Community, Cliques and Making Friends

Image Via Pixabay

When I first started this blog I wasn’t involved in the blogging community at all. Through the podcast I started to converse with other podcasters, and that felt like a far easier community to break into that the blogging one. Until that is I realised something, I hadn’t actually tried to be part of the blogging community.

When I decided to eventually start taking part in things within the blogging community I will be honest and say I did so because I thought it might be a good way to promote ProudToBeKinky. However, far more of you visit me for my writing than my podcasting, so I can be upfront and say that plan did not work out.

What did happen though was that I found lots of awesome people whose words I was enamoured by and whose encouragement and support has actually made my life a lot richer. I know none of the people whom I’m referring to in real life and I don’t consider myself to be their go to blogging best friend. I don’t organise anything or do anything special that makes me a fixture of the blogging community. However I do feel like I am part of it, to me it does feel like a community, and a really wonderful one at that.

Yet time and time again I see this same community referred to as a clique, and the same people I find to be helpful and welcoming seen as more akin to gatekeepers than potential new friends. I won’t lie, I get this, in part. When I was a fledgling blogger I saw the blogging community as a place where everyone clearly knew each other, and outsiders where likely not to be welcome into the fold. I was definitely wrong. How I found this out was through my own actions though, not theirs.

It’s very easy to set up a blog, write what it is you would like to share and then hope that people happen upon you, like what you’re writing and make you feel heard. Which is important. It’s easy to say we write for ourselves, but I think for many of us we also write to get our voice out there. To have other people say ‘yes, I get that’, ‘you made feel x, y or z’ or simply ‘I heard you’ and there is no shame in wanting and enjoying that feedback. Here’s the thing though, if you aren’t willing to offer that to other people in return then chances are you won’t actually receive the feedback you are seeking.

I know 100% that this post is going to make some people defensive, and if you can already feel yourself getting ready to pounce and justify why it isn’t your fault you don’t feel involved. Then I suspect this is closer to your truth than you’re willing to admit.

Almost everyday I see someone comment, on a variety of social media platforms, that they’re just not part of the ‘clique’, that their face doesn’t fit, or they’re not conforming to the sex blogging community mould. This makes me feel bad, so I go to all their social media accounts and their blog to see if there is a way I can involve them, or give them some handy hints on getting involved. For example maybe they’ve never come across Masturbation Monday or Wicked Wednesday. Maybe their account is private, or their link is broken. Very rarely though are any of those things applicable.

Usually when I get to these account I find one thing … it’s all about them. Sometimes so much about them they aren’t even promoting their own blog. Here’s the thing; we can’t find you if you don’t put yourself out there. Second of all it’s actually not a lot of fun cheering someone on who has no desire to the same for others.

Friendship needs to go in more than one direction for it to work, so expecting us all to rally round your blog, when you are hardcore hating on us, isn’t going to work. I share, like and comment on a range of blogs. Some of the blogs I love visit me, some don’t. Some of the bloggers who visit me are my favourites, some aren’t. All of the blogs I see as part of this community though have one things in common, they are getting involved.

Let’s take the weekly memes for example. If I see you joining in each week, and I read your stuff, give it a like, maybe leave a comment. Then I realise that week after week you aren’t taking the time to read/like/comment/share even a small selection of the other submissions, and your Twitter is an endless series of ‘me, me, me’ I’m going to stop visiting your blog altogether, because while you’re complaining about not being ‘in the clique’ you actually aren’t doing anything, except using a linky tool to be part of the community.

Likewise to the people who have been recommended to get involved in those memes but choose not to because ‘I wouldn’t fit in’. You have decided for yourself that you aren’t part of the sex blogging community, so don’t lay that decision at the feet of those of us who didn’t even get a chance to include you.

Making friends, both online and in real life isn’t easy. I get that. At 30 I found myself in need of new friends and was terrified to begin that process, it was uncomfortable and nerve wracking, but I did it. Then I saw a community that I wanted to be a part of online, made my silly judgements about cliques and then decided that I needed to be the one to make the first move, because none of those strangers on the internet had any idea I wanted to know them.

I started visiting blogs, liking posts and leaving comments. Memes like Masturbation Monday and Wicked Wednesday were perfect for finding new bloggers to follow. Then I found those same bloggers on Twitter and I got involved there too. I liked people thoughts and shared their writings and soon enough people were visiting me here and before long I was involved.

Even now there are bloggers who I think are just too cool, too well established or just a far better calibre of writer than me for them to be one of my blogging pals or even a vague blogging acquaintance. Every now and again though one of them will comment on something I’ve said on Twitter, or we’ll be tagged in the same Twitter thread and before I know it they’ve stopped by here, or said something nice about one of my tweets and I’m reminded once again that I decided something on their behalf, without even trying to tell them how awesome I think they are.

I know there are unpleasant people online, and I know many of you may have encountered prejudice, bullying and exclusionary behaviour either online or in real life which will make you wary of other people. I am not saying everyone is perfect and cliques don’t exist. I’m not even saying that hasn’t happen to someone by another member of the sex blogging community, because I’m not naive and I know sometimes things do happen within communities we love.

That said, the people I see complaining about not being involved, or not being accepted aren’t making those kinds of claims. They simply are not visiting and supporting other blogs, but absolutely want us all to be fawning over them and saying how great their writing is. Simply put, why should we?

If you are a blogger who writes about Sex, Kink, Fetish, BDSM, Alternative Relationship Models, LGBTQIA+ content or anything else that is likely to come under the sex blogging umbrella then please, please, please get involved in the community. Use the weekly meme’s for inspiration to write more, use them to find new blogs to visit, link up your posts for us to find you, but do give us a chance before you decide to write us of as a clique that didn’t welcome you.

You can find all the weekly memes I get involved in by following these links …

Masturbation Monday – Wicked Wednesday – Kink of the Week – Sinful Sunday

Friday Flash – Food For Thought Friday – TMI Tuesday

I am linking this up to Masturbation Monday, even though what I really wanted to write  for it was a sexy piece of Erotica inspired by Cara Thereon’s gorgeous prompt image! But Kayla Lords is one of the people who makes this community great and the fact that she gives us a space to share our voices is AMAZING! So I’m hoping by sharing there and linking to Masturbation Monday here, more people will find their way into getting involved and sharing their awesome smut with us.

26 thoughts on “Community, Cliques and Making Friends

  1. I agree with pretty much everything you have said here Floss. I know that people have differing amounts of time to devote to all of this, I was one of those struggling to juggle everything until recently. Engaging with others is so important as is participating in the stuff that is going on. I am lucky to have met some of the awesome bloggers I read and have found them friendly and encouraging in the flesh as well as online. Sometimes though, there are small groups of people that just promote themselves and each other, that can be tricky. Best ignore it and act as you would like others to be towards you. Plus, share the love xx

    1. Thank you for this wonderful collection of thoughts and words. I am new to the “everything” community! Blogging, writing, tweeting, and podcasting. Even my gif and meme game seemed weak It has been overwhelming at times but I have been welcomed and supported. At first, my fear of appearing to be a stalker, or too needy or even using others to make myself successful has stopped me from doing a lot of what you mentioned. Mostly the fear and thought that I am not worthy and not good enough to be among those I read and admire. Truth? No one else made me feel that way. It was my own insecurity. So thank you for being brave and solid enough to call attention to this. I appreciate it.

      1. Bless you 🙂 thank you for such a lovely reply. I’m am so pleased you found this community and I look forward to visiting your blog later and finding you on twitter x

  2. Good post Floss! I do like seeing people read and comment on my posts. I guess in a small way it is validation for me. I’ve met some tremendous people and their words encourage me consistently. I try to visit and keep up with all the blogs I follow. I like to comment and hopefully provide encouragement back at them. And isn’t friendship supposed to be a give and take type of thing?? Some people on here I consider friends though we have never met in the flesh—and might never meet that way. And yet I still care about their lives and want nothing but the best for them. I’m still here to listen to their venting and provide additional viewpoints for them to consider. I’m still here to be their friend!

  3. ” it’s actually not a lot of fun cheering someone on who has no desire to the same for others.”
    So well said Floss! x

  4. Very interesting post.
    It’s all too easy in the blogosphere, and most walks of life, to take and not contribute back. It’s also true that as bloggers we’ll start off with an attitude of “I’m not worthy”, not wanting to ruffle feathers. Using that as an excuse for not participating becomes habit and ingrained isolation.
    I’m not a great one for mixing and often I run out of free time to do the call of duty that I feel I should have. I’ll fade in and out of activity but will always try to say something, even if it’s just a like. The big challenge is to find time to expand the blogs I read and the responsibility to encourage in the way others encourage me.

    1. I don’t know about everyone else but I love a good like on my posts =D so even if that is all someone can manage in terms of time or knowing what to say I think that’s all good.
      I think it’s quite easy to spot the difference between someone who likes to support and encourage but can do so consistently because life happens or is less attached to their phone than someone like me, and someone who just can’t be bothered. Or doesn’t see the benefit of a back and forth. You have certainly never struck me as the latter, so I reckon you’re doing alright 🙂
      I do understand the challenge of finding time to expand the blogs you read! I too would like to have more time to do this x

  5. A very astute piece of writing Floss. I recognise so much of what you describe. In the beginning I was enthusiastic about many other’s blogs but soon realised there were a few bloggers who stayed in their own camp and very rarely strayed out to comment or even like others work. But there are many fine people here so it’s not all bad.

    1. Exactly Pons, and I would say you are one of the fine people yourself. Yours was a blog I hadn’t visited before, but then I did, and now I include you in my list of awesome online peeps, and here you are on my blog too. So this proves I’m not talking twaddle :p

  6. Great post Floss, being relatively new I have, so far, found the blogging community I have made contact with to be very welcoming and encouraging and I have enjoyed trying to get more involved, although felt very out my depth to start! I have learned a lot and gained huge appreciation for the work of others. It can be tricky to fit it all in and make the space for writing and reading, and still need to search for some balance there without it impacting in my day to day, but I have found it to be so worthwhile and inspiring to move out my own bubble where I am often surprised by who stops by who I thought never would, as well as who doesn’t who I hoped would. X

    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I know exactly what you mean about surprised by who stops by! You never know though those on your hope to visit may still get to you 🙂 Fitting all the reading and writing in is definitely tricky, but I always think so long as we visit some people and maybe mix it up on occasion then we’re probably doing alright x

  7. You are so damn right and said something I’ve thought for years.
    Thank you, first, for mentioning Masturbation Monday. And yes, ALL are welcome to join in. I personally read, comment, AND tweet every single blogger who participates in order to help people feel welcome, let them know someone read their post, and (hopefully) introduce them to the sex blogging community.
    But none of us can know if someone is out there, when they’re afraid or unwilling to join in, and don’t make themselves known to us.
    And I agree with you completely about the bloggers who are focused only on themselves. My blogging life, friendships, and opportunities have grown BECAUSE of the community. Generosity has never been something that hurt me in this world (even if individuals are sometimes problematic). So yes….give back just a little, and you will receive so much more in return.
    Even saying all that, I still feel bad that I don’t get to read and comment as much as I would like. Some days, I can’t keep up with Twitter or even my own comments section. Not because they’re that busy but because life happens. And if I’ve ever made anyone feel left out or ignored because of it, that’s something I’m deeply sorry for. The sex blogging community gave me so much when I first joined, and I know it can be rewarding for so many…but first you have to find your people, the people who get your vibe. And we’re here…that I’m sure of.
    (((HUGS))) Thank you for writing this.

    1. Thank you for the awesome reply Kayla. It’s nice to have hosts of the memes mentioned responding so people can see I’m not going barmy and saying untrue things, lol.
      I think life gets to us all at some point and holds us back from replying as much as we’d like, but I hope we all understand that and still support our friends when their a bit snowed under.

  8. Thank you Marie 🙂 For Reading and commenting, I really do hope lots more people come along and join in with Wicked Wednesday x

  9. You know what, I feel 100% called out by this post, Floss, and that’s not a negative thing at all. Though I don’t expect comments on the stuff I write, I’m one of the worst offenders for not commenting on other bloggers’ work. It isn’t out of a lack of regard for others, or not feeling like their work isn’t worth my comments, but rather a case of anxiety that my comments will run along the lines of “OMG I LOVED THIS!!” rather than being constructive, and I worry that bloggers might feel that this kind of feedback is a bit pointless. I don’t personally, but I can see why some might.
    But I do understand that my anxiety isn’t an excuse for not giving to the sex blogging community. I’m always around, reading peoples’ stuff and usually loving it, and I’m always around to offer help, advice, and support if anyone needs or wants it. I just need to do better to make sure people know that, because right now I don’t think that they do. And I must remember to click that like button if my visit was fleeting, just so folks know I’m there shipping their work.
    Thanks for this post, lovely, it’s spot on.

    1. Bless you Ella, I seemed to have caused this feeling in lots of people who were far from my mind when I wrote it. And the culprits who I was thinking off are still offending *face palm*
      I’m a big fan of the like button though, it’s so good to say ‘hey I’ve visited, but I’m either short on time or low on words, but I wanted you to know I’ve heard you’ at least that’s what I mean when I press it!
      I also LOL’d at you worrying your comments would just be ‘OMG I LOVE THIS.’ That is almost word for word a comment I leave often! I am hoping for my own sake that constructive and insightful comments aren’t required, because mostly I’m just over hear fanning myself and trying to remember how to spell ‘hot’ through thoughts of sexiness :p
      I won’t lied, I peed my pants a little when I read the first line of your comment thinking I’d upset you! Then I laughed hard at myself when I realised this wasn’t the case, and then I was just really pleased you’d taken the time to reply to one of my posts, and I am certain everyone else will feel the same 🙂
      Your blog and your writing is excellent and I imagine you are someone that many bloggers are looking to for inspiration while going ‘ooooh she’s good.’
      Thank you so much for reading 🙂 (and commenting of course :p) I hope you have a wonderful weekend xxx

  10. I’m relatively new to blogging and have only skimmed the surface. It’s not easy juggling life, writing for publication, blogging, and all the social media stuff. So I’m in awe of all you super-bloggers who post so frequently and regularly. I totally agree with everything you wrote. I know I’ve been making an effort to participate in the memes–if for no other reason than to stretch my writing muscles. Early on, I made the decision to read and comment on all the other posts shared in whatever meme I’ve linked to. They may not be the most in-depth critiques or insightful comments, but at least I’m trying to give back more than i take. Hopefully, I’ll get better at time management and be able to participate more. 🙂

    1. Aw bless you! It sounds like you doing fab. I have the same approach with reading what memes I’ve linked to. Sometimes that’s all I manage. A few weeks back I didn’t manage anything (because life), sometimes I miss amazing posts by people and see them a few weeks or months later and I’m gutted I miss it initially, but then I figure they get a boost on their post after all the new post love has died down, which is great too I reckon 🙂
      Also a couple of people have worried about comments not being insightful, but honestly 99% of the time my comments to people are along the lines of ‘OMG that’s so got!’ So I’m really hoping constructive and insightful isn’t a requirement, lol xxx

  11. Damn, I am late to this party but as the saying goes, better late than never…. and well done Floss for writing this piece. Whenever bloggers ask me for advice about blogging and traffic etc I always say join in with the community, it will bring you way more than just traffic and so it is lovely to see someone supporting that with their actual experience.
    I truly believe that as individual we are small voices but as a community we can be heard and even effect change and because we write about sex we are often isolated from other blogging communities. I have been joining in with the #bloghour chat each week on Twitter and definitely noticed that the interaction with me compared to other non sex bloggers is different.
    Thank you for the mention of Kink of the Week and Sinful Sunday. I am very proud of both of those projects but particularly Sinful Sunday. I love seeing people exploring themselves through photography and that it results in so many diverse body types being celebrated is just awesome

  12. Another late person, but I want to say I totally agree with your post. I had to learn this when I first started. If you aren’t visiting others blogs, they won’t visit yours. You have to make effort. The flip side is those moments I feel nearly anxious because I can’t comment one week due to time. I try to pick a few different blogs to go to so no one feels excluded. It’s important to try

  13. Excellent and articulate post, Floss (as always) I constantly feel guilty that I don’t comment or retweet or share enough and much like Ella, I feel totally called out (but that’s a good thing). I appreciate it when, as a community, we can talk about feedback and critique, both of our work and our conduct and participation. I sincerely hope I wasn’t an inspiration for this post and I certainly feel motivated to stay off the offenders list. Thanks for the kick in the ass.
    xo V

    1. Bless you Violet, 100% you were not my inspiration for that post! I think you are one of the bloggers who is kind and generous with your time and your feedback. In fact, all of the folks who have read this and decided they must do better were all folks I consider to already be lovely community members, the folks who needed the kick up the ass? Not so much with the seeing and the changing *facepalm* Can’t win ’em all I guess, lol x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You Might Like This
This wasn't the photo I was expecting to take for…
%d bloggers like this: