How I Overcame my Fears and Learned that Virtual Friends are Even Sexier in Person

This is for anyone who’s been somewhere alone and had to overcome fear of being too shy, too lame, or like my fear: turning into an awkward stand-up comic and ultimately offending people.

Yes, it’s true, like many of you, I have lot’s of virtual friends.  Whether they’re old high school buddies that you communicate with mostly on FB or blog commenters, the entire twitter community, or exes you have kinky late night sexting with (I don’t judge), you’re aware that this tech bond exists.

I’ve been blogging for about 4 years, and over that time I’ve made many many many virtual friends.  I don’t want to brag, but tons of people, who don’t know me, really like me.

Wait, I feel that came out wrong.

Anyhoo, I got to meet many of those people this weekend and I think some are still my friends. Though these meetings didn’t come without their share of fear and trepidation. Yes, I was in the 7th grade this weekend – a grade I categorically erased from my memory after I did a solo performance of Madonna’s “Get Into The Groove” at that year’s talent show, during which I fell to the floor and cried.

I attended my first real blog conference, MOM 2.0 Summit, which is the ultimate in upscale blog conferences, as I’m sure you already know, I mean, DUH?  It was at the Ritz – obvi.  The peeps were successful, the speakers were brilliant, and the liquor was filled with alcohol.

I spent the first hour walking back and forth from my room to the registration area, as I was scared to talk to anyone – and I had nothing else to do with myself.  After the woman in the sign-up suite looked at me for the 5th time and said, “Um ma’am just give us 3 more minutes.” in a Why the f@ck do you keep lollygagging and peeking in? You clearly don’t belong here and simply want to steal a DOVE gift bag – well, I’ll throw off my bifocals and beat you down to the ground – BITCH. Kinda way.  What? I can tell what people are truly thinking.  It’s a gift.

Hour 2 and 3 – I spent at the pool – by myself.  On a lounge chair – alone. Ordering and eating my lunch – solo.  Staring at my phone and pretending I had a ton of work to do on my iPad, which was in fact, dead.  Yes, I was somewhere between giggling and crying as I wrote pretend emails, in reply to pretend messages.

I saw a group of women that seemed to know everyone, That’s my crew, I thought.  I walked up and introduced myself.  The first woman noticed me, Ciaran of Momfluential a virtual friend who I’ve Skyped and become friendly with over the last 4 years, she introduced me to another woman, whom I had admired years before coming to this conference – Stacy Morrison.  Yep, the Editor in Chief of Redbook that made me fall in love with the mag, who is now the EIC of Blogher, who shocked me by being quite lovely, approachable and funny.

Though, at that moment, all I could think was, why the hell did I walk over here in my bikini?  You shouldn’t meet people you respect in a bikini – unless you’re a hooker at a pool party, or a Sports Illustrated model – of which, I am neither.

Then I was introduced to a fun, smart, tall drink o’ water, Rachel of Back’NGrooveMom.  She was a recent virtual friend and she rocked her Tory Burch one shoulder bathing suit, which made me feel less slutty. Phew.

After that, my fears began to subside. I met two long lost big sis’s who I’ve written with, laughed with, been inspired and mentored by at various points in my career:  the out of control Tracy of Lost in Suburbia, and the mesmerizing Jen Singer of Momma Said,

Then I met Farah, my amazing editor at Huff Po and yes, the Motha‘ of all Mothers, Lisa Belkin from Huff Po! Nervous and starstruck, I managed to blather on about something or other and she said something like “we love your writing” and gave a huge hug, so I think whatever I said was good, unless it was “could you please hug me?” which would be not good.

Well, the signs seemed to imply that all was going well.  By this point I was at a white party, P. Diddy style, and I hadn’t spilled anything on myself or anyone else – that’s my definition of a successful evening.

I Found kindred spirits in Self made Mom and Meridith Sinclair and got to talk to the writers and editors at one of my new favorite sites Cafe Mom.  I refused a pearl necklace from the always fun TimeDog guys, but enjoyed them, none the less.

Wait, that came out wrong.

I met two new BFFs, Jenny and Emily of Mommin’ it up, who rocked their LandsEnd Frocks and told me Deliverance style tales about getting spray tans in people’s basement showers.  They ultimately finished out my fabulous foursome.

I realized my true value at the metrics panel and enjoyed follow up talks with AlphaMom – Isabel Kallman, and Adam Keats , which is why I will now charge 1 billion dollars for any product spokesperson work or ambassadorships that I do, because I shouldn’t give it away for free.

Wait, that came out wrong.

I met 2 total girl crushes Empowerment Maven Jess Weiner and ultimate designer Liz Lange and somehow ended up in a twitter lovefest/threesome with them Sunday night.

Wait, that also came out wrong, though Jess is my new boo (love you)!

I pitched myself to Pom Wonderful, because they rock and Minute Clinic, even though one of the ladies there tried on multiple occasions to get me sick and transmit her germs.  Then she gave me free shit from Salma Hayek’s new line, Nuance (which I LOVE BTW) and we made up, until she coughed on me and I ran to the Pom Wonderful table for a shot to counteract.

I also got a ton of swag, I mean, I didn’t even have to take the soap from the hotel room because Dove supplied some (Full Sized) they also supplied girls in need with 15k, so I gotta give them some props. Nice work Rob Candelino!

I’d say it was a success. I got over my fear of knowing no one, made some incredible contacts and turned virtual friends into real friends, which will become virtual again, but maybe we can start sexting to keep the intimacy going. Of course I couldn’t mention all that made an impact, as my regular readers may be bored to tears by now!

It all came out Just Right.  See you next year!!!

The amazing Tracy Beckerman

 

Self Made Mom and Hoo Dee Hoo – get out your Barbie’s

My Beyond fun foursome! xo

Posts You May Like: The Most Annoying Things About Air Travel – A Nervous Flier’s List

15 Random Things I Wouldn’t Know If I Weren’t a Gen Xer

R BABY: R– Baby is a charity incredibly close to my heart!  One of my oldest friends lost her infant daughter (Rebecca) due to insufficient training and equipment at her local hospital.  For 5 years she has been on a mission to make pediatric emergency care and education available at every hospital, so that lives can be saved – not lost.  PLEASE, I implore you to take 30 seconds and sign a petition that will help pass a bill to make this HAPPEN! CLICK HERE TO SIGN

35 thoughts on “How I Overcame my Fears and Learned that Virtual Friends are Even Sexier in Person

  1. Tracy Beckerman

    Out of control? Aw, that is the nicest thing anyone’s said about me in a long time! I think you totally rocked the conference.. every time I saw you you were chatting with and charming other bloggers and sponsors. I fully expect to see giving the keynote next year! And now that you are no longer a conference virgin, be a conference slut and come to all of them with me cuz you are my new bestie!!

    Reply
    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      I would love to be your conf bestie. You are a true original an absolute blast. Plus you always take time for me and with a new book coming out u must be crazed. Love you.

      Reply
  2. Rachel

    you are one amazing wingman
    you did not mention the mosquito bites? that wasn’t sexy? rubbing benadryl cream on each other’s backs?

    Reply
    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      It’s hard to find a great wingman others will have to fight me for you. Plus I bet there are peeps who would pay to see two chicks apply benedryl to mosquito bites. Not people I’d like to know , but people none the less.

      Reply
  3. Jess

    Love you Boo – you were a fast friend from the start. wait, i don’t mean fast in like a slutty way – well, maybe I do. Anyway, you had me at “I’m a Belieber” XO

    Reply
  4. Holly

    I don’t believe you are SHY and I wish I had spent more time getting to know you. The weekend went too fast. You are a star and don’t you forget it. Look how much you have achieved in such a short time!

    Reply
  5. Alexandra

    Tracy is one of those people that GETS IT. I met her at EBWW and have never felt more welcome.

    She doesn’t even know the meaning of the word “clique.”

    I love her, and I love how she is INCLUSIVE, not EXCLUSIVE.

    Wonderful, can’t say enough good about her, and her talent. She is the whole package.

    Reply
  6. Jenny

    Not going to lie…pretty jealous over here…you had me at “the Ritz” or was it “gift bag?” Doesn’t matter does it? Looking forward to turning my blog into a career (albeit local as opposed to your global success) wink wink but hey what can you do?! Love your writing by the way – you crack me up and I’ve gotten all my mommy friends hooked as well. Nice job!

    Reply
    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Jenny S how amazing and kind and wonderful of you to say. More more more. I mean stop it stop it. Thanks for being addicted and getting others hooked on my blog… It’s better than meth. I think. I mean, I don’t know for sure as i haven’t been hooked on meth in ages.

      Reply
  7. Dad

    I LOVED this blog. It was very funny and inspirational. Inspirational in your sharing how you, a poor girl from Tobbacco Road, Shy and Intimidated, with no money, education, or self confidence, could blossom into this exciting, extraverted and brilliant writer.
    All kidding aside, I think this is one of your best pieces, and know you’ll be super successful and popular with your new blogger friends, as you are with your current
    friends.

    Reply
    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Dad stop revealing my upbringing. Xo.

      Btw- You know outgoing people can be shy too. It’s a curse to be both at the same time you run the risk of imploding at any minute.

      Reply
    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Brett there were some men but it’s true they were the minority. Though they got a ton of attention. At the very least you’d get a good piece out of it. Ps look into dad2.0 no joke.

      Reply
  8. mara

    Now I wish even more that I’d come to mom 2.0. Did you have a pensive look on your face while you were ‘working’ on your iPad?

    Reply
    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Of course, Mara. I was switching between emailing a major imaginary company about being their spokesperson and playing an imaginary formidable adversary at words with friends.

      Reply
    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Aliza- I love that you called me a slut! I so rarely get called that these days, almost as rarely as I get called virgin. Well, you can hang with me! LMK when you plan on entering the conf world and if I’m there we’ll meet up.

      Reply
  9. Holly

    Wish I had met you at the conference. Did I meet you at the BOB Awards in Ft. Lauderdale a couple years ago? Maybe it was the Oscars instead, I can’t remember….

    My husband calls my virtual friends my “imaginary friends.” He’ll have to eat his words when we finally get to meet in person.

    Reply
  10. Bari

    Jenny,
    I’m so glad to hear and see that you made so mny wonderful friends. It’s good to know that you have officially moved from the “imaginary” friend group to the real world kind. Attending professional meetings can be an incredibly empowering experience. You rocked it!!!! And you looked great doing it.

    Reply
  11. Elizabeth

    Didn’t have the pleasure of meeting, but damn, sounds like we would have gotten along! I was so refreshed by the openness, thoughtfulness, and sass throughout the weekend. We’ll have to meet soon, and hopefully before Laguna Niguel (ohhh, twist my arm, why don’t you.)

    Reply
    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Elizabeth, I couldn’t agree more, it’s a special conference. Well, I have little point of referrence, but I loved it- so, that should do! PS, mentioned Living Social last week in a Huff Po piece as well as a CBS segment.

      Reply
    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Kristen – it was lovely meeting you and that statuesque bod! PS I’m so glad I sat in on your session, if your inlaws ever need someone to commiserate with… they can call mine.

      Reply
  12. Holly from 300 Pounds Down

    I really loved the part of you typing away on the dead ipad trying to look busy. I have done this myself before when I felt out of place and wanted to feel less awkward. And I cracked up about meeting them in your bikini! But I’m so glad you met all your people and had tons of fun!

    Reply
  13. kristen from motherload

    Honey, I would have *never* guessed it was your first time!

    Now that you survived Mom 2.0, will you be coming to BlogHer?

    So much fun meeting you. After we were bantering someone asked me how long you and I had known each other for and I was all, “Uh… we just met!”

    Reply

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