eager to forge a relationship based on one or two posts that rock my world – but then several posts down the line, I feel a complete disconnect.
4. Silence speaks.
If you e-mail them, and don’t hear back for weeks, chances are, they don’t have time for another substantial friendship in their life right now.
5. Be open-armed yet thick-skinned.
Don’t be afraid to extend the hand of friendship, but know that not everyone will accept it. Believe that true kindred spirits will find and respond to each other. Set your expectations dial to “reasonable”. Don’t feel like you have to respond to a connection if you don’t feel the potential yourself. Just politely thank them for their interest, but let them know that your plate is full right now.
6. Don’t expect your blog friends to have compatible blogs.
My closest blog friends have blogs that are either much larger/much smaller than mine, or are very different content-wise. Sure, it makes it more challenging to support each others blog when they are so dissimilar – but when you are looking for friendship, be willing to look beyond the obvious-to-the-casual-glance people/blogs that seem just like you/yours. Friendship can be found in surprising places sometimes!
7. Be considerate.
This goes without saying for all friendships, of course, but especially when you are nurturing a new blogging friendship – be aware that you have no idea what their daily life looks like. How many friendships they desire, or are currently trying to juggle IRL. Some people aren’t comfortable with giving out their phone numbers, or even snail mail addresses. Respect that. If they are larger bloggers, realize that they may receive requests for blates multiple times a week. They may feel that they are giving out little pieces of themselves all day long, and have nothing left at the end of the day for themselves, their husbands, or their family. Respect that too.
Blogships, by nature, may have a few more quirks that accompany them, but if you’re up for the learning curve, the rewards of connecting with kindred souls, who also share the blogging lifestyle is such a treat.
To Blogging! To Friendships! To Blogships!