S4 E25 - 4:27:22, 4.03 PM
8:08PM Apr 27, 2022
Lee Skallerup Bessette
All right. Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode of the other things ADHD podcast. Oh, we'll do things. Other things. I am one of your co hosts Lee Skallerup Bessette. And I am another one of your co hosts, Amy. Hope Morrison. Awesome. So, I wanted to talk today about friendship, particularly when you are neurodivergent. And the reason why I was thinking about talking about that today is because I don't know if you I'm sure you did see the news. You've probably commented on the news on Canadian media outlets, but Elon Musk bought Twitter
which has caught shaking my head at you. The because yes, in fact, I have done two interviews on as you are so careful to describe a Canadian media that would be talk radio, and Winnipeg, Manitoba and global national TV news yesterday. I remember when I was like, in our neurodivergent hangover episode, we were joking about how I needed Mark Zuckerberg to stop doing stupid things because I had grading to do well guess what? Now it's Elon Musk. And I still have grading to do dudes knock it off.
Yes, seriously. Anyway. And so this has led to the
usual but also unusual hand wringing from a lot of people that I know and love on Twitter saying that they are now officially going to leave Twitter.
Yeah. And I had a bit of, you know, I was talking about it last night and with my husband and kids, and you know, the kids don't really care because they're not on Twitter. And my husband thinks Twitter's a dumpster fire, which means probably not wrong, either. But our head, I got really upset because I was like, I don't actually have any friends. Right now. I only have social media friends, most of whom I know because of Twitter through and stay connected with because of Twitter. And if Twitter goes away, like I lose all my friends like it's just like, that's it. And I
yeah, I like I think you and I have been hyping for Twitter on almost every episode. Yes, podcasts that that we've done, right? Like we're always talking about how much we love Twitter and how it suits our interactional style. And you know, the handles we give out with the episode, we give out our Twitter handles first and our email address. Second, you know, and Marie can say what he wants about Twitter and maybe it is a trash fire, but it's my trash fire. Yes, man. It's keeping me warm through the long, cold midnight of my devastated social life. And I had kind of a bad evening last night, I don't mind saying I was upset. Actually, I was upset. You know, oligarchies are gonna oligarchy. That's a thing. But you know, I have built up a large part of my social life through Twitter as well. And to feel it that's under threat. Now, you know, from a man who's like, and my first order of business will be taking the W out of the brand name so that the site will be called Twitter. Right? Like, have you really? Yeah, tweeted that a couple of weeks ago. And yeah, like, great. That guy's in charge. I don't like feel super about my prospects for continuing in the happy place that I have developed for myself on this website. But But yeah, like you, I think it was like, well, first, Elon Musk is an asshole. Don't ask me. Maybe you won't be able to anymore. It's hard to say. So there's that. But mostly, I was like, but my friends, what will I do? If I have to leave Twitter? What will I do if Twitter becomes overrun with porn accounts? Ads for masculinity supplements, and the Daxing brigades and we all have to leave what will I do? Ye? What will you do what we don't do? I don't know. I saw I saw the this because because here's the thing about Gen X is a forgotten generation as well as what a lot of people don't think about is that like Gen X made Twitter what it is. Sure, you know, it was it was all of us in our early 30s, who had just started families and were born
and embrace web 2.0. But so I saw like a meme that was saying, like we live through. You know, we live we've lived through PVS we've lived through early email. We've lived through IRC, we live through, you know, Myspace Friendster. Yeah. And Goddamnit I'm getting too old for this. I can't learn yet another one.
I remember the fail whale. That's how long we've been on Twitter. Yeah, the fail whale.
Yeah. Yeah. Oh, I love the fail whale that was like, you know, then you went on Facebook to complain? Well,
the fail well on Twitter, right complain about it on. And now you go on Twitter to complain that all of Facebook and Instagram and WhatsApp are down.
Remember that comes time to Yeah, that's a good time to so you know, it's not like I'm going to all of a sudden, like start doing tick tock, I guess.
Doesn't seem like me, but maybe I don't know. And it was like and so like, some of the people are going to message on and some of the people are it's like, let's go to discord and some of them. And I'm just like, No, we were all in the same. No. And it's not the same. Even. Even my husband was like, well just start a group chat. And I'm like, that's not
a chat. Oh my god. 1000 people. That's adorable where I'm starving it 150 times a day like nobody will.
Nobody wants that. No. I mute group chats all the time. I never mute Twitter. I go when I want. Yeah, I did I have turned off for a long time. I I did turn off push notifications on. Oh, my God. I don't have one does a push notification. Lee. No. Turn all of that off. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you're getting push notifications from your washing machine. I remember. Yes. Right. I'm just like, leave me alone. Everybody forever.
I'll let you know when I want to talk. Yeah. Although I do appreciate it letting me know. So my clothes don't get moldy. Like I kind of like Right, right. Yeah. But but but again, this, this caught me thinking and it's something we've we've kind of touched on even over the past few weeks is that interactions with other human beings for us who are neurodivergent are challenging. And one of those is certainly friendships. And also, we are now of a certain age, and our kids are also of a certain age where those kinds of natural connections that we would have been facilitated. If not, I'm not saying easy. I'm just saying facilitated by having to organize playdates or going to birthday parties or going to other social events where parental supervision was a requirements. You know, now they're at the age where you they make their own plans, you drop them off, they don't even want you to get out of the car. And like, you know, nobody is ever heard from again.
That's true. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, we've discussed a little bit previously, like, my joke of Twitter is an access technology for neurodivergent people social media in general, right, because like, as you know, as our listeners know, social media is my research area. Yes. And so I spent a lot of time thinking about social media what it does and does not offer to people and, you know, there's there's always been a lot of critique of social media as like, you know, put the phone down and go outside and, and see your real friends, right. But sometimes, for some people, going outside is not an option. Seeing your real friends is not an option. And even having kids around is not an option. If you find yourself at the center of the bell curve in every possible way. Maybe you're living that Dickon Jain lifestyle where you just like pop out your front door, and there's a neighbor with a casserole and Little Billy down the street, got a brand new bike and you want to go down to the creek together and we can do some fishing. Like that's just not You know how some of us live our lives. Some of us were bullied relentlessly as children for being weird. And we found first the Columbia record and tape club so that we could listen to emo music and make friends with our band T shirts, right? As some of us lived rich imaginary lives inside of books, thinking about friends we might have if we didn't live where we lived. Some of us are cripplingly shy and really wanted to go to the party, but read about them in Sweet Valley High books instead. But a lot of us, people with sensory issues, people with mobility issues, people who talk too much people who have, you know, either too slow or too fast processing of everything, really found that the sort of semi synchronous text based or meme based new social platforms for interpersonal communication, that stuff like Facebook, or Snapchat or Twitter, or Instagram provided was the only time that we've ever felt popular. Yeah, or good at socializing. Right. And it wasn't about you know, collecting likes and collecting clout for many of us the capacity to interact with other humans in this way. led us to a place were like, Oh, maybe I, I can have friends. Right? Maybe I am a person that other people like to be around people will find my contributions interesting or funny, or they think that I'm kind that I'm someone who's there for them all the ways that I like to think of myself, but I've really always struggled to pull off in so called real life. Yeah. Right. So this idea that, that social media is not real socializing, I think is very ablest. It's very ablest to people to say that, because for some of us, that's really the only socializing we've ever been
good at. Yeah. Yeah. And I think that that's, and then I was reflecting even more on it, where, you know, the, I've, even before I knew I was ADHD, or I shouldn't say even before I knew, but before I knew I was ADHD, you know, I used to say, I am the most myself on Twitter that I have ever been. And that makes a lot of like, now even knowing why that is and how that works. And how I managed to do that how people like us managed to do that. It's hard to go back to I'm like, Yeah, I you know, I don't want, you know, I was like, I'm okay, well, I was okay, at masking. I don't know if I'm okay, at masking anymore.
Today, if you want to, I don't know if I want to. But I also don't want my RSD to kick my ass because I'm bad at interpersonal relationships, because I can't be bothered to mask anymore. And don't want to because that's not authentically who I am. But at the same time, you know, people don't really like all the time, who I am authentically and so like, so you end up in this sort of cycle as we tend to do that that can spiral. And I'm so again, it's just sort of like, I don't know,
again, people will listen to this and take for what they want. It's like, well, that's terrible. But I don't know how to be a social human being 40 something year old woman with ADHD. Without Twitter. Right? Yeah, that's just it's so we've been there for so long. And it's so engrained with this journey that I've been on in terms of coming to terms and accepting and embracing my neuro divergence that it's sort of like how do you how do you even you can untangle that? I know, I don't want to and I don't know. Now this is less about friendship and more about digital identity versus real identity. But
I know it's not it's not relate. It's not like, you know, there's a scholar who works on this Morrison and Morrison, right. Takes a rhetorical genre theory approach to social media and says that these apps that we make, like I put a selfie up today of my eyeliner, which makes me look awake today. And that's self expression, right? It's it's creating an avatar of myself in the world, right? So in that sense, it's an autobiographical act, I'm telling a story about me. But I'm doing it for an audience right, whose participation I am soliciting, it is a bid for connection is what it is, right? So like identity, digital identity, it's not a digital identity necessarily, it is your identity, such as it is practiced in digital spaces, right? It's it's not a role that you put on and take off, right, though in the way it's sometimes that like, socially acceptable parent Lee has to be when she goes to parent teacher meetings, right? Like you put on your like, normal person, Dragon, you're like, these are the things I'm going to say these are the things we're going to do. But in these spaces where we feel like I'm just gonna blurt out some jokes about Elon Musk today. And catastrophize about stuff. And nobody's going to ask me if I need to talk to a therapist about this because this is acceptable in this space. It's something I'm good at. It's authentic. Part of my sort of emotional coping and friendship toolkit is to do these things in these spaces. I'm like, what would be my outlet for that type of socializing that I'm really good at. I would just be jumping into everybody's conversations in real life all the time standing on a soapbox and making pronouncements which like, let's be honest, is kind of what I was doing in the age before social media. Just people are not not as receptive to that. Right. And so I mean, I think people will find me online to be quite reciprocal. People want to add me unless it's about Elon Musk is actually good guy and you don't understand him well enough, like Miss me with that, please. But I talked to people who who asked me, I'm there I will DM with people who need my help. I can be a generous friend. Online. There's something about that mode of interaction that allows me to match my behavior to my intentions, and for those behaviors and intentions to be equally legible to the audience, which is to say the other person I'm communicating with in ways that thing that I struggle with in person, people sometimes find me overbearing, when I'm trying to be friendly. People think I talk too fast, and I interrupt them and stop listening with my mouth, when I can do that, or they're a little bit put off by the kind of just general vibe of intensity that emanates from my entire self, and they find it intimidating. When I'm not right. Like I'm not intending to be I'm like, it's like, remember, I've said on this podcast before about how I talk to my students, I'm like, This is my intense caring face. You look alarm, please know that this and I will like draw a circle around my face. This is me caring intensely about your writing. I don't have to narrate that online. Right. And so I don't think there's anything inauthentic about that. And I don't like really know, what part of that is, is digital identity. And what part of that is like, Oh, this is a space. That's like, it's an environment that's not disabling to me. Right? So that's like, what I mean, when I say it's an access technology, as like you're not, you know, asking somebody with mobility issues to climb stairs, you're like, oh, this flat space, right? Is is my flat space identity? Well, though, it's just your identity without barriers in it that prevent you from achieving your goals. Right? I
think that's important. Yeah. No, definitely. And then, because I was thinking about that, too, is that like, some very often and again, this is my more extroverted nature. But my hyper focus in a lot of cases are other people. And so I get, and I've learned this about myself to where it's just like, it's the all or nothing sort of thing. And it's, oh, yeah, no, that can be really intense with that. But I can also just get really intense with people. And some people really appreciate that. And other people do find it off putting, because it's just like, wow, why did she so into this? Like, really? Like we literally just met what is going on?
Stop being so interested in me? Yeah. So I'm very interested in and intense, but intensely interested. And like, you know, you can, you can, again, it's like if you're if I've, particularly new people, and again, there's new, the novel, and all of that, and it's not all new people, but most new people, I can find something that they are really interested in, I'm good at that. And then like their excitement and interest in it rubs off on me, and I'm now yes becomes my hyper focus, not that I'm going to all of a sudden start becoming obsessed with that thing. Or a single way of females situation. No, but it's like, I become obsessed with your obsession where I'm just like, that's worrying about this.
Like, tell me more about how much you love this thing, and then like spout off about it. And it's less about the things that they're saying and how they're saying it and that kind of energy. Yeah.
Yeah, that's also weird. That's the energy vampire again. Yeah. Don't make me break out my accents. I will try not to do it. Yeah. That you enjoy seeing other people be excited about things. Yeah, exactly. And I mean, what is Twitter? But 200 million people being excited about stuff? Yeah. All you believe? Yeah.
Yeah, it's true. And so it's, it's, so this is, this is the kind of thing so we have all of it. We have this rich, you know, world online, and in a lot of cases, was great, particularly during the pandemic. And then so what happens when you take that away? Like, how do we, and again, this is, this is as much about digital strategies as it is in person strategies, because then it's like, okay, well, let's say the worst thing in the world happens. And like, everybody does, like Twitter just really does turn into a literal dumpster fire, as opposed to the figurative one that we write, you know, everything that everyone we're not gonna say everything, every one that was good on Twitter. Right, however you want to define good on Twitter, migrates, like they just leave, right? And then, and then what? Right, like, and that's where I'm sort of right now. And it's, it's, it's weird, because, and this is also just kind of a feature of just how we how our family has moved involved. But like, every time I've started making friends in places, because it's hard for me, we've immediately moved, right? It was like, Oh, I began to started being invited to book clubs. And oh, the other parents on the swim team actually invited me to things and oh, and then it's like, bye, see you later.
We're moving someplace else. And yeah, yeah. And like you and I, Lee are not going to say let's, you know, let's stay in touch. Here's my you know, pen and paper, please write down your postal address and your landline telephone number and I will add you to my Christmas card list. And perhaps our family's like, fuck that noise. Like, I'm not going to do that. I absolutely. Can't do that. And, like so much of the maintenance of what sociologists call the weak tie networks, which is what we're talking about, right? weak tie networks, which is somebody who knows somebody who used to date The person that was your roommate, but you both really liked the Smiths. And now you're Mutual's on Twitter. And it's kind of fun because you talk about 80s music sometimes is a person you would have entirely lost touch with. If you had to have a paper address book, or like, God help me write them emails to stay in touch, right? Like, that's not going to happen. I care deeply about my friends, and I care not in substantially even about my weak tie friends, but like, I do not have the executive function. Right. Yeah, to remember to stay in touch with them in the ways that would reflect the level of care that actually have for them. Right. Like, because out of sight, out of mind. Well,
and and it's also the kind of time blindness to right where you're just like, oh, yeah, we just talked. No, we didn't we haven't spoken in two years. Yeah. And you're like, really?
I thought I could have sworn we just talked. Alright, you know, I'm like, next week? Yeah. Just like, I'll call you next week. And then it's six months later. Yeah. Yeah. It's like, How are your kids liking school? It's like to be in grad school. Because last time we talked, my kids were in grade 10. But now, like, we just don't have the executive function to track everybody that way. Right? And, and what I like about social media is like, I have created my own party, right? My own party of like, 6000 people. So if those people over here, 600 people over here, 200 people over there. And whenever I walk into the room that hosts my party, I'm going to see something by somebody that I have decided is important to me. Yeah. And I can engage it. I don't have to remember. Like, it asked me to name like, the 2500 people I follow on Twitter, I have no idea what their names are. But like if we were to go through my feed right now. And you said, well, this person just tweeted this. And I'd be like, oh, yeah, last week, they were tweeting about blah, blah, blah, right, because that's how my brain works. I'm not going to be able to tell you what their names are. But there's going to be weird stuff that I remember about them. And I'm able to do the friendship part of being friends in online spaces where I've created a series of giant cocktail parties that I just get to roam the room, and everybody is there. And if I see somebody fall down, I can go help them, right. Or if somebody's like having a side party, I can wander over and join it. But I because it's right in front of me, and I can see it and I can do it. And it allows me to be my best self in ways that like sending out Christmas cards like Lee, you and I, how many times have we exchanged postal addresses with one another? Like a lot? Yeah, I know. And you mailed me something last year, and I wrote you a thank you card, and I never sent it. And I bet you, but I haven't moved in like 14 or 15 years. I bet you you don't have my address anymore? No, no. So if you're gonna send me something, you would have to ask me for it. Now again, one of my best friends lives in Montreal. And every time that I go to visit her and I have visited her a lot, I have to ask for the address again, even though taxis dropped me off there. All the time. I'm like, I just I wrote it down somewhere. I can't find it. There's seven entries for you. And my address book. And I don't know which addresses this one looks familiar. Or like, I opened up a Google Map. I'm so embarrassed, I'll open up a Google Map. And like, I know which subway station is her subway station. And they'll just like zoom in on the map and like do my pedestrian route until I see the street. That is the street that she lives on. I'm like, okay, that's what it's called like that. It's embarrassing.
My dad has lived in the same apartment for God, probably 30 years now.
I have no idea what his addresses. And I asked him every time and he gets so mad at me. He's like, how do you not know my address? And I just I'd like and then search through my emails for it. And I'm like address, but I'm like Cornwall, and then like, all this other stuff pops up. And I'm like, I can't even find it in my 80 million emails that
Oh, I know. I've done that too, where you start like, they kick which keyword searches you can do in your email that's most likely to bring up the one thing you want not 75 Other things that you don't want. Yeah, like those are there's two kinds of friendship problems we have. The first friendship problem is we completely lack the executive function, to keep in touch with people who are not in our face all the time, even if we love them dearly. We just really struggle with knowing where they live, and remembering to contact them out of sight out of mind. The second friendship problem we have is that our modes of interaction with people, particularly people who are neurotypical can sometimes strike them as alarming in ways that we do not seem to notice until we're already at home and then can't sleep because we think we've just ruined all of our friendships. Those are our two main friendship problems is that interpersonally sometimes we do not come across the way that we are trying so hard to come across and then when we are not immediately in contact with the people But that we care about we utterly lack the ability to stay in touch with them in a meaningful way. Yeah. And social media solves both of those problems for us. Yeah.
Yeah. And I think like the, I think that that's the other thing that it because you, you brought it up. And I want to go back to the point about how we have, we follow so many people and you and people will say, how do you keep track, you can't possibly be friends with all of these people. You can't even possibly have weak ties with all these people. But it's, it's the ability, though, to hold all of that in our head. But also, I think that this is embarrassing, it's impulsive in our heart as well. Right? Is that? I don't know if it's a neurodivergent thing, I think probably, but like our capacity to be able to actually care deeply about these people. Yeah, right. About the weak ties that cared deeply about them. And that's part of the reason why we're able to remember so much about them. I mean, there's also that we have shared interests that we nerd out over. And so of course, all of that gives a nice dopamine hit, but it's, it's like legitimately care
in ways that a lot of people find again, weird, right? Like, why, why and how do you care about these people? Um, and that's,
I think the other thing that is difficult for for somebody, like my husband, let's say, to understand,
is that like, No, I legitimately love these people. Right? Yeah. Like, you know, not being mad or anything like that. But I love these like, I mean, I have cried with them. I have, you know, celebrated with them. I have watched their children grow. I have seen gone through, you know, devastating career setbacks, like I mean, we've gone through it. And like, yeah, those ties where it's not just sort of a reserved, like,
like you said, it's about connection and not necessarily exposure. Right. Yeah. Not just exposed to these people. I am literally in communion with them. And we are maybe they're not experiencing in the same way I am. But I am definitely experiencing this
to be connected. Yeah, so I think you've, you've hit on something here. So like the concept of weak ties and strong ties, that's from Mark Granovetter. Right. So strong ties are people who, like, if you were in a car accident, you might call with still the snot running down your face, because you're freaked out because you can't get a hold of the insurance company. And you're really afraid about how much this is going to cause these are people you know, or like ride or die. That's your strong tie network. And weak tie network is, you know, one of my grad students applying to a program at a different university. And I'll be like, oh, yeah, so and so works there. I had them at a conference, you know, we're running friends on Twitter, right? And I can put you in touch with them like that's a weak tight network, not somebody would call when you are in extremis. But somebody told me you have a connection that you can activate when there's a reason for it. And so the sociologist Robin Dunbar from this proposes like you may have heard of it the Dunbar number. So the Dunbar number is about how many of which types of ties most people have, and how many they can manage. So in that strong tie network, the innermost ring of the Dunbar circle is usually five to eight people. It's often three, right? Those are your very closest people think like your very best friend, your spouse, like maybe your parents, if you're close to your parents, somebody you've known since childhood, like those are, those are your very close people, you know, all of their birthdays, by heart, right? You have lots of stories about them, they know some shit about you, right? You've seen some things together. Those are your close ties. And then the outer circle, right of the people who are not in that first circle would be people that you work with, you know, people that you go to classes with people in your running group or you know, people that are like at a sewing meetup that you go to you might have 30 to 50 maybe 100 people in there. And this as social media allows us to connect with more and more people more and more tenuously. There's like an even bigger outer ring from that, which is like, Oh, we're Mutual's on Twitter, I think right or, you know, when you read, you'll do this to Tom. Now I'll be like reading the New York Times that I'm like, Oh, this is really good article by this person. But I know them on Twitter. Right. I don't I don't know them in person. I don't know how tall they are. But we've had interactions like I'll say like, oh, and Helen Peterson sometimes answers my replies to her tweets. Were like friends almost. Right. So that's like an outside circle. And, you know, so the critique that people make Social media is that it's expanding our idea of friends beyond what the Dunbar number would seem to support. Except it is a technology that allows us actually to sustain a much bigger weak tie network, if that's what we want, instead of 30 to 50 people that you sort of see regularly enough that your kids soccer game or at the pool or in your running group, or who work with your husband, or like those types of that you sort of see them every couple of months. And that maintains the weak tie network people that you see on your Twitter feed, right? You can maintain much higher numbers of weak ties that way, and like you'll recall, last week, when I was being a jerk, about how boring everything is for me, because people don't talk fast enough, and I need 10 people to be talking at the same time. Otherwise, like, I'm a bitch. I listened to that episode. And I sound like a real a jackass because I I am and, but that's what I love about social media is I can be doing DM conversations with eight people at the same time. And I'm fully present in each of them. And I'm also like, posting stuff because Twitter moves as fast as I can. And so it turns out what was holding me back from having sort of productive and mutually satisfactory friendship relationships with people was not my capacity for emotional connection. It was not the level of attention I was willing to bring to them. It was not the sort of mutuality of our interests. It wasn't that I was too weird or intense. The problem was, I forget they exist when I don't see them. Yeah, right. Or that I don't have the technology that is basically like a digital personal assistant for friendships. Yeah, for me, right. It takes all the planning and the meetups. It's not like, well, maybe
like, I'll go to Tim Hortons after school, because like, usually, that's where everybody goes, right? So I don't have to make plans. I'll just probably see people they're like, that's Twitter. And if it's not Twitter, then it's my Instagram. And if it's not Instagram, sometimes it's it's Facebook. Yeah. Right. So particularly for neurodivergent people who's kind of needs for stimulus might be a bit bigger, who have trouble, you know, going to someone's house and you know, opening a bottle of wine and sitting on the couch and listening to jazz and just sharing feelings because it's too slow. Right? We'll do that over Diem while going for a walk in the park or going on a long run? Or, or what have you, right, so, so I think sometimes not like, what's wrong with me? Because I'm more socially successful on social media. It's more like, oh, in what ways? Does this particular platform enable the best parts of me as a friend to be visible, while minimizing the amount of damage that the worst parts of me as a friend tend to bring into my friendships? Does that make sense?
Yeah, no, that makes perfect sense. And part of my thing is like, you have the weak ties and the strong ties. And, you know, again, I've always had trouble seeing hierarchy. And I, that's a problem with with seeing the hierarchy in terms of like closeness and or strength or weakness of top. It's right. Yeah, yeah, I've made the mistake. That it's sort of like,
well, we have a strong tie. So I will call you in tears after an accident in Brisbane on the line. Why are you calling me? Right?
Like, have that kind of relationship? Like, you know, and so it's, it's so for me, that's one of the other things is that it's that intensity part to where it's just like, oh, well, we're
best friends. Now. You know, how many divergent people are like that? I've had that experience. Oh, my God. Oh, well, friends now. And then the other person is like, I don't really understand what the hell's going on with you. I have my own best friend. I don't know what you're, you know what you're seeing right now. I'm not looking for any more friends. Right now. Yeah. Like don't close ties. Right. Like we have weak ties. That's pretty cool. But like, and so like that, there's so that's sort of like an internalized anxiety that I have as well, right. It's just like, Yeah, you know, I don't, you know, there's the whole idea of like, not wanting to be a burden. But then there's a whole idea of also, and I might be unburdening myself to somebody who is not expecting me to because they don't think we have that kind of relationship. And then all of a sudden the weak tie has also been erased because yeah, that because you made it weird, because I made it weird. Yeah. Boundaries. Boundary boundaries. Yeah. So this is like, I mean, that's very interesting. I think that's definitely a wrinkle. It makes me think of, like Victorian social norms like, now we would say, like a social you want to make friends with somebody ask them something about themselves, right? Oh, that's a beautiful dress. Where did you get it? And you'll be like, well, I made it actually like, Oh, do you so right, so we consider it polite. To ask people questions and Victorian social norms are different. You made statements. Write, like, the weather is beautiful today. And then someone would say, Yes, I have tended to my garden today. And then you might answer like, I also have a garden, I prefer flowers. And then you might say like, I grow vegetables, right? So there are no questions there. That each statement is meant to be an invitation for a reciprocal statement where nobody is, is badgering anybody else for stuff? And so like for cheese making steak, well, that's what I was going to say is, is that like, you know, something bad happens, like, I don't know, lots of bad things have happened to me, what am I get, I get aggravated, because I can't get a vaccine. I'm really upset because it was like, Oh, just call the 75 pharmacies, and check these 32 websites. And like, don't you know, anybody who works in this field and and what I will do, instead of like, calling my poor sister, like to overburden her with my emotional tantrums, again, I will just go on Twitter and make a statement, which is to say, I am really struggling with everyone telling me I'm not trying hard enough to get a vaccine. I am trying as hard as I can. And then people who are like, we're not that kind of friend. They just don't answer. But I haven't sent them an email saying, dear friend who doesn't want to hear this, I need you to emotionally support me. Through this. I put a statement on Twitter. And it's been amazing to me how many people are like, Oh, I'll take that one. Right here. I come just like I see lots of stuff on Twitter and some things I respond to. And some things I don't use. I'm like, Oh, I have the energy for this today. And actually, I think I have the expertise that you need. Let me weigh in, right. Yeah, so so it's a little bit more not I am making a demand of any of my friends. I'm putting a statement out into the world. And sometimes that lands with a Fudd. And nobody wants to talk to me about Chopin. Where are all the Chopin people on Twitter? They're not on Twitter, I will tell you that. They're probably not on Twitter. And it's a very small number of people, right? Because I'm dry just make these statements and they sort of land but Okay, great. But no harm no foul, right. It's just my poor husband who's like, Oh, God, we're gonna talk about Chopin again, or I feel like I have a doctor to play. It's like, Oh, great. I can't wait to hear about it. Every coming out. No, right. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Tell me more about your like new loot and get your impact. But I can put those out as statements. And there's like, you know, on my Facebook potential audience of 600 people, some of whom are just gonna be like, I cannot deal with this today and just keep scrolling. Yeah. And again, it doesn't hurt my feelings, because the social norms of Twitter is not like, I can see the names of the people who saw my tweet or my Facebook post or whatever. And they'll be like you saw it, and you didn't answer like, yeah, I don't have time for that. Nobody has time for that. Right? It's just like, whoever shows
up as a tab. Well, I've seen I see every worldly nothing, right? Like, yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. So. So like, what's really great that is that it removes that, that bet. So sometimes we forget to stay in touch with friends that we care about, because when they're not directly in front of us, we forget that they exist. And sometimes we miss judge the level of intimacy and intensity, they're willing to engage with us and we imperil a friendship that way by like, Oh, I wish like, oh, like Lee's gonna leave. I see. It's Lee on the phone. She was really weird about shit. Last time, I was like, just trying to make supper and she was like talking about her feelings. I'm like, we're not that kind of friend, right. And you can have that happen to you a couple of times. Like, if that's happened to me, too, that can happen to you a couple of times. And then it makes you very wary of sharing anything with anybody, right? So that you don't even disclose anything. And superficially, your friends are not abandoning you. But they're not really being your friends, either. Because you don't know who you can talk to about the things that you want to talk to. But you're so afraid that if you talk to the wrong person about it, that person will be your friend anymore. Yeah, right. It's a minefield, it's a minefield, and when you have sort of time blindness and social blindness, I like most of us have impulsivity problems and blurting problems and oversharing problems. I be more gifts, if you will, right. That we're always aware that we might Yeah, they keep on giving and giving and giving and giving excessive verbiage till the end of time, that we're kind of afraid to make use of our friends as friends, because we don't want to push them away. And then sometimes we just blunder into error. Because we have misread a situation, which is also something we do and and so social media is an access technology in those ways, because we could just make statements and whoever wants to engage them, can engage them. And when someone asks a question online, and you jump in and help people tend to be happy. Yeah, about it. Yeah, right. Yeah, exactly. And I think I'm, I am grateful that we are out of this phase is that there was the added stress for me Have knowing particularly I don't know why it's particularly with girls. It wasn't it wasn't the same with Leo. But like, you've got to make friends with the moms in order to get the girl into the girl group. Oh, god. Yeah. Good with the moms in order for and like,
and again, as a result of us moving around so much a lot of these like, yes. Like kids all went to preschool together and I'm like, I just got here.
You know, okay, I try not to, you know, and then it's like, try not to be weird, because if I'm weird, then that might negatively impact and, you know, we'll need to probably negatively impact my daughter's relationship with them. And so, you know,
now it's sort of like, okay, well, I'm just gonna hang back. And thank goodness, I think, goodness, I
started coaching swimming, because that was always my sort of excuse, right? It's like, I'm really sorry, I can't stick around. I've gotta go coach. Right. All right, that's good. Well, when I was like, you don't really want me here. Yeah, in part, yeah. Wanted to right. Part of me wanted to win. Like, I'd love to make friends with these people. And then you know, like, and then part of me either looks like a jerk, or, because you're all very boring. Or, you know, I'm gonna blurt out something inappropriate, or, you know, I'm gonna do my weird thing. And, like, oh, okay, we're gonna, you know, take that step away from you a little bit, and I'm just gonna stanners or awkwardly on the side. And instead, I'm just like, I'm gonna go, coach.
Yeah, like that episode, your episode we did with Kelly remember? Yeah. Because she talked about this a lot, too. But oh, my god, the moms write about how they all somehow have the same haircut. The same? Clothes are like, God, I missed the memo. But also, I don't want to get that memo. Because y'all look weird. And I don't like it. And also, I'm freaked out. And how do you all know that it's kale now, instead of Sae. I don't know. How did you know how to pronounce as I don't care about these things? Oh, God, I'm making it weird. Like I start hyperventilating? That's yeah, good. Yeah. Yeah, so So sort of meeting people, by chance. And based on geographic proximity is maybe not the best way for statistically anomalous people to find friends, right? Again, if you're at the center of the bell curve, it stands to reason that wherever you find yourself, you will be in the majority, right, in some way or another. When you are an outlier. In terms of your interests, or your abilities, or your self presentation, or your embodiment or your like, whatever identity, or your interactional style, it's just going to be harder for you to relate to people that you happen to meet, because their kids are the same age as your kid, right? And they will have trouble relating to you like, that doesn't seem to be a great way to make friends. For adults, like we would have a better time maybe making friends sometimes around shared interests. Like, you know, I took yoga classes for many years, and I made friends there. Because we had a shared interest. And if nothing else, we had nothing in common, like we would have that in common. And it's the same with the group that I was running with. And it was nice to meet people who were not in the same line of work as me who are not exactly the same as me, but we were presented with those. But those things too is like there's an activity that you're doing at the same time. Yes, right. Like I would even do like a let's go clean up a park by picking up garbage like is this there's something to do? And then we can do that. But it's like this business of like, oh, there go our kids into the dance studio. Now. We're all gonna sit on this couch for an hour and a half. Oh, shit. Yeah. What am I supposed to talk about? Or not talk? What am I supposed to not talk about? Don't be weird. Don't be weird. Don't be weird. Don't be weird people. Like why are you making that terrible face like Dobby? Oh, shit. I said that part out loud. It's just quiet. Yeah, you know, like trying to find people who are going to get you because their kids do the same activity as your kid is about as Twitter, right? Like, the odds are vanishingly small. And you're going to feel like there's something wrong with you when really you're just not in your right social group. So social media gives us access through like hashtags, and groups and stuff to affinity communities, like not even like I only hang out with ADHD people online because I'm so weird. I can only help this like, No, I like, I like to participate in conversations about Taylorism and Ford is because like, those are interests of mine, or I like to, you know, talk about mindfulness or how best to make a class video or I want to talk about, I don't know what we do in the shadows or Ted lasso and stuff and I could just find that group of people that wants to have that. conversation and participate in that conversation. Because it's topic based, not identity based.
Yeah, exactly. That's, it's one of the things that I've, when the kids aged out and the you know, they, I won't coach anymore. I'm gonna go back to Masters swimming. Because a we have a shared interest, but also swimmers are weird.
Yeah. And no matter where I go and coach and swim, there's always the same types of people whose hair and like your bicycle types. Like, even when I was coaching collegiately way back, I was like, I was I was amazed because I change countries. I was like, I just wanted with someone like exactly like you. You're exactly like sounds Oh, my goodness, you're exactly
like so. And so icewine was something like you probably know, like, there's four types. And those are the only ones who swear, because we're the only ones crazy enough to do this.
Yeah, so also, that's like a social situation for you that you're comfortable in. Right? It repeats in different locations. So you're like, I did the hard work of learning? Who is in these spaces, what the four types are, what the rules of interaction are, I'm very comfortable doing this, right? So I feel at ease in these spaces, because I feel like I'm not going to make a mistake, right? I'm not gonna be like, Oh, we don't wear shoes here, right? Or like, Oh, nobody brings ambrosia salad. You're like, I didn't know, like, what the rules were the, the unspoken rules of stuff, right? So in a space where you figured out the unspoken rules, you're more comfortable, right? So wherever you go, that's like, wherever I go, I like to go to yoga classes, because those spaces make a lot of sense to me. Now, I never did that when I was a novice yoga student, because I like barely had my shit together. And didn't know like how to do the cues like for a different teacher and stuff. But, but now, like, I've been doing yoga for such a long time that I can go into a studio anywhere in the world and feel like I know how to fit in enough in this space, that I'm not going to have this incredible social anxiety about just doing something fundamental, very, very wrong, like wearing white after Labor Day or like, what have you like that kind of mistake I'm not going to make in those spaces. And it makes me feel more comfortable and expect swimming is like that, for you to that and swimmers just by the nature of what we do and how we interact and how we have boundary issues already. Like there's like just like, you are in very little clothing. And it's grim showers, yeah, downstairs shower. But even in the pool of like,
there's a there's a certain there is I've always appreciated this, and this is like this with other sports too. But because swimming, often you train both genders together at the same time in a way that other sports don't. There's there is an intimacy level. I mean, that, of course, being the intimacy junkie that I am, I'm like, this is the right kind of energy, and you've got to be in that headspace to be and that's why certain types of people swim, because it's like, you're in a bathing suit with other people in bathing suits all the time.
You know, doing a fundamentally boring thing, which is go back and forth in the pool. And it's uncomfortable, and it's painful. And everybody smells like chlorine, and yet we keep coming back and we love it. You know, let's all share that experience.
Like, that's like drama club. Yeah, to write that. It's like socially sanctioned, touching, and, and hugging. But there's like a script and you get to play act, literally different roles from a script. And there's all kinds of of exercises there that are designed to build trust and community, right. And in those kinds of spaces. They foster an intimacy kind of on purpose in like, say drama clubs. Whereas a sport like swimming fosters intimacy, necessarily because of the proximity, and the vulnerability level and the shared task, right. So those kinds of spaces where you're all gathered together, because you have a common interest with other people, we're a little bit more likely to be successful. And like I will say, I have noticed in myself a tendency to treat every social interaction like a club with just two people in it. So my poor friends, Heather, and Carter, I quite like them. I'm afraid I'm overwhelming them. Other Heather, as it turns out, like has a bachelor's degree in piano performance. So I'm always sending her text messages, like annotated sheet music and stuff. And like she has a pretty high tolerance for me texting her stuff about piano, but she's like, 100 times better than me, obviously, but it's not so intimate right now, because she has a toddler and not a lot of time and not an electric piano. He has like an acoustic piano that's very loud, doesn't practice as much as she wants to. And I'm sure that she would rather not constantly be talking about piano, but I'm like, You're my piano friend. Right? I want to talk about piano and she's like, also, like, we went for brunch today and I'm like, but back to Chopin. Right. And then, Carter. I saw him they were out and he had a camera that caught my eye. And I looked, I was like, Oh, I like your camera. He's like, Oh, yeah, Heather got it for me for Christmas. It's pretty good. And then he like, moved his arm. And I'm like, no, no, no, I'm interested like in cameras. He's like, Oh, okay. So I get to Fujifilm mirrorless. And I was like, Oh, I have a DSLR. I've been thinking about mirrorless. Like, can you tell me it does look a lot thinner. Right? And so I turned it into camera club. But he's just like, I'm here at the park with my kid, right? But I'm just so interested in so many things that I really want to connect with people. Yeah. Right. So if you want to be like, like one of my friends, partners is like, works in concrete engineering. And like, talk to me about drainage. Like, I'm super interested, I want to talk to you for 45 minutes, about slopes, because I don't sleep. And I read this stuff. And so like, I just I guess, like, it's that kind of intensity, where it's not like, and then my traumatic childhood. It's just like, oh, this is your job. I actually did a deep dive into human resources legislation in Canada, and like how it has an impact on like, generational knowledge. And they're like, I don't want to talk about this for five minutes, let alone an hour. And like, you are very excited about this. That's and that's what I like. Yeah. Yeah. So that's hard. That's hard when like, you're in just at a cocktail party, and you're like, Oh, finally, I found something I can talk to this person, about, you know, somebody you've just met, like, I would I would not say this like about my friends. Because my friends, I have lots of things I like about them. But like somebody, I'm just meeting if they give me a tidbit of information that I can even the slightest way, relate to. I'm getting to be like towel, minibar. And like I read something in the New York Times about that, or my favorite author did a book about this. And like, oh, I read an academic study, and they're like, God, is this an exam? Yeah, right. They find that difficult. Deborah Tannen describes that interactional style, right? And she's a linguist who does these books about conversational styles, right? Like, she talks about mothers and daughters. And one study she did was people from California having a dinner party with people from New York, and who got to speak and who did not and who thought the conversation was flowing and who thought that they couldn't get a word in edgewise. And it turns out, that New Yorkers will seize upon a much shorter pause between words as the speaker being finished, like me, right? Because you're not talking fast enough, right? And they'll just jump in. And then the Californians have the sense of they wait for longer pauses, so they would never stop a New Yorker from talking because there's never a pause that they consider to be long enough to indicate that the speaker is done. Speaking. Yeah. Right. And so
the California has nothing to say because you won't. Exactly it's like
God, I talked to her for 45 minutes. She never said a goddamn thing. I kept waiting, right? And so, so the Californians are come across as shy or diffident or aloof. And then New Yorkers come across as overbearing, like Guess who I am? Lee. So Tannen is a New Yorker to and what she heard she recorded this party so she could do content analysis after and she's talking to somebody from California. And he's like, I'm an animator, and she's like, What studio do you work for? And he's like, blah, blah. And she's like, Oh, I heard that they're like, but she just keeps jumping in. And she's like, I hear it. Now. It sounded like an interrogation. Right. But I was asking him what I thought were generous questions, designed to get him to speak to something he was interested in, because I did not want to hog the conversation. But if he didn't answer fast enough, or gave a short answer, I like came in twice as hard twice as fast with a more specific question. Yes, this like, I made my husband listen to that chunk of the podcast that was on hidden brain. I listened to that on hidden brain. And I was like, Oh, my God, Tom. It's me. Right? Because we always joke about how I'm listening with my mouth. Yep. Right. But I'm like, But I'm so interested. And you're not saying anything. Just like I'm just taking my time to gather my thoughts. I was like, I gathered 87 thoughts, right? While you were pausing. But I didn't realize that we speak at different speeds. So I just kept asking questions and like, people will actually like, put their hands up like Guilty, guilty, like, just Please arrest me, take me off to jail. Like stop. I feel like this is a final exam that you studied for, and I didn't, but we're talking about my job. Why do I feel like you don't it's not like oh, you work for a petroleum company. I guess you really love ruining the climate. Like it's not that kind of question. It's like, oh, God, tell me more about drainage because I'm really interested in hidden creek beds. Right. And they're like, What? Yeah. And then I ask a follow up question. Or the or or there is that why are you so interested in this like,
you were just Yeah, and I mean, there there is that novelty. There's a curiosity that we have. There's neurotransmitters.
And then But then it also ends up being like, we talked about this before where it's like, then we get nosy. Right? It feels like we're being like, yeah, we're where. And again, it's that that issue of boundaries
where, you know, and Twitter is great for this because you can take it or leave it. But you know, I'm sure you've had this experience, too. And it's like the weak ties, strong ties. Somebody is like, how are you? And really all they want you to say is I'm okay. Or I'm fine. Fine. And then don't drive today. Yeah. And instead, you're like, Well, let me tell you all the ways that today's sucks and what I'm struggling with right now. And they're like, I did not want this. But then the flip side is being concerned and caring, and keeping asking the questions when they're just like, look, I don't want to get into this right. But you, you're not trying to like, like, I
find myself doing that. I'm not trying to be nosy. I'm not trying to like be a busybody I've just I legitimately am concerned or want to know what's going on or just curious about it. And then it's like, it's none of your business. I'm
like, okay, but But yeah, yeah, I feel you. Yeah, me. I could do this, too. I'm getting much better about not being nosy about people's personal things like I will disclose my own and don't expect anybody to disclose anything. I returned. Any better that too. Yeah, I think I just terrify people, by knowing things about a lot of things that people don't expect me to know about. I was like talking to this guy. My husband went out with one of his friends from work, who has a new partner, and then the partner joined. And then Tom text me is like, why don't you come and go, I end up talking to this guy. And then I was like, What did you talk about? I was like, Oh, we talked about oversized American college football stadiums, right? And what the funding model is for that, and how Lincoln Nebraska has this, like, you know, football stadium, you can see from space, but no sidewalks. Right? Yeah. And I mean, parts of Lincoln don't come at us, Lincoln, Nebraska. And he's like, what was like, why was it interested I was in Nebraska was so I like I looked it up and this stadium holds this many people, but the town only has this many people. But did you know that blah, blah, blah, and like, it's like, what? Sometimes it's off putting to people when you know things. Or they'll be like, Oh, I'm interested in this. And then you're like, Oh, I like birds, too. Let's talk about raptors. Like, there's this American Kestrel in my backyard. And also there's this kind of bird and also this kind of bird. And this building in town has known to have nesting peregrine falcons, and they're like, I actually don't know that much about birds. And now I feel stupid. Yeah, yeah. Right. And I was just trying to connect with people. So I feel that I'm a lot or not enough, or the wrong kinds of things in person. And it makes me scared. Yes. To interact with people. Yeah. And that's why I like social media. Yes,
exactly. All of that I'm sure that so many of the listeners can relate to exactly that statement. Right. You know, it's, it's the the name of the podcast, all the things. And we will we will also share all the things with you all at once. All of them, all of them in rapid fire and increasing volume as I get more and more excited. And also getting closer and closer to you is trying to move away.
Just keep moving. Yeah, that's right. I'm always leaning back away from you just because you're too loud and you hurt my ears. Yeah, no, I feel emotionally very close to you. But see, when we record this podcast, we you can be the volume that you want to be I can turn down my headphones. Yes. That is a rare thing about this. About mutual access technology of my former student. Nadine was over visiting me this weekend and we stayed on the porch, you know, for COVID reasons. And I said, okay, like Nadine, you're still too loud outside. Nadine also has ADHD shout out to Nadine is probably going to listen to this. Like my neighbors are going to call by law because you're so loud. Like you're too loud for inside my house butcher to lab for outside. Whoa, sorry. Like gets quiet for a couple minutes. And then I like have to make the volume knob gesture. So that's a shorthand we have about like, people will call the police.
Yeah, so that's bad news. I was gonna say there's I can't remember. It's all gone now. I ran out of words, Lee. Well, it's been about an hour or so. Now. Got a good a time as any since you ran out of words and get through
today. Wait, wait, wait, I have to make a joke. I left a long enough pause there that even in California and
would have jumped in? Yes. I I lived in California for a couple of years. And thankfully it was grad school. So it wasn't a lot of like my husband was in grad school, so it was a lot of people from elsewhere. Right. But there was, there was one there was one native Californian. SoCal, who had to get used to it. Let's put it that way, in terms of in terms of interaction and engagement. But, but you know, you can all control the, the volume of our voices and the speed by which we talk. And even if you want to listen to the episode at all, and maybe you just keep hitting the head by 60 seconds, like my daughter doesn't, maybe because it's your daughter yet, whichever, however you want to listen, that is okay by us. Friendships are hard, we feel you.
If you have found your tribe, on social media, I shouldn't say find your tribe. If you found your group or your community. I know I'm apologies.
You shouldn't say niche either. Because that grates on my very soul, I should say niche, because that's what the word is. Well, I think I do say niche since I know I'm just saying, as I just keep listening to podcasts, where people say niche, and I'm like, stop it. niches gets ditches,
niches constituents. I tell you, I want to see what they are behind you. Because you're in your office. We're in our offices today. You have that super old school Macintosh computer? I do. Can I just say that? So one of my best friends in high school, who it turns out, probably also does have ADHD. Both her sons were diagnosed, she's struggling to get her own diagnosis. But her and I we used to have sleepovers. And we used to compose Star Trek The Next Generation
fanfic on that very computer. Not that exact one, obviously, with that model of computer. Did you know that some
Macintosh classic? Yeah, from 1989.
That would have been about we would that would have been about 9192. People, of course, kept computers a lot longer back then.
Yeah, so that's probably that. I know that our listeners, I want to affirm them, that you all want to have friends. And I know that you all are being the very best friends that you can be to the friends that you have, that we all so badly want to connect with one another in whatever way suits our temperaments, our personalities, and our energy levels. And it's okay, if the modality that you best find for friendship is different from the modality that people say that you should have. And it's okay to be really bad at sending birthday cards, because you still love your friends, right? So if you break friendship into its various different pieces of like emotional care, or attention to detail, or executive function, or being ride or die, I know you all are doing the very best that you can. And I see you that sometimes you don't have the success that you want, and that you need. And it's a process. And we're all working on it. But for now, we still have Twitter.
Yes, thankfully for now. And now you have this podcast episode that you can share with your friends and say, This is what it is. I'd love you. Here's here's an explanation.
Yeah. Don't interrogate your frantic over
talking friends over talking. And that explains why particularly when it comes to friendships, so
you're well yeah, I wonder I wonder if anybody listens to our podcast at one half speed. That would be something I know there's people have written to us and say like, I keep pausing it.
Yeah. Because I need a break from you too. Yeah. Or something. That's fine. We need breaks from ourselves too. Right? Like,
amen. Amen. Well, it is a pleasure being your friend.
It is being your friend too. And we want to connect with you. So you can email us I need to say the email address first. ADHD gmail.com People have been leaving comments on the blog. That's been fantastic as well. Thank you. All the things adhd.com And as always, I am ready writing on Twitter. And I am at Digi bonk on Twitter. And we will you're gonna have to pry Twitter from our cold dead hands
on us. Absolutely. Are you that has Twitter on if they could make Gracie Yeah, no crazy. All right. Take care everyone and we will see you next week. Bye bye.