When I first joined FetLife, I only friended people that I knew. After a short period, that became people I have met in person. It felt more comfortable that way. More managed.
It felt good, and it’s a valid position to take.
I’ve changed to pretty much the opposite now over the past few years. I’m a friend whore (slut?—it’s not like anyone pays). I don’t have to really be connected at all to be open to FetLife friendship.
Someone said “I don’t think anyone with 5,000 friends here on FetLife can meaningfully connect and must be promoting something,” and I agree. That’s true.
I AM promoting myself and my projects. For sure.
However, it is more than that.
In fact, the reason I promote myself is because I work hard at being the change I want to see in the (kink) world. Because I feel I have a point of view and a way of encouraging people to pause for a moment and think, and sometimes… sometimes… change their minds or their hearts.
I promote myself, because I will respond to everyone. I also believe that there is no limitation for kindness and friendship. I, too, accept all, from all walks of life and all orientations. Not only do I believe that we are humans first, I have written about it.
More than once, but that is the core, I think.
And every day (almost, sometimes I slack), I respond to more than 30 messages. Often, there is at least one with the theme of, “I don’t know you well, but you’re the only person I thought I could ask about this…”
So, yeah, I promote myself. Because people NEED someone non-judgmental and willing to help complete strangers halfway around the world, just because. Someone who doesn’t know them. Is low-risk to share depth with, because well, they barely know me… but they crave that acceptance.
So, yeah. I promote making that available to as many people as possible.
I cannot connect regularly with over 6,000 “friends” and followers. I can, however, show up in their feed, reminding them that I’m there, defending their right to BE with my writings, creating spaces for them, educating others, etc.
And being that person has led to SO MANY amazing experiences:
- Teaching in Salt Lake City.
- Teaching in NOLA.
- Hanging with the coolest kinksters ever in NYC.
- Meeting an online friend at a completely random kink meet, while we were BOTH out of town somewhere else.
- Seeing and incredibly WEIRD movie in Thailand.
- Getting a fabulous tour of London and teaching on a 15-hour stopover.
- And more…
When I travel, I reach out to my online friends, even if I’ve barely spoken to them before, “Hey, wanna grab a tea or lunch or something when I’m in your town?”
And they become more than pixels and words.
And that’s OK, too.
Because I totally respect YOUR choice to maintain your friend list as you choose. And if you say in your profile that you only friend people you know or have met, rest assured, I will read that and not send a request, if we don’t know each other reasonably well or have not met.
And if I send a request, and you reply, “I only add people I know,” I will say in return, “Best of luck to you and yours in everything.”