Why the Internet (or anything else in your adult life) is actually NOT “just like high school”

My husband, while not nearly as good at Words With Friends or Bejeweled Blitz as I am, is almost always emotionally wiser than I am.

This morning over coffee and Marlboros, he dropped this little bit of wisdom on me:

“It drives me crazy when I hear people say ‘this is just like high school’.  Um, no, actually, it isn’t.  In high school you didn’t have a choice.”

He went on to tell me about what a unique social experience high school is because here you are trying to figure out who you are, and you’re basically trapped in a very small space with all of these other people who are also trying to figure out who they are.  “It’s actually pretty cool, if you think about it,” he said.  “And it’s no wonder people talk about their high school years for the rest of their lives.  When else will you be forced to find ways to get along with people, whether you like them or not?  After high school, it’s all about choices.”

Genius.  Pure genius.

At the time, we were in the middle of a conversation about an experience he’s been having with a close friend.  But as soon as the “high school” reference flew out of his mouth, my brain immediately went to the Internet.  Just yesterday I read a post somewhere about the high school like atmosphere of BlogHer (and my GOD people, are we seriously ALREADY talking about this?).  If you’ve been around blogs for more than 3 days, you have no doubt run across or found yourself in the middle of some form of “drama” or another – and it is freaking inevitable that someone will eventually drop the HS bomb.

As adults, referencing something as “so high school” is the easiest way for us to designate something as stupid or beneath us.

The difference, as Jared so wisely pointed out, is that there is not a single social situation we can find ourselves in as adults that is, actually, at all like high school.  Because now?  It’s a choice.

Good, bad or otherwise, we get to make choices now about who we surround ourselves with.  We get to decide where we live and where we work.  We get to choose who we spend our nights and weekends with.  We get to choose who we sit next to at a party and who we exchange emails with the next day.

As adults, we have a scary amount of control over damn near every aspect of our lives.  Control that, if you remember, most of us were dying to get our hands on in high school.  Ohhhh, to be young and have someone else to blame again.

Unfortunately, having choices can be kind of a bitch.

Let me go back to the BlogHer reference as an example.  (For those of you who aren’t bloggers or BlogHers, this is a big annual conference attended, mostly, by thousands of female bloggers.)  The “this is so much like high school” usually comes out when one woman feels like she’s been snubbed by another woman or group of women.  Accusations begin to get thrown around about why someone was snubbed or someone else wasn’t.  Feelings are hurt, friendships are defended, and before long someone is rolling their eyes and pointing out that “God, this is just like high school all over again”.

Except – as we’ve learned – it’s not.

Because every single one of the grown women who attend this conference, and others like it, has choices about who they get to be around.  They can choose to be around people who build them up, or people who make them feel like crap about themselves.  They can choose to seek out the approval of people they respect, or choose to surround themselves with people who simply respect them.  They can choose to try to “fit in”, or choose not to give a crap.  Every single one of those choices is a valid option with consequences.  And whatever those consequences are, we kind of have no choice but to accept that we are responsible for them.

This realization – which I’ve slowly been coming to myself over the last little while – was a much needed slap in my own face in a lot of ways.

I, too, have been guilty of uttering the “this is so fucking high school” mantra.  And I realize now that while those words weren’t true, they were a signal to myself that “hey, dumbass, you put yourself in these situations.  Whether or not you choose to remain here is also your choice.  What are you going to do about that now?”

If I choose to maintain a relationship with someone because I don’t want to make waves, I can’t be upset with anyone but myself if that relationship causes me stress or feelings of inadequacy.

If I choose to maintain a relationship with someone because I think that it’s mean to not be friends with them, then I have to accept that I alone am responsible for the time and energy I invest in that relationship.

If I find myself getting all worked up over the idea of someone not liking me, then I have to accept that I am choosing to invest the energy necessary to find out how that person feels about me.  And I can tell myself all I want that it’s natural or understandable, but the easier choice of least resistance is still, in fact, a choice.

I tend to make the easy choices when it comes to my friendships.  I talk to the people who talk to me first.  I go back to the people who make me laugh, even if the laughter is hiding a lot of ugly shit.  I give in to the fact that sitting around talking shit about people feels so damn good at the moment, and ignore what making that choice says about me in the long run.  I surround myself with people who make me feel better about myself for the duration of a party, and choose to put that above people who inspire me to actually be better.

I have, consciously or otherwise, made a lot of easy choices about friends in the past.  By the sheer grace of God, I have been fortunate enough to have stumbled upon some friendships with really great people in spite of myself.  I have been lucky.  I have also, I have to admit, made some really great freaking choices in friends.

EDITED TO ADD because I finally found the words in comments and I think it’s relevant enough to point out in the post itself:

“From now on, when I find myself saying “this makes me feel like I did when I was in high school”, I hope alarm bells will go off in my head and say “except, you know, now you are NOT… so you’ve got some choices here that you didn’t have back then, Missy.””

Going forward, I’d like to start to making more of those really great freaking choices and less of those easier but not necessarily better choices.  I’d like to choose to invest my energy in people whom I respect.  I’d like to choose to spend my valuable time getting to know people who emulate characteristics that I admire.  I’d like to choose the long-term sense of honor and privilege that comes from knowing you’ve earned the friendship of a person whose approval does actually mean something to you, in lieu of the short-term rush of just being able to have a good time with someone.  I’m not sure how easy these choices will to be make over and over again.  After all, the allure of an instant feel good time can be strong.

But now that my husband has gone and made me freaking aware of my own responsibility when it comes to friends and social situations, I think it’s going to be hell of a lot harder to blindly continue making the easy choices.

After all, I’m not in high school anymore.

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  1. avitable says:

    So you’re saying it’s more like college? Or, like I like to say, laaaaw schoooool.

    I think you do make a good point. It’s a big world and there is a circle of friends for every single person out there. Finding and maintaining that circle may take some effort, but it’s more productive in the long run.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @avitable, the effort you put into pursuing and maintaing friendships is, truly, inspiring.

      Yes, I said inspiring, fucker. Shut up and we will never speak of this again.

  2. Maria says:

    It’s funny how much easier it is to say “that’s so high school” instead of saying, “I’m being really childish.”

    I think it’s okay to say/feel “this makes me feel like I did when I was in high school” cause at least you’re acknowledging your own insecurities instead of blaming your angst on the people around you.

    And man, if someone is just straight up being a bitch, it’s okay to say THAT instead of saying “that’s so high school.”

    In conclusion, awesome blog post.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Maria, yeah – I think the thing I was having a problem articulating is this:

      From now on, when I find myself saying “this makes me feel like I did when I was in high school”, I hope alarm bells will go off in my head and say “except, you know, now you are NOT… so you’ve got some choices here that you didn’t have back then, Missy.”

      • Maria says:

        @Miss Britt, That’s a really good point, and an admirable level of self-awareness.

        For me, if I’ve already reached the point where I feel THAT bad/insecure/blah about something, I usually have to ride the teenage angst wave until I feel better.

        I love the point about choices though. I’m not required to show up at the Internet at 7:15 for home room.

        • Miss Britt says:

          @Maria, thought of you last night in therapy. Jared and I were asking our counselor what to “do” about feelings we were having about a close friend hurting us. She was like “uh, what do you DO with feelings? You feel them.”

  3. Jamie says:

    I think this brilliant observation is another illustration of your recent writings on ~ we make ourselves happy and at peace. It’s nobody else’s job. If people want to waste precious time on earth caught up in drama then that is their choice. I chose healthy relationships for deep connections. Just like high school, I am friends with all different kinds of people but genuineness makes me happy. Thanks for sharing your conversation…

  4. Robin says:

    I agree. While I do sometimes feel like the internet is high school in that, like I was in high school, nobody really hated me but most people had no idea who i was or kind of forgot I was there. I’ve come to be fine with that, it generally means less drama and less stress, I like staying in the background. I am right now trying to focus on good friends online and not just being friends with people so I don’t hurt their feelings. Personally, if someone wants to unfriend me or unfollow me I don’t care. I don’t want someone to pretend to be friends with me, I only want people to be on twitter or facebook with me unless they genuinely like me. It’s a hard step to take, trying to weed out the people that are just not really your friends. I’m trying though…for better or for worse.

  5. muskrat says:

    Very true.

    When I compare something to highschool, however, it’s because I’m enjoying an experience with good folks I’ve known for 15+ years.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @muskrat, I actually loved high school, too. Yes, there were some really crappy parts – not the least of which being the “We Hate Britt Club”, and there were PINS! – but overall, I had so, so much fun.

  6. Good job Britt. I loved this post. It’s something we all need to think about and evaluate as adults.

  7. Ahhh…interesting insight in light of yesterday’s post and our exchange.

    And perfect timing for me. Needed to hear this.

    Check out Brene Brown’s blog/book. She talks about shame and owning our feelings so we can get past them. Goes right along with your thoughts here.

    Really like this post Britt.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Amie aka MammaLoves, making a mental note to check out this Brene Brown person. I’m notorious for wanting to “get past” shit – as quickly as possible, please and thank you.

  8. Finn says:

    You always have a choice. Usually: change, accept or leave. Change the situation, accept it for what it is or leave it. Really simple, but not always easy.

    I’m really happy that you are coming to this place. It’s far more peaceful and far more satisfying.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Finn, change, accept or leave. I think I could have probably summed up this entire post with those three words.

      See? This is why I want to be more like you. You’re so fucking zen.

  9. Wonderful post.

    I was recently feeling very angsty about this very thing – having a good sized blog but feeling very tribeless – practically a mommy blogging goth – or worse, that overly friendly little girl on the spirit team trying to make friends with the cheerleaders.

    I had to smack myself around a little and realize I was CHOOSING to focus on these women and to give them a level of importance in my head that they truly didn’t deserve. I was creating my own internal drama, and making MYSELF feel like crap. It was all internal, not external. So I deleted a few things from my reader, unfollowed a few people on Twitter and hallelujah – got a little perspective.

    Great post. Happy to have found your blog.

  10. Issa says:

    It’s definitely a choice. I think people forget that. I know I have at times. I get caught up in other people’s ideas of what I should be doing. It’s all about choices and as an adult, I get to make my own. Also as an adult, I get to deal with the consequences.

    Hope I didn’t bother you with my post on this last week. It was more about me being tired of people feeling like I owed them something. (And after a week of people treating me like I’m an asshole for the choices I make online.) It just gets old. I don’t feel like I should have to justify myself to random strangers, because they feel like they know me.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Issa, ha! No, your post didn’t bother me. I actually recognized the feeling of “I am not a bitch because you can’t get along! Stop blaming me because you think I owe you!” in it. ;-)

  11. choices are the best part of being an adult. :)

  12. choices and the ability to buy booze!

  13. why yes, i am on vacation, why do you ask?
    heehee

  14. Karl says:

    Actually, I more often compare the blogosphere to JUNIOR high. I wouldn’t say it’s mature enough for high school some days. It’s really an emotional response saying “This is so junior high,” even though, yes, I have many more choices now than I did then.

    Still, there are plenty of situations where we’re forced to deal with people and situations we don’t want to. Work, family, etc. Even though I have choices – I don’t HAVE to work at Place A – I don’t HAVE to socialize with Person B – I’m still obligated to put up with people and situations I might not wish to. If I chose not to do anything I don’t want to do, I might not get ANYTHING done.

    Good post. Food for thought.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Karl, but, see, you aren’t actually OBLIGATED. I don’t mean to suggest at all that we don’t sometimes make choices that are a bitch, or choose to do things we don’t WANT to do because the reward is worth it – but we’re still choosing.

      For me, it’s empowering especially in those times to remind myself that “look, you’re dealing with this because you CHOOSE to, because you’ve decided that it’s worth it.”

      • Karl says:

        @Miss Britt, True enough. Course, we technically had choices even back in junior high. I can hang with this crowd, or that crowd. I can study and get good grades, or I can goof around and get a C (God forbid).

        Beyond toddlerhood, we *always* have choices. It’s recognizing that fact that is sometimes a real bitch. That’s not saying that we’re gonna always LIKE the options available to us, either.

  15. FyreGoddess says:

    You had choices in high school, too. You were able to choose who you were friends with, what extra curricular activities you participated in, what elective classes you took. Maybe you didn’t have a choice in terms of what school you went to or that you had to go to school, but everything else was as much within your control as your current situation is.

    I don’t know about BlogHer, specifically, but if I pay to attend a conference and the people around me are behaving like teenagers, I’m not going to choose to leave the conference or to not participate in the events to avoid those people. If people are behaving inappropriately, you have to deal with that, in any given situation.

    I see high school behaviors from adults on a regular basis, and while it is their choice to behave in that way, it is not my choice to change their behavior and if I am subjected to it, it may not be a valid choice for me to remove myself from the situation.

    I recently had a lot of issues with people exhibiting behaviors more suited to a high school situation in the workplace. By your logic, I can choose to quit my job so I don’t have to be around that behavior anymore, but this is not a realistic choice, and it doesn’t change the situation at hand.

    You can’t responsibility for the behaviors of other people, and you shouldn’t feel like you have to.

    I’m not sure which piece of this stands out more to me as being just plain wrong; the idea that adults don’t behave in ways that are reminiscent of high school or the idea that you didn’t make the same types of choices as a teenager as you do as an adult.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @FyreGoddess, you’re correct that we did have choices in high school, although I would argue that a) we didn’t have as many choices and b) we were children – so I guess I hold adults a little more accountable for being able to recognize their choices.

      Regarding your example – you can, though, choose to quit your job. That’s one option. You might decide not to because, in the end, the rewards of staying at that particular job outweigh the consequence of having to deal with those people – and that’s a reasonable, valid choice. But it’s still a choice.

      There was one time in my life where the people I worked with were so damn toxic, interacting with them actually wasn’t worth the money anymore.

      I’m also not meaning to suggest that we are responsible for other people’s behaviors or that adults don’t act immature at times, but we do have a lot more control than we admit, sometimes, over how those behaviors affect our lives. At least, that’s my opinion. :-)

  16. Chibi Jeebs says:

    Wow. Way to make me think first thing in the morning! It makes so much sense. As you said, it’s easier to call something stupid (and blame it on the other “high school” people) than to look inwards at what we’re feeling and why we’re not doing something about it. I do think there are people out there who fall into the high school mentality at times (i.e. bullying, shunning, etc).

    Now I think we need to think of a Godwin-type term for the point at which someone inevitably utters the high school comparison because it’s pretty much all over at that point.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Chibi Jeebs, “look inwards at what we’re feeling and why we’re not doing something about it” – that’s really what I was trying to get across most.

  17. Lu says:

    @muskrat, I am totally with you. My best friends are the ones form HS still. So I guess this doesn’t apply to me. Bu Hi am still commenting. LOL
    I have read most of the posts about the BlogHer experience and I do think based off of those different views your post rings true for many.
    You ladies are all equally awesome whether you have 10 readers (like me) or a billion like (Insert popular blogger here.) Find your niche. Follow your heart, not sitemeter. Those typical immature situations happen in all walks of life, like the workplace as well. And to me, that’s really where your hands can be tied. LOL
    There is so much awesome out there in the blogosphere. Like right here.

  18. Leslie says:

    Excellent, excellent post. It’s hard to realize in your 30s that you’re still giving too much weight to people who are really such minor characters in you life, like the other kid’s mom, so and so’s wife, or whomever. But maybe this is just the time when we realize that we are responsible our own emotional health and security that we can actively pursue, and abandon, those ideals and people that don’t serve us. Thanks again.

  19. Diane says:

    Hmmm. I think I disagree a bit, here. Not with the overall message of us being in control of our own situations, but more with the assertion that relating these experiences (jobs, friendships, the internet) to being “so high school” is invalid. I feel that I did have choices in high school. Sure, I had to see the same faces every day, but I knew who the mean girls were and I chose to avoid them at all costs. I had the same choices then I have now. (In fact, things being what they are, I think it almost would have been easier to transfer to a new high school than to find a new job, you know?)

    I do think the internet is a lot like high school, but I don’t mean that in a way that BOTHERS me, or in a way that makes me feel I need to remove myself from the situation. There are definitely different circles and the cool kids and all that, but I guess I don’t really think of that as being exclusive to high school — you’re going to find that anywhere you go, because it’s just life. There will always be people above and below and off to the sides; there will always be people who try to make a mess of anything they touch.

    So, I guess what I’m saying is, you’re right. We shouldn’t say “that’s so high school”; we should say “that’s life” and proceed as necessary, fully aware of the choices we possess.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Diane, well, I went to a high school with a graduating class of 69 people. It was pretty hard to avoid most people all the time. LOL

      But, yes, I suppose I DID have more choices even then than I realized, but I tolerate the ignorance of choices more in my teenage self because – well – stupid teenagers. :-)

  20. Lisa says:

    I’m going to be different and say that I think the high school comparison is valid when talking about a set of behaviours, and I disagree that there was no choice involved even back then. You always have a choice about how you behave, with whom you associate, and how you represent yourself. Even in high school. The people I remember and admire from high school aren’t the popular ones, they’re the ones who dared to be different and were true to themselves. It was a difficult choice, but definitely a lot more mature than some of my choices a the time.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Lisa, I didn’t mean to suggest that there were NO choices, but I certainly believe we – or at least I – had fewer choices as a minor living in my parent’s home than I do as an adult with access to a whole big wide world.

      But I was clearly a very immature teenager. :-)

  21. Caroline says:

    Love this post. I adore all that comes with blogging EXCEPT for the crazy insecure drama. And ironically while I saw this behavior daily in high school, I learned at (a super progressive all women’s) college that supporting other women ONLY lifts all of us up. Cut them down, we cut us all down. And you are absolutely right. We can make the CHOICE to be positive and supportive, or not. If the urge to disrespect bubbles up, we need to think. What is that about? Where is it coming from? Why don’t I feel good about myself? And how can making someone else feel badly really help my situation? It never will. High schoolers struggle with this concept but grown ups SHOULD be able to work this out. …Right? Here’s hoping.

  22. sandra says:

    I believe, fully and completely, that life is about choices — and that those choices directly impact someone’s happiness, or lack thereof. So while I don’t claim that people have control over the negative (or positive, for that matter) things that impact their life which are outside their spectrum of choice, we all get to choose how we react to those events.

    And drama…I can honestly say I haven’t had any that lasted longer than the time between the moment I realized something was bothering me and the moment I talked to the relevant person about it, in…probably since college, so about 10 years. Choosing to stay out of other people’s drama and just making sure that I am true to myself, know who I am and treat other people well has been the best choice I’ve ever made.

    So in short: I agree.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @sandra, so you are CLEARLY way ahead of the game of Life than I have been. LOL Bravo to you! Seriously.

      • sandra says:

        @Miss Britt, Ha! I wouldn’t say I’m ahead — you seem pretty on top of things! More like I just reached the end of my rope with it and I have a mom who has worked in psych my whole life; she has been telling me since..I’d say junior high…that I get to choose my life. :)

  23. Robin says:

    So true, and very helpful for me just now. Moving back to my hometown a few years back has brought so much baggage to the surface for me, and I need the occasional kick to remind me that I’m the one in charge of my life now. And the only one whose actions I can control? Also me.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Robin, being from a small town, I know how hard it can be to get past old expectations and perceptions of who you are and what’s expected of you. Baggage, indeed.

  24. When I say “This is just like high school,” I mean the maturity level (or lack thereof). I believe that we always have a choice, no matter what level of life we are in. I mean, obviously I couldn’t prevent my high school teachers from giving us assigned seats and splitting me up from my buddies, but I could still control how I acted. I like to think that I was pretty mature for my age in high school.

    However, we do need to remember that we are all adults — well, at least, most of us are — and that we should act accordingly. We shouldn’t act like we are still immature little goofs who laugh at the kid who wet himself during gym.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Elizabeth Kaylene, if commenting on the maturity level of people around you isn’t a sign that something is bothering you, I’d say that puts you ahead of most people. And I mean that sincerely. In a good way.

      • @Miss Britt, It bothers me only when the people who are acting immature are people I thought better of. But usually I can say, “Wow, this is really childish,” and put it behind me without thinking about it too much.

  25. donna says:

    You, my dear, are married to a genius. Except don’t tell him that or you’ll never hear the end of it.

  26. WOW. Did I need this post today!

    This is something I need to remind myself. I recently joined a roller derby team, something I have wanted to do FOREVER, but never had the balls to do. Lately I have found myself *thinking* the, “this is so HS” line.

    When I actually think about why that phrase comes to mind it is because what I am ACTUALLY trying to say is that I am finding myself feeling very very insecure again and the last time I felt this way was when I was in HS. The situations are not one in the same, it is simply a similar feeling of wanting DESPERATELY to fit in.

    I need to remind myself that I am an adult, who loves this sport, and it is not my job to ‘fit in’ it is my job to play roller derby, and make a few friends, and that putting the worlds largest pile of pressure on my head to be perfect and be loved will only end up making me feel like SHIT.

    Thank you.

    I love your posts so much you have no idea.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Ashley, the Accidental Olympian, You’re welcome. :-) I think it’s always easier to deal with our feelings when we have a more clear idea of what, exactly, is really going on inside us, underneath all the cliches and defense mechanisms. Doesn’t mean the feelings aren’t still there, but at least we can SEE them.

  27. Hockeymandad says:

    I only partially get the whole high school references I hear sometimes. Partially because I never got involved with any of that stuff in school. I HATED high school. From day one, I had a “real” job that paid a real wage and I spent every weekend at my job. My friends were at my work. They were all older than me, some in college but none were my age. So I started learning what life was like in the real world long before anyone in my school did. I think I had 1 or 2 girlfriends in high school, but mostly because I was shy and socially disabled. I still think I am, but the friendships I make are the kind I keep my whole life.

    The internet provides a voice for the introverts like me, and the punk asses that like to start shit because they need some form of excitement in their life. Usually those punk asses were the popular kids in high school and cannot stand the lack of drama and no longer having spotlight with adulthood.

    I CHOOSE to write because I enjoy it. I don’t write to see what others think, or get opinions, or score free shit. I’ve always enjoyed writing and I enjoy having a place to do so.

    I also CHOOSE to read good writing like yours because I appreciate a good story.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Hockeymandad, it’s hard to imagine you hating high school. You’re so damn much fun to be around now, I guess I just assumed that translated to you being a fun guy to be around then.

  28. Nyt says:

    The post is thought provoking, I’ll give you that..

    We all had “choices” in high school, just like we have choices now. The difference is that now, we have no one to answer to for those choices. Just ourselves. Now, as adults, the responsibilities for both the choices and the consequences fall solely on our own shoulders.

    I think the internet and especially the female portion of it, closely mirrors many women’s high school experience. As popularity rises, the number of sycophants rises proportionately. The popular girls are often rewarded financially in this case, instead of being crowned Homecoming Queen. And their Homecoming?? is Blogher. Cocktail parties are the new gyms. Groups of women cruise the crowds hoping for a glimpse of the popular kids, passing out their OWN swag so hopefully, someone will remember them. Then there are the after parties, and just like high school, it’s all about the party you can get into, who you can say you partied with. Tres twelfth grade…

    The good news is, once you’ve chosen what’s important to you, once you’ve decided what’s good for you, you get to be your own clique.

  29. Becky says:

    A good friend of mine told me once “Make the right choice, not the easy one.” Sometimes they might be the same, but usually not.

    We forget we have choices in everything we do, every situation we find ourselves in.

    Great post. Way to go Jared.

  30. Tiffany says:

    I found this post from someone’s tweet and LOVED it. Such wise words for all us grownups.

  31. Holla says:

    All those who comment saying they had choices in high school obviously had more lenient parents than I did. I didn’t choose my activities and most my friends were “unacceptable”. Sounds like you people were raised by hippies.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Holla, lol, I was thinking the same thing. I had some choices, granted, but not nearly as many, I think, as other people seemed to have had.

      My mama woulda knocked me out.

  32. Sodapop says:

    Great post. Jared is pretty smart.

    In some ways I agree and in some, I disagree. While I believe I have a choice on who I associate with, who I talk to and what not, I also think I had that same choice in high school.

    Whenever I get involved in something, it’s because I chose to stand up and say something. It was the same in high school. I was pretty insignificant in high school and sometimes I miss the simplicity.

    When I didn’t want to be friends with someone, I just walked away without guilt and without a second glance. Now? Not so much. So many more parameters to look at.

    Don’t know where this comment was going, so I’m going to shut up and go get my after dinner coffee. :P

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Sodapop, see, when I was in high school, I might have had the choice to hang out with someone or not after school, but I went to a very small school. If I didn’t get along with someone, chances were good that I was STILL going to have to interact with them on a regular basis – even if that just meant during class. I didn’t have the option of simply NOT being around those people.

  33. You’ve put into words that I, as per usual, was thinking, but couldn’t find the right way to get out of my head.

    Online and off, we as adults, put ourselves in the situations to CARE about what “others” say. (I say “others” because really, it’s just like on Lost – the “others” are really people just like ourselves who have a different reality.)

    I don’t purposely put myself in any situation that is hurtful to my own self-worth, and if I’m aligning myself with people who are negative, I distance myself. I like who I like, and I like people who like me.

    Brilliantly said, Brittnugget

    (k, i have no idea why “brittnugget” just came out, but whatever. i’m leaving it. you shall be brittnugget from now on.)

  34. Sarcastica says:

    Jared is SO right and so wise!!! I loved this post Britt, definitely something that needed to be said around the Interwebz these days! xoxo

  35. This is just an outstanding post. And I kind of agree with what Nyt says. A great deal of the internet population makes the internet just like high school. They make BlogHer into the Homecoming party of the year.

    Life (the internet – whatever) is what you make of it. Or in your words — what you *choose* to make of it.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @EverythingMom, I think the difference, for me, is that there are wayyyyyy more opportunities now. Even at BlogHer. Hell, my biggest problem at BlogHer 09 was having TOO many things to choose from!

  36. I love this post. LOVE. And I needed to read it.

    Far too many times I find myself trying to be everyone’s friend, trying to fix everything, trying to make people like me (and fretting over what I’ve done that they don’t like me), trying to be everything to everyone. And you know what? It’s fuckin’ tiring. It’s disheartening and it’s demoralizing. Why do I WANT to be someone’s punching bag?

    Annnnd. I’m ranting in your comments….
    I guess it’s better than doing something else in your comments…

  37. Faiqa says:

    So, are you telling me that we have to stop pretending that your still captain of the cheerleading team and I’m the lead in the school play while when we’re having lunch and deciding who’s cool enough to sit at our table. This is bullshit, Britt. You’ve changed ever since you went varsity.

  38. Loukia says:

    Great post. Hmm, though. Didn’t we somewhat have a choice in high school, too? I mean, we didn’t have a choice about which classes (for the most part) we took, but we did have a choice in who we hung out with. And when people say, about Twitter or BlogHer, ‘this is so high school!’ I think in a way it’s valid, because, well, people can still be mean and hurtful to others. And while we have choices, and we are adults, let’s say there was someone I was looking forward to meeting at BlogHer, but it turns out that person or group of people think of themselves as ‘queen bees’ of the blog world and they are mean to others who are ‘less’ than them, (whatever the heck that even means!) then, well… it’s very much like h.s and feelings can still be hurt.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Loukia, yes, we did have some choices in high school. But personally, I didn’t get to decide where I went to school who I was surrounded by all day. After school? Sure. But not during the school day.

      And no, being an adult doesn’t make us immune to have our feelings hurt. That’s true. Nothing, unfortunately, will prevent us from having our feelings hurt.

      But what we do once our feelings have been hurt? That part is on us.

  39. Angela says:

    Excellent post, certainly puts things in perspective. I have to say some of this is reliant on your HS experience. I hated it. I was tormented and beaten up daily. I had no self esteem. My friends were not people I went to school with and I had no positive people in my life, not even at home. So really when I say “this is so high school” I am recognizing that same behavior that put me in a bad place earlier in my years. And it doesn’t mean that other people are behaving super bad, I can be quite sensitive (especially with women) to certain behaviors. So it may be that I am over-reacting and reading too deeply into something. I have only been to one blog conference and I was probably the most anxious person there just because it was 99.9% women. But at the end of the weekend I cannot say it was “so high school”. There were moments but I just removed myself from that crap and enjoyed myself.

  40. Zoeyjane says:

    So, if I’d read this post before I went on my twitter spree about backing away from ‘blog reading commitments’, when you asked what I meant, I could’ve linked you to yourself. (in part)

    Thank you for the reminder, that I’m sure we all need sometimes, that we’re ultimately responsible for our own lives/interactions/choice to participate.

  41. Karen MEG says:

    I’m just in awe that you managed to expand such a profound observation into such a brilliant post.
    I found highschool to be bits of heaven and hell. I was an uber geek wanting to fit in at the beginning … once I found my “tribe”, which wasn’t really much of one group, but different individuals who flitted in and out of others, I was fine. I guess at that point I didn’t really care as long as I knew who my friends were.

    I suppose that’s why at BlogHer it didn’t seem so high school to me. Or maybe it was there and I didn’t see it. Or maybe I’m just so frickin’ old I don’t even remember what high school would even look like anymore … ;).

  42. Gina says:

    Except when the drama and cliques are in the work environment. It is not always easy to just quit to get away from the “high school” behavior.

    As far as it being our choice if we leave a friendship: I feel badly just dropping someone off of my FB friends! And then when they guilt-trip, intentionally or no, because I did… well I feel awful. So it is REALLY hard to walk away from a friendship too.

    (Your husband is quite wise, though, in saying what he said).

  43. pixielation says:

    I think a lot of people do behave like they are in high school – creating little immature groups to giggle and be mean about other people. But I’ve never found myself on the receiving end of things like this – perhaps because I don’t engage that type of person, or perhaps because I’ve already walked away from them and don’t even notice.

    But I’ve had other people say as much to me, and my advice to them is exactly what you’re saying here – just walk away. You have the choice, and they are unpleasant people, then who the hell cares what they think or do anyway?

  44. Tonz says:

    This post is brilliant!! This was what my last appointment with my therapist was about. Yes, I am one of those people that says ‘my therapist’ A LOT!!! But we were talking how as a child I didn’t have choices about my home life. Now I choose how I act, who I spend time etc.

  45. Brittany says:

    I know this.

    I see this play out every day across various forms of social media.

    Grown women getting catty, mean, bent out of shape.

    I think, do not get involved in this.

    Because you’re right, while it’s tempting, it’s still a choice.

    Loved this post!

  46. sue says:

    This very much hits home. I have a 34 yr old daughter who is acting extremely immature right now… and yet, she is the one posting on FB that “other people” are being so “high school”… (referring to her younger, yet much more mature sister). I have to sit back and try to stay neutral while thinking EXACTLY some of the points you brought out.

    Thank you.

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