The Read Receipt: Read This

Two days ago my friend texted me complaining that the guy she's talking to hasn't turned off his read receipts. Read receipts, for those of you not in possession of a Smartphone, is the phenomenon where you send a text and can then see that your friend/crush/enemy/dad read the text at 6:38 PM.

Nifty, right?

Wrong. Because why aren't they replying? Okay, they're probably making dinner . . . now eating dessert . . . now watching TV, maybe cleaning the dishes . . . checking Facebook . . . showering . . . WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO RESPOND?

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Aerial Anxiety

Sometimes I'm convinced that I can make an everyday event a total nail biter. Like that time I needed to fly home. The anxiety started the moment I needed to buy a ticket. Fun fact: trying to fly out of Richmond sucks. You can't just fly from Richmond to your destination. No, you need to fly several hours out of your way to make it home. And on top of that, there's millions of options to select from. After stressing for several hours about when I was going to leave, I finally settled on Richmond to Charlotte to Connecticut. Then came the stress about navigating the airports. One of my worst qualities is my directional abilities. And by that, I mean I don't have any. So I legit studied the maps and talked it through with my more well-travelled roommates.

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Awkward Gym Encounters

This morning I’ve finished doing leg lifts on a dip machine and am about to do some decline crunches when this dude approaches me: “Hey, man, can you spot me?” He smells of sour cream and onion BO.

Points of information: I don’t know this man, he reeks, and I am not comfortable spotting people. I am also wearing headphones, which is like wearing an invisibility cloak: Don’t disrupt someone with headphones. So why are you asking me, dude? Do I look like a for-hire spotter?

However, I acquiesce. It’s more awkward to say “No, I can’t” than to feign spotting (unless I end up allowing the barbell to crush his sternum; that could be way more awkward).

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Anxiety in all forms

Today I want to talk about a little known disorder that afflicts some average Americans like myself. I suffer from ABS, otherwise known as Anxious Bladder Syndrome, first described by yours truly in 2013. The primary symptom is inability to urinate when people are around.

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Overcoming FOMO

In college one of my favorite articles I read was about FOMO, the fear of missing out. It's basically a feeling you get when you go on social media and see that all your friends are having so much fun and you weren't there. There's all these studies out now that back FOMO up, saying that social media and the Internet is causing kids to feel higher levels of anxiety (click here for an article that backs me up. and another just to up my credibility). Why I liked this article so much- and literally printed it out so I could always have it- was because I could deeply relate to it. I always felt like I was missing out. If I was invited to 2 different events at the same time, I would pick one and then sit on Facebook or Twitter the day after, waiting to see pictures and and status updates about the party I missed out on. I consistently felt like the other option was better no matter how much fun I'd have the night before, I'd always feel like I should have done the other thing.

Making decisions would be stressful, and then I'd have anxiety about it after, knowing that I'd be able to see if the other people had fun. One night I wanted to unwind after a rough week and relax, so I made no plans and decided to stay in. However, it was nowhere near relaxing. I kept checking in on social media and seeing how much fun people were having and I wondered why I ever decided not to go out. So much for relaxing...

Over time I built it up in my head that social media was this huge problem and that I'd never want to work in it because it is an evil empire. After getting a job where my title is literally "Social Media Specialist", I realize how wrong I was about social media.

Social media was never the problem. The problem was all in my head. This is how I needed to think about it: when people go out and take pictures, they hardly ever take sad ones and post them on Facebook. Even more, some of the best nights I've ever had were ones where we didn't take any pictures because we were literally having too much fun to do so.

Consider that people that tweet excessively are probably not doing anything else that would distract them from tweeting, while you're out there having a blast.

And lastly, who the hell cares? Remember that. If I had a great time, why should I be concerned if someone else had more fun? Why can't we all just have fun and not attempt to quantify it and compare it?

Social media is a great way to connect friends and families, consumers and companies, and strangers with similar interests. Just because someone tweets more than you, is tagged in more pictures than you, has a higher Klout score, or is Vine famous does not intrinsically mean that they are living vastly more exciting lived than you. It's just means they waste a lot more time trying to document their lives, while you're out there living it.