Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tapas Friendships

Barbara: It might sound a little demeaning to call a friendship “tapas”. After all, tapas are just little dishes, none a full meal on its own. But think of it: each one is still a chip off the ol’ appetite, a palette-whetter, a delicious morsel in its own right. So maybe not so demeaning, after all, huh???

With the explosion of social networking, I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately about relationships suffering because people are now isolating themselves on the internet, hiding behind “false personas” and “superficial connections”. I have to say that in my experience (so far, anyway) nothing could be further from the truth.

Thanks to Facebook and blogging and email, I have never enjoyed so many tasty hors d’oeuvres of friendships in my life. I get to keep up with old but hardly-seen friends and I get to meet new ones. I know these are not the same as real-life, in-the-same-room, no-holds-barred, you-know-all-my-secrets kind of friendships, but they have turned out to be pretty scrumptious just the same. And very satisfying.

These tapas friendships offer a lot of different flavours in one sitting: the spicy one, the soft one, the sweet, the crunchy, the wild. Each “dish” feeds a different need in me. And each one has sustained me in a different way, much like the finest meals have done, just in smaller portions and in more unexpected preparations.

Tapas friendships seem to offer a lot of unconditionals––maybe because there are so few expectations. No one takes it personally if you don’t engage with every thought. And support is so easy to offer because there are no grudging personal histories. Oh my god, the support! Who had this kind of support 10 years ago? I mean, really? I never even knew it possible to feel such warmth and affection on such a grand scale. And who doesn’t thrive with extra and unexpected servings of attention, love, and encouragement?

In fact, we might be on to something. Maybe we can get rid of those chunts who insist on using the internet to spread hate and villainy by feeding the world one tasty morsel of loving friendship at a time. To one deserving diner at a time.

So don’t be offended if I consider you my tapas. Trust that it means I think you’re tasty and satisfying. And if you let me have yours, I’ll let you have mine.

Deb: I love the tapas friendship. Because in my experience––to your point, Barb––the tapas friend has surprised me again and again. It seems like tiny little tapas (yes I know tiny is redundant), but when the chips are down it serves up as a main course complete with salad, soup, and your choice of rice pudding or chocolate mousse. Because the bottom line is ... people constantly surprise me. Friends I have expected the world from, have sometimes let me down, and friends I expected very little from have stepped up and killed me––just killed me––with kindness and support.

But it does not matter because ultimately, I will happily take all the love and friendship you can give me. At this point in my life I relish every kind word and motivating speech. I will take any positive words, accolades, reinforcements, regards, kudos, loves, likes, or “she’s okay”s that you can offer. Bring me the antipasto of friendship and I will supply the bread and the oil. Happily and gratefully.

And PS: we made Round Two (last round) of the Canadian Blogger Awards for Best Personal Blog 2010!! We want to thank you all for supporting us to get to this round. You are the best readers ever!! Voting closes Oct 26 at noon for this the final round. Apparently you can vote once a day (edited to say: once every 24 hours) … but only if you love us once a day, even just a tapas little :-)


  1. Hey, Barbara, the people I have made friends with online, I know them better than some of the people I know in real life, and love them a lot more too. And it is precisely because they are tapas friends- you take the best and ignore what you don't like.

    AND, one particular tapas friend has saved my marriage. I was going through a particularly rocky time, and being the very private person that I am, spoke to nobody. But she caught me at a bad moment, and heard enough to give me a call. It was just two lines of advice that she repeated to me four times in a two minute call, but those two lines put everything in perspective for me.
    Long live tapas friendships- and that is such a cool term for one of the nicest things ever.

  2. Sometimes friends are hard to come by,so if you have any kind of friend even only than you better hold on to them. I love my online friends, I have facebook and twitter so I always get on them to see how my friends are.Online is good to talk to people that you have not talk to in a long time. I have a friend that I have not talk to since my juniour year of high school,and now because of facebook I finally get to talk to her and actually hang out. That's why I love the online world. It's such an amazing.

  3. Sorry my keybord keeps messing up my comment

  4. I love the idea of tapas friendships. My reality would never have allowed me to connect with the people I now consider friends. Issues of time, geography, career tracks, personal backgrounds, etc. would have made it impossible for me to have the array of friends I do thanks to the computer.

    I've loved catching up with old friends and making new ones through all the social media. And it's even pushed me to leave my loner comfort zone, to get out and see people or (gasp!) talk on the phone.

    I wouldn't trade it for anything.

    Congrats on moving to round 2! I'll go vote now.

  5. Actually, Rayna, what you say really strikes a chord -- sometimes it is way easier to lean on someone who isn't also wrapped up in your real life. LOVE that you found someone to help you through that struggle. That is something truly amazing.

    And, like Lyndsie says, to reconnect with "long losts". It's how I found my best friend from high school (waves at Susan M!)

    Lisa, same here. Social networking has truly taken me out of myself and into the world. Exciting. (and thanks for the vote!)

  6. Tapas friendships? This is so, so, SO true! Absolutely true!

    The online world of tapas friendships in invaluable to me because I am geographically isolated in a very, very icky place. There are very few people in this county I can connect with. My tapas friends are my outside world - my sanity! :) (along with piles and piles of interlibrary loan requested books *giggle*)

    I have online friendship bonds that have grown into sending Christmas gifts back and forth to each other and our kiddos. I have online friendships that have grown into real life face-to-face, come visit and stay for a couple of days friendships. I wouldn't give up my diverse, kooky, funky, cool circle of online women for any price!

    And, now, for some silliness. I'm trying to figure out which tappas dishes you ladies are. I guess I have some Canadian food on my tapas table? Hmmmm? Well, the only signature Canadian ingestibles I can think of are based solely on Bob and Doug McKenzie. Deb and Barbara, which of you is the back bacon, and which of you is the Molson beer? ;)

  7. Rigel,
    I will have to claim local Ontario wild blueberries and if I had to be a beer, it would be Labatt's blue! Can't speak for the lovely Barb! She does speak French! Poutine maybe?

  8. *crinkles nose* No poutine on my table, please. Waste of perfectly good French fries. :P

  9. Nooooo to the poutine! Cheese curd *shudders uncontrollably*. No, I'd have to be maple-glazed BC salmon. Um, and a wee sip of ice wine (both sweet, a little fruity, a little salty, and fresh ;)!)

  10. I spoke too soon with the poutine!

  11. tapas friendship - that's great. Funny because my husband calls them "A la carte" friendships... same meaning.

    I'm glad to be one of your tapas, and thrilled to have you girls as mine.

  12. yes, this. exactly.

    (in fact, let's just pretend I wrote this post.)


  13. I love the comparison! Much better than dim sum because nobody has to be chicken feet *shifty* I actually am a person MORE myself in this online realm... somehow feels safer to be sort of out there than it would in my daily life where I periodically have to demand (or inspire) respect (or heaven forbid, pose as role model for my children)--though my daughter sometimes sees stuff and I get a 'mom, you're so weird!'

    But I think the point of how much better we have it than the closeted, isolated writers a decade ago is huge. It would have been so easy to get discouraged without the rest of the platter...

  14. Some say that online relationships/friendships aren't based on reality because as writers we choose what to share and how to describe ourselves. But what comes out of me in writing comes from a place closer to the centre of me than what I might say when we're in the same room, when self-conscious awareness and good manners make me less likely to "tell it like it is," so that I am far more reserved in person. For this reason, I find online friendships more truthful, more honest, and quite satisfying. We will often say what we really think rather than tippytoeing around an issue or opinion in order to avoid upsetting a friend. I value that.

    Also, how is "Rigel" pronounced?

  15. A la carte is perfect too. And, Hart, that's exactly what I was thinking re the solitude of the writer's life. Online brings a lot of comfort.

    Katrinka! That was the point I forgot to stress -- that I'm as much if not more myself for all the reasons you cite. That's what makes it sooo good!

    And in case Rigel doesn't weigh in again -- it's a soft g, first syllable emphasis.

  16. Someone mentioned earlier that it looked like could vote daily for that blog award. Well, I voted for y'all yesterday (of course!). When I went back to vote again this morning, it said,"We have already logged your vote." So, it is only one vote.

    Katrinka, thanks for asking! I appreciate people who care enough to get it right!
    "Rye" (like rye bread) is the strong syllable. The "jul" -- like gull in seagull but with a j sound instead of a hard g.

    SPOCK (woot! woot!) and the other Trek folks said my name sometimes in scripts. (But, of course, all of my Trek loyalties lie with his rocking awesome Vulcanness).

  17. Thanks for voting, Rigel! I had the same sitch yesterday -- turns out it's once every 24 hours. So once a day, but not before 24 hours has elapsed.

  18. Gotcha! OK, 2nd vote just logged.

    Voting twice? I feel like a corrupt politician. ;)


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