You Asked It

Just Wondering

Advice on hooking up, internet friends, and masturbation.

How do I make internet friends? I have no idea how to initiate conversations online—when I try, they go nowhere. I also grew up believing that if you give out your real name on Neopets or whatnot you will definitely get murdered, and it’s all new and mysterious to me. —Anonymous

The fact that you played Neopets lets me know that you WILL make awesome, totally non-creepy internet friends, because you clearly have excellent taste. But it’s true: Making internet friends is hard! At least you’ve got the times on your side—way back in the day, it was even harder. Before the twitstagrams and facespaces of our time, girls would mostly join message boards and chatrooms anonymously, not just to explore their interests and identities, but to meet people, too. This was risky because, oftentimes, they were left crossing their fingers that the person with whom they shared a deep passion about, say, Bette Midler was actually a peer and not a 60-year-old man.

Your hesitation to give out your information is very smart. The internet, sadly, isn’t entirely a utopia of girls sharing laughs, advice, and nail-art tutorials (but we’re working on that). It’s smart to initially avoid giving out personal information about yourself—like your last name, address, or phone number—until you’re absolutely confident that whomever you’re communicating with is who they say they are. Thankfully, it’s getting a lot easier to tell when you’re being catfished. Be wary of anyone you can only find in one outlet—like, say you meet someone on Twitter, but they don’t have any other web presence, like a blog, an Instagram, or a Facebook account, that confirms their identity. That’s sketchy! If your new internet friend seems to have a consistent presence and at least a few different pictures of themselves posted, they are probably not tricking you—but still, exercise caution until you’re sure. If you’ve met a friend online that you’re not able to meet up with IRL, but you want to send each other packages in the mail or talk on the phone, confirm the same stuff before you give out your address or phone number—and, if you can, ensure that they’re a real person by video-chatting with them.

All of this rigamarole is worth it! Without internet friends, my life would be so boring! I’d probably be wearing a beige suit, eating a bowl of plain oatmeal, and reading a book on the history of accounting. Instead, I met one of my best friends, Hazel, online when we were 14. We’re both 20 now, and our friendship is stronger than ever! I found her when I used to read message boards on Teen Vogue’s website where girls posted links to their blogs, or blogs that they admired. That’s how I discovered Tavi’s blog; from there, I stumbled onto Hazel’s. We would occasionally comment on one another’s posts, and eventually we started following one another on Twitter. That’s Hazel and I realized we lived pretty close to each other, and that we happened to be both be taking summer classes at a nearby art college. It took time to get to know each other—our internet friendship developed slowly over a year or so. Then we met IRL in a safe space with other people present and have kept on hanging out ever since.

Nowadays, I honestly forget that Hazel was once strictly an “internet friend,” because we’ve been IRL besties for so long! In my experience, meeting online friends in real life is great, because you get to avoid a lot of the boring, small-talk-based aspects of meeting new friends—they’re already familiar with your background and your sense of humor, so you get to just dive right into having fun. Of course, internet chemistry doesn’t always translate in real life, but often enough, it really does! I’ve instantly jumped into the arms of some internet friends at first sight.

It can be hard to figure out where to start on this wondrous journey, but that’s only because you have so many options. Follow people with taste or opinions that you admire on Tumblr and/or Twitter. Feel free to share knowledge or compliments, but if someone is unresponsive, don’t pester them. Like making friends in real life, making online friends can be unpredictable, so don’t burden yourself with the idea that you must make friends every time you log on. Like making friends IRL, it can’t be forced, and unlike Neopets, your goal of friendship will not die if momentarily neglected. Good luck! —Gabby ♦

Got a question you don’t wanna ask your mom/BFF/older bro/teacher/president? Why not send it to us at youaskedit@rookiemag.com? And, when doing so, why the heck not include your name/nickname/initials, your age, and whereabouts you live?

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17 Comments

  • soviet_kitsch May 20th, 2014 11:53 PM

    lola, i’m SO glad you pointed out that penetration doesn’t have to be a part of sex. that goes overlooked quite often! there are so many ways to have sex that don’t involve inserting this into that

  • annacorbett May 21st, 2014 12:34 AM

    AMY ROSE ILL LOVE YOU AND YOUR PERFECT WRITING STYLE FOREVER ugh praise u pls b my bff

  • emseely May 21st, 2014 12:51 AM

    queen ARS strikes again

  • maskedcat May 21st, 2014 1:46 AM

    Hey Olivia- If fingering yourself hurts then it might be a good idea to talk to a gynecologist. (Especially if inserting a tampon also hurts – assuming you’ve started your period and tried tampons, obvs.) What you’re describing sounds a lot like me at 14. I tried talking to my mom but she didn’t really believe me so I figured I must be doing something wrong. I found workarounds for masturbation (friction!!!) but when I finally started having sex it was crazy-painful. I eventually found a good doctor and got diagnosed and treated but I could have avoided a lot of unnecessary pain if I’d stuck up more for myself and made my parents (and doctors) take me seriously. It can be hard to talk about such a personal thing, but it’s totally worth it to find out if something’s wrong.

    For what it’s worth – two fairly common conditions that can cause the kind of pain you’re describing are vulvodynia and vestibulodynia (VBD). They’re both conditions where some of the nerves ‘down there’ aren’t working properly and register what should be a nice touch as really painful. They get misdiagnosed (or ignored) a lot and women and girls lots of times are told it’s ‘all in your head’. It sounds a little scary, but they’re totally treatable! I’m not trying to diagnose you or anything – I’m not a doctor or anything and you know your body best. If this doesn’t sound right, ignore me! Just remember, as long as you’re gentle, it should never hurt to touch yourself down there. If something does hurt you should check it out and if no one listens, keep trying – you’re worth it!

  • RatioRae May 21st, 2014 4:47 AM

    Hey Cass, I used to feel the same way all the time. It didn’t help at all that this friend and I eventually got into a big fight and she started writing really mean things about me online. Eventually, I just got over it because I realised that although we shared some of the same traits, there are so many other things that makes us unique. Find those completely unique traits and you will shine! Also, greetings from a fellow Malaysian. ;)

    And to anon, it’s not that hard, sometimes you just have to reach out! It’s ok if you don’t have common interests at first. I only started getting interested in certain things after reading about the passion others have about it. Feel free to hit me up on my blog or whatever, I love making new friends! :D

    http://thegirlwhodrankstars.blogspot.com

  • Vlada May 21st, 2014 5:24 AM

    Love this post as always, Amy your writing is unbelievable! I love how you present you point of view, and the advices you give, so thank you for that.
    Hello Hazel!!! The question you answered is one that I’ve asked myself many times. This friend I have wouldn’t stop “copying” me and at first, I felt like she was stealing something from me. Then, I realized that she happened to like my style and how I did things, she just embraced my methods because she thought they worked and I’m glad to be someone elses example. She didn’t copy me, she thought that I was cool enough to do some things they way I did them WHAT A HUGE COMPLIMENT!
    Thank you Lola for being so open about an issue that people seem to think is awkward :)
    And last but not least GABBY!!Very good advice right there, keep writing like you do, because I love reading it. I’ll tell my Internet friends about you :)

    PS: Sorry if it’s a shup-up-it-is-too-long comment. Btw this is my blog speakingofvlada.blogspot.com

  • sneakybacon May 21st, 2014 7:10 AM

    hey olivia,
    i’m 20 and have been in a sexual relationship for over 3 years now and it was literally only last week that i figured out how to make myself come with just my hands, so i really wouldn’t worry :)
    what i’d recommend in the meantime is using a vibrator (or even an electric toothbrush with a unused head on). the extra stimulation is often what some women need to come, especially when you’re figuring it out.
    also what i found helpful was watching something arousing, it took me ages to realise not all porn is derogatory and violent, so its worth looking around on the internet for something you like.
    In regards to fingering hurting it may just be a lack of lubrication. it might be a good idea to buy some or spend more time becoming aroused through watching things or fantasising. if this doesn’t work maybe do follow the above advice and see a gynaecologist, but i wouldn’t let it worry you yet, i still don’t like fingering myself, and theres nothing wrong with that.
    I hope this helps and remember to just have fun, there is no right time or right way xxxxxxx

  • Crumpets May 21st, 2014 7:26 AM

    Good grief, Amy Rose, you are just wondrous. You manage to be so articulate in a non-wanker-y kind of way. (That’s a compliment.) Thank you for existing and writing all of this weird relevant information.
    (I kinda want to hear the empty bathtub story now.)

  • Kaetlebugg May 21st, 2014 10:59 AM

    I would also like to point out, for the last question, that sometimes when you are with another person your body does stuff you totally don’t expect, or your feelings are heightened in a way that you just don’t get with masturbation – like when I penetrate myself with my fingers, even when I’m wet, it doesn’t really feel like anything, but when my partner does it after a great deal of foreplay, it feels amazing.

  • Kathryn May 21st, 2014 6:36 PM

    “paypal me a high five” amy rose is a one-in-a-million gem and a tru delight

  • kendallkh May 22nd, 2014 10:23 PM

    olivia: what sneakybacon said! (“its worth looking around on the internet for something you like.” i was bummed for years that i couldn’t get myself off but finally i realized that for me, just plain touching does nothing. once i started figuring out what i was into and looking around on the internet for stuff that got me off, then i could totally get going and it was no problem. just take some time to figure out what’s right for you!

  • Estelle May 23rd, 2014 11:51 AM

    “a herb who wants to feel a thing”

  • lauraunicorns May 24th, 2014 12:52 AM

    Hi, Lily! I don’t mean to be weird or anything but I hardly ever hear of any other Rookies existing in Alabama (which SUCKS – there need to be more of us), so I just thought I’d say hello from the same state!

    http://lauraunicorns.tumblr.com

  • lilshiek May 26th, 2014 6:36 PM

    I have the same kind of problems as Cass and, personally, I feel that your answer is insensitive and lacks a lot of empathy. At least in my situation, it isn’t about wanting credit or expecting validation. When my friends copy me, despite the ridiculousness, it feels as if she is directly robbing me of my INDIVIDUALITY. I’ve had friends tell my own personal stories about my parents and make them about her own parents, I’ve even had a friend say that her eyes were green when they were clearly brown JUST BECAUSE my eyes are green. It can be incredibly discouraging to be copied, though it can be a form of flattery. When a friend takes your traits or style without giving credit–pretending like those traits are THEIR OWN that came from THEIR MIND when they didn’t…. that is when it really hurts.

    Your point is clearly valid… but the number one faux pas in giving someone advice is invalidating their own feelings…. and the others that relate.

  • icanthinkofanythingoriginal May 28th, 2014 8:32 PM

    How do you send in questions?