You could pretend to be a grown-up, because you were at a computer and not surrounded by lockers and classrooms. But when you’re an adolescent, talking is a way to flirt and flirting is a way to figure out who you are. Did you identify more closely with the lyrics of Dashboard Confessional or the writings of F. “Having the Internet as a catalyst for learning how to interact with your peers was invaluable, and it was also pretty innocent,” says Caroline Moss, a co-author of the upcoming “Hey Ladies!AIM created “a safe space,” genderqueer writer and performer RE Katz tells me. mostly faking, some experimenting, performance.” That performance — complete with the costume of a font and the character of a username — was an attempt at being clever or sexy, at crafting a self. : The Story of 8 Best Friends, 1 Year, and Way, Way Too Many Emails” and the Twitter account @Your Away Message.I hid a smirk with a frown so my mom wouldn’t wonder what I was up to — at that moment, trying not to be turned on.Marla M12 was instant-messaging me a guide to phone sex: “Practice saying things like, ‘You make me so hot’ …We planned Halloween costumes and epic homecoming sleepovers.We talked about our eating disorders with a candor unavailable to us at the lunch table.Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.In 2001, I was 16, sitting at the computer in the family room when my best friend, Marla M12, found me on AIM.
Chatting online was our “out of context,” because interacting fact-to-face meant awkward, eyes-on-the-floor self-consciousness that defined middle or high school. You could “…” through an awkward silence; draft messages in consultation with your BFF; study your chipped nail polish instead of looking straight into the eyes of the person you hoped “like-liked” you. You could sign off with “ciao” one day, “peace out” the next.
If it’s a tricky conversation that is probably way more hyped up in your head than it is in real life, have a walk-and-talk chat about it.
These long, leisurely walks are best done without any destination in mind, so you don’t need to cut your conversation short once you reach a certain place.
When I messaged boys I liked, I learned to have conversations where there was no pressure to arrive at a right answer.
Chatting online, rather, the goal was just to banter.