THE SUNDAY PAPERS

Hello, August.

Although we all know September and October leave us sweating in our premature knitwear, you are effectively the last month of summer and that is terrifying. I haven’t been on holiday, I haven’t been to a single festival and I haven’t sat in one beer garden. Clearly, I’m doing summer wrong. Anyway, if you’re lucky enough to be reclining by a pool or enjoying a coffee in the garden, tuck into my favourite reads from the last couple of weeks.

Being Nice is Our Most Powerful Weapon, Ladies

Man Repeller Shoes Are Go!

Truthful Wedding Toasts

Changing Names

Stop Binge-Watching

Give Louise a Break

What’s Happening With Brexit?

Would You Wear No Make Up to Work?

Glastonbury is Life

I Hate My Arms

Write Your Own Teenage Summer Bucket List

Well, This is Terrifying

Online Friendships

Sluts

Have a good one.

THE OPINION

Someone once said to me, ‘It must be exhausting having an opinion about everything’, and although I can’t actually remember who said it (no doubt a man), I certainly remember being offended by it.

Women have fought for the right to exercise their vocal chords and share their opinions for years, and I, therefore, feel very strongly about speaking out whenever I like in order to honour the ongoing effort. It comes as no surprise, then, that the comment got my back up, but when I actually came away from the conversation and went about my daily life, throwing a billion ‘I think’, ‘I like’ and ‘I disagrees’ into the world, I became acutely aware of how much time and energy I was wasting on forming opinions about things that actually have no effect on my life whatsoever, whilst noticing that everyone else had fallen into the same habit.

Social media, of course, has played a pivotal role in feeding our new age need to share and seek approval every second of every day (having a blog doesn’t help), and although I think it’s wonderful how many active conversations are now being had online (taking the last general election for example, where young people were more engaged in politics than ever before), I do think Zuckerberg and co. encouraging us to constantly like, share or hide irrelevant fodder every second of every day, is to the detriment of our mental health and maybe even lives.

We spend so much time sparking opinions about inane things, such as what someone had for brunch or the fact an old school friend just got engaged when, if we really gave it a minute, these things don’t really warrant an opinion. It’s a waste of headspace and all it does is pave the way for comparison. However fleeting the thought process may be, it can’t be good for you to make so many judgements calls in just 24 hours?

My issue with voicing so many opinions on a daily basis runs deeper than just this, though. Our generation of opinion sharers are in danger of being only that. We feel as though we’ve done our bit because we’ve shared yet another post by Greenpeace without actually taking action. Without donating money. Or time. I’m worried that people’s social media activity is starting to placate activism. It’s become more about what causes we’re seen to be supporting rather than what efforts we’re actually doing to in order to fire up change.

So let’s put an end to all that.

Don’t be lured into liking or commenting on reams and reams of photos and statuses all day long. Instead, make sure that before you hit like or dislike or comment on something someone’s tagged you in, hold that thumb and think for half a second about whether it’s worth your time. Not only will preserving your opinions and voice online add value to it, you’ll also be amazed at how much time and energy you save, enabling you to focus on the things that really matter. And finally, if you see something you feel strongly about – be it about animal cruelty, sustainability or mental health – do more than just share it on your Facebook feed, because although you’re creating noise, there’s a limit to how far the sound reaches – and there’s a cap on how much of an effect it can have. After all, actions really do speak louder than words.

THE GHOSTING

If you’ve reached the end of your twenties without coming into contact with a ghost, then lucky you. You smashed it. Congratulations on not having to have endured that sort of strange silent rejection, because let me tell you, it’s pretty weird when it happens.

I mean, it’s never happened to me in a romantic sense, but I have been ghosted by a friend.

Yep, that’s right, one moment things were (albeit not entirely as rosy as they once were) fine. We had drifted a little but we were both busy and she had just got into a new relationship. The next moment? I wasn’t getting a reply to messages. I kept trying and all I got was either nothing or a, ‘Yep, maybe we’ll see each other soon’. No kiss.

I’ve asked mutual mates and they’ve said they’re none the wiser, although I’m not sure this is entirely true.

For the nine years we knew each other, from that very first toastie we shared on the corridor floor of our first-year halls, to the last drink we shared, we were inseparable. We had the most fun. So many of my favourite memories are of getting drunk and dancing with her. Staying in with her when she had a broken leg. Doing shots in the middle of the afternoon because, hey, we’re young. We would talk for hours about boys. She hated how crude I was and I thought it hilarious how prudish she was. We loved anchovies, soppy love songs and Eastenders. It was the sort of friendship that was hard to find.

It’s been two years now and I still haven’t a clue what I’ve done or what’s happened or changed. I’ve sort of decided on a reason, but can’t be 100% sure it’s correct. I’m probably way off the mark. I’m so baffled by the events of the last couple of years that this Valentine’s Day, I even sent her an ‘I miss you’ text and got nothing in return. I didn’t feel hurt or rejected; I knew it was time to let go.

And that’s the thing with ghosting.

It gets to a point where it just doesn’t hurt as much anymore, a bit like grief. In fact, if anything, I’d say it can be far less painful than being confronted with the reason you aren’t wanted as a friend or lover, anymore. That way, you can pretend it’s not you; it’s them, and live under a blanket of blissful ignorance that you didn’t actually do anything wrong. That is was their issue.

So, to the friend who ghosted me, if you’re reading this, which I doubt you are, and to all the other Caspers out there: you’re not teaching anyone a lesson, in fact, you’re not making any sort of point at all, except for the fact I must’ve mistaken you for a much better human being in the first place.

If you want closure, always have the guts to do it properly, because I’m fairly certain the only person you’re hurting in the long run, is yourself.