How the Car Rides Of My Youth Drove My Ability To Have Important Conversations

I spent much of my childhood being driven around by my parents. This would be a poignant metaphor, but my statement is literal. If my mom wasn’t driving me to piano, singing class, or soccer, and my dad wasn’t driving me to one of several dance classes, I was accompanying my parents as they drove my brother to one of his various extra-curricular activities. Getting home each night felt like the end of a marathon. Though we all sat together at the table to eat dinner, my objective was always to eat as quickly…

How I Learned That It’s Okay To Ask For Help

In my childhood home, my dad’s office den was the most exciting forbidden room of the house. While it wasn’t hard for us to keep away from the expensive machines and important papers that filled a majority of that room, my brother and I found it impossible not to sneak in and play with his (yes, my dad’s) toy collection (he called them “desk props” and “paper weights”). Among them included a small plastic crate with a small hole and square button. Through then hole shown an eye, representative of a creature…

How Social Media Tells Our Life Story — Whether We Like It Or Not

Last weekend, I attended a wedding. A number of guests were people to whom I haven’t spoken in months or even years, for no reason other than the fact that our daily lives don’t intersect. As I anticipated the reunion, I imagined a Romy and Michele-style experience in which conversations would begin with, “What have you been up to since 2010?” And I was nervously excited about that. But these conversations took an unexpected path. I was greeted with opening lines like, “You were all over the place this week!” and “What was that dinner you made?” or “I love…

Is Online Communication Making Us More Rude Offline?

Riding home on the metro a few weeks ago, I was one of many San Franciscan sardines commuting after a long day at work. As was to be expected with the abrupt stop-and-gos of the train and the complete lack of personal space, my fellow passengers and I accepted that things were going to get physical. I held a pole for balance while my other arm held an open book in front of my chest. My goal was to take up as little of the horizontal plane as possible. A quarter of the way into…

What’s In A Friend? The Search For A Definition Of Close Friendship

The summer after third grade, I got a two-pendant necklace set. Each pendant was half-heart-shaped, one engraved with the word “Friends” and the other with “Forever.” I spent months strategically determining who would receive my half-heart. I decided on a girl at school who I liked better than anyone else I knew. I wanted to be her best friend. The problem? The role of her best friend was taken. “But it says ‘Friends Forever,’ not ‘Best Friends,’” I told myself every time I got cold feet. I still remember the moment I presented…