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  • rileysoloner

Hi, Friend

Being on social media makes me feel isolated. So does taking a break. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

The last time I took a long break, I followed some of Derek Sivers’ advice and adopted a system for staying in touch with hundreds of people. I kept up a demanding schedule for the better part of a year. It was a great exercise in maintaining and practicing friendship and communication in a mid-COVID world. Everybody who replied had something great to share. Here’s something else: No matter the amount of time elapsed between me sending a message and receiving a response, almost everybody apologized for not getting back to me sooner. Don't worry about it.

I’m off Instagram once again. The loneliness that makes me want to reach out has returned. I'm not anticipating having the mental energy to stick to a demanding keeping in touch schedule on top of my school work. Although I am considering how I could make it happen. Paring down my contact list. Keeping better track of my mindless internet browsing. Writing shorter emails. And then of course, there’s the good advice from some stranger on a TikTok I saw one time: Stop trying to stay friends with everybody.


I’m 95% finished with the pre-work. My advisor suggested I take the post-test before finishing my final project. The worst possible outcome would be to wait too long to pass the test. A full cohort could relegate lagging students to a waiting list for the next available group. Seems like a glaring flaw for students who paid to start school on a certain date BUT I DIGRESS. I passed my test. I needed an 80% and I scored 89%. Yes!

After I finish the final project, it’s on. I’m going back to school on June 27.

The urge to keep in touch with everybody emerging at such a time is partially an effect of starving my bad habits. But the other part is that I feel like I’m boarding a train headed out of this place I grew accustomed to. I want reassurance from my comfy people. I like the exchange of goodwill between us. It's time consuming but it's worth it. I'm feeling resistance to the inevitable fading away of these friendships from a completely different and bygone side of my life. There is fear of an unknown future. There's a whole new universe of people to get to know. It’s not bad. It’s bound to happen anyway. It has already happened, and now it’s happening again. It would feel great to keep with me as many people that I like and love as I can. It’s important enough to do what I can to make it happen.

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