Believe it or not, there are still lots of people in the world who enjoy using instant messaging services. And we're not talking about modern iterations like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. We're referring to s-style MSN Messenger-esque apps.
Years old: 22
Up until a year ago , I saw the world as a place where very few doors opened for me. At first I thought it was due to being extremely introverted. But as time went on, I started to struggle with making friends. My few closest friends always told me to a club or go to parties.
This week, she talks with three friends who instant-message one another on Gchat all day, every day. They discuss the importance of an on-call digital sounding board, struggles with acronyms, and why sharing the mundane details of everyday life can be more intimate than the big milestones. Aisha Akhter: I met Jess in middle school. I was new; my family had just moved to town. I was there for three years and then got to high school, and saw Jess in the hallway.
I sat with you at lunch every single day. Aisha: No. Jess: I really kept to myself in middle school. Aisha: I specifically remember toward the end of junior year, I was in gym class with one of our other friends, Ariella. Normally, you get ready in the locker room, and then you stand around and chat with your friends before the teacher blows the whistle. And you do your stretches while they take attendance. I just remember one day being aware of him, and then the next day we were friends.
In friend school, we had a pretty wide friend group. Chris: Because ohana means family. Jess: But the minute high school ended, almost all of us stopped talking to each other. Beck: Did you guys go to different schools, or different cities for work, yours high chat They were at one point roommates while going to school. Aisha: After we graduated, everyone [in our friend group] would log in and we with all videochat. Then, naturally, the videochats got smaller and smaller, and our friend group broke off into different things.
The three of us hung out often.
Jess: Sha graduated a year before me from college. And she started working in [New York]. So she was in the city, Kwon was in the city. I had moved to the next town over from our college, and that was about an hour train ride [from New York City. And then that spiraled into talking to each other nonstop.
Chris: Right after school, we were all looking for jobs, and Sha happened to be looking in the city. We bridged the gap in our friendship that way, by meeting up whenever we had interviews.
Aisha: Still, to this day, Kwon is my chaperone for everything. Like going to interviews, going on first dates …. Aisha: I bring him everywhere. I have a funny story about this.
I had a first date with someone and I was gonna meet him at the Russian Tea Room. We went to a gay bar, just to have a beer, because I get nervous. He was gonna give me a pep talk, like he usually does.
And then, the rest of the night I have no recollection whatsoever, and I ended up dating this guy for a year. He walked you to our first date.
Beck: Wow. So you guys have at this point started Gchatting all the time. What sort of things do you usually talk about? And is it just during the workday? Jess: A big chunk of it is during the workday.
But after work it usually goes into like stupid shit my boyfriend says, the weird dudes on the subway, what we had for dinner, what my dogs are doing, anything and everything really. Beck: Does each person have a certain role that you play in your Gchat dynamic?
Chris: Yeah, all the time. Jess : Which is hard because I literally type everything in acronyms.
One time I was mocking some people at work, and I said that they with that everyone is just an SJW, meaning social-justice warrior. Beck: Are there examples of times where your Gchat group played a role in helping you through something? Aisha: More specifically, I mentioned it before, my parents were super strict growing up. Jess and Kwon have been my friends through thick and thin. Aisha: I feel like friend friends is so hard these days. This little friend circle right here is just something else.
Something that will never change. A lot of people are attorney-represented, so I spend most of my day talking to attorneys. And a lot of them are very nice. But some of these people are so rude. One day, this guy was just really railing on me your 30 minutes, and it got to the point where Chatting hung up and I was fighting back angry tears.
Kwon almost always has something nice to say, or cheers me up. Beck: Have there been any other major milestones in your lives that intersected with your friendship? They were there for me, and that was really helpful.
They feel like they need to ask me with yours chats, stuff like that. Someone needs to appreciate my niece. As I told you, Kwon walks me to things all the time and boosts my confidence. Chris: I never regret it. Any little decision, I always have to consult them. He eats so well; he goes to the gym twice a day sometimes. Chris: I used to work really close to Sha, in Midtown, and we would meet for lunches every once in a while. I really wanted to tell her in person, but then I just got so, so nervous and I chickened friend.
Are you happy?
I want you to be living your life. It was such a relief for me to hear that from her.
And now I have a personal record of it on my Gmail. I just typed in the word acronym when we were talking about it and I realized this could be its own book—all of the acronyms that Kwon does not understand.
Chris: She has records of you saying something—be careful. I remember one time, she caught me in a lie. As opposed to just the bigger moments. Does that feel true for you guys? Aisha: When you asked for screenshots, I had the hardest time trying to find things because everything to me, looking back on it, felt so mundane.
I was like, Why would Julie want to see a screenshot of us sharing our lunches? If you or someone you know should be featured on The Friendship Files, get in touch at friendshipfiles theatlantic. Popular Latest.
The Atlantic Crossword. Beck: Did you drift apart for a little while or something?
Jess: No. Courtesy of Aisha Akhter Jess: I really kept to myself in middle school. Aisha: Yeah. Beck: Do you ever use Gchat to just vent to each other? Aisha: Also, Kwon had a major transformation.
Kwon is so buff right now.
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