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Social media networks are designed to be performative. At their core, these sites rely on their user—on you—to share content publicly with a seemingly ever-expanding group of family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, near-strangers, and actual strangers, who, for some unknown reason, started following your account. In these performances, we are enacting a different type of friendship; each “like” and emoji, each retweet and favorite, allows us to both make contact with a person and make it public, for everyone to see. Thus, as the social media scholar, danah boyd, has made clear: our understanding of online friendships constantly blur the lines between our public and private lives, as well as our work and leisure time.

The emotions of relationships are less clear on these platforms then because we’re performing the intimate and private gestures of friendship in a space designed to be shared, and we begin to mix up our affections. We offer the same likes to our parents as we do to a coworker. We celebrate a friend’s engagement in the same way that we laugh at a meme. And a picture of someone’s dinner gets the same sentiment as a sibling’s newborn child.

Sometimes, these engagements feel easier; we connect with people we rarely encounter in our everyday lives, but who we somehow feel close to, through the smallest gestures. But, sometimes, it’s much harder. Sometimes we discover that the friends who we’ve know for years, the ones we are close to and whose lives we’ve shared, are in fact very different people on the internet.

These transformations take many forms: we discover someone who we thought we knew can be too combative in their interactions; that they can be endlessly self-promotional; that they can be too perfectly curated. They can update too often, they can respond too quickly, they can be too “online”. When we see an Instagram feed that’s too ideally constructed, we scoff (“I know them, their life isn’t that perfect”) and when we see one that’s too personal—that shares too much and reveals more than we think we should—we condemn (“they should be more careful with what they put on these sites”). At some level, the frustration we feel with our friends is because the performance of the self is always bound up with the audience we imagine we’re performing for—and that audience is always uncertain on the Internet.

There are ways around this, however. Ways to avoid being irritated (or worse, being the irritant), and ways to be better friends online.

For instance, by narrowing down who you’re performing for. As social networks allow users to exchange private messages and to run group chats with their closest friends, our online selves are increasingly split and curated for smaller and smaller audiences. In our group chats, we crowdsource our lives, asking for advice about our major life decisions, as well as our most banal. On our “finsta” accounts we can archive our most imperfect faces, our sorriest states and our personal breakdowns for an even more selective group. In our unsent drafts and half-finished messages we can hold on to some part of ourselves for ourselves.

Friendship online is messy and uncertain, as we’re tasked with performing our closest relationships through a series of smiley faces, double-taps and messages that take up mere seconds of our time. These actions often feel too crude for the intimacy of friendship. However, as the philosopher Jacques Derrida reminds us, friendship is always based on incommensurability. We are never equal with one another, but we stop comparing because the value of a friend, he explains, “exceeds the very principle of a calculation”.

It’s important not to lose ourselves in the small gestures of online friendship, but it’s just as important to hold on to what they do—a tap is just a tap, but it says “I saw this”, it says “I saw you”, it says “we are friends”.

Right now, the Cullinan is a different matter. You will regularly pass one of the famous old British brand’s other current models – Ghost, Phantom, Wraith and, on occasion, the drop-top Dawn – on the roads here; RR’s debut SUV, however, is currently a box-fresh sight.er-tall imperfections in the road. Roll with the punches. Sometimes you can plan your journey, but sometimes your journey chooses you.

Right now, the Cullinan is a different matter. You will regularly pass one of the famous old British brand’s other current models – Ghost, Phantom, Wraith and, on occasion, the drop-top Dawn – on the roads here; RR’s debut SUV, however, is currently a box-fresh sight.er-tall imperfections in the road. Roll with the punches. Sometimes you can plan your journey, but sometimes your journey chooses you.

Right now, the Cullinan is a different matter. You will regularly pass one of the famous old British brand’s other current models – Ghost, Phantom, Wraith and, on occasion, the drop-top Dawn – on the roads here; RR’s debut SUV, however, is currently a box-fresh sight.er-tall imperfections in the road. Roll with the punches. Sometimes you can plan your journey, but sometimes your journey chooses you.

Right now, the Cullinan is a different matter. You will regularly pass one of the famous old British brand’s other current models – Ghost, Phantom, Wraith and, on occasion, the drop-top Dawn – on the roads here; RR’s debut SUV, however, is currently a box-fresh sight.er-tall imperfections in the road. Roll with the punches. Sometimes you can plan your journey, but sometimes your journey chooses you.

Right now, the Cullinan is a different matter. You will regularly pass one of the famous old British brand’s other current models – Ghost, Phantom, Wraith and, on occasion, the drop-top Dawn – on the roads here; RR’s debut SUV, however, is currently a box-fresh sight.er-tall imperfections in the road. Roll with the punches. Sometimes you can plan your journey, but sometimes your journey chooses you.

Right now, the Cullinan is a different matter. You will regularly pass one of the famous old British brand’s other current models – Ghost, Phantom, Wraith and, on occasion, the drop-top Dawn – on the roads here; RR’s debut SUV, however, is currently a box-fresh sight.er-tall imperfections in the road. Roll with the punches. Sometimes you can plan your journey, but sometimes your journey chooses you.

Right now, the Cullinan is a different matter. You will regularly pass one of the famous old British brand’s other current models – Ghost, Phantom, Wraith and, on occasion, the drop-top Dawn – on the roads here; RR’s debut SUV, however, is currently a box-fresh sight.er-tall imperfections in the road. Roll with the punches. Sometimes you can plan your journey, but sometimes your journey chooses you.

Right now, the Cullinan is a different matter. You will regularly pass one of the famous old British brand’s other current models – Ghost, Phantom, Wraith and, on occasion, the drop-top Dawn – on the roads here; RR’s debut SUV, however, is currently a box-fresh sight.er-tall imperfections in the road. Roll with the punches. Sometimes you can plan your journey, but sometimes your journey chooses you.​

Givenchy Ear Rings – AED 2,150
Gucci Top – AED 1,300

Givenchy Ear Rings – AED 2,150
Gucci Top – AED 1,300

Givenchy Ear Rings –  AED 2,150
Gucci Top – AED 1,300

Right now, the Cullinan is a different matter. You will regularly pass one of the famous old British brand’s other current models – Ghost, Phantom, Wraith and, on occasion, the drop-top Dawn – on the roads here; RR’s debut SUV, however, is currently a box-fresh sight.er-tall imperfections in the road. Roll with the punches. Sometimes you can plan your journey, but sometimes your journey chooses you.

Right now, the Cullinan is a different matter. You will regularly pass one of the famous old British brand’s other current models – Ghost, Phantom, Wraith and, on occasion, the drop-top Dawn – on the roads here; RR’s debut SUV, however, is currently a box-fresh sight.er-tall imperfections in the road. Roll with the punches. Sometimes you can plan your journey, but sometimes your journey chooses you.

Right now, the Cullinan is a different matter. You will regularly pass one of the famous old British brand’s other current models – Ghost, Phantom, Wraith and, on occasion, the drop-top Dawn – on the roads here; RR’s debut SUV, however, is currently a box-fresh sight.er-tall imperfections in the road. Roll with the punches. Sometimes you can plan your journey, but sometimes your journey chooses you.​

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Right now, the Cullinan is a different matter. You will regularly pass one of the famous old British brand’s other current models – Ghost, Phantom, Wraith and, on occasion, the drop-top Dawn – on the roads here; RR’s debut SUV, however, is currently a box-fresh sight.er-tall imperfections in the road. Roll with the punches. Sometimes you can plan your journey, but sometimes your journey chooses you.

Right now, the Cullinan is a different matter. You will regularly pass one of the famous old British brand’s other current models – Ghost, Phantom, Wraith and, on occasion, the drop-top Dawn – on the roads here; RR’s debut SUV, however, is currently a box-fresh sight.er-tall imperfections in the road. Roll with the punches. Sometimes you can plan your journey, but sometimes your journey chooses you.

Right now, the Cullinan is a different matter. You will regularly pass one of the famous old British brand’s other current models – Ghost, Phantom, Wraith and, on occasion, the drop-top Dawn – on the roads here; RR’s debut SUV, however, is currently a box-fresh sight.er-tall imperfections in the road. Roll with the punches. Sometimes you can plan your journey, but sometimes your journey chooses you.

Right now, the Cullinan is a different matter. You will regularly pass one of the famous old British brand’s other current models – Ghost, Phantom, Wraith and, on occasion, the drop-top Dawn – on the roads here; RR’s debut SUV, however, is currently a box-fresh sight.er-tall imperfections in the road. Roll with the punches. Sometimes you can plan your journey, but sometimes your journey chooses you.

Right now, the Cullinan is a different matter. You will regularly pass one of the famous old British brand’s other current models – Ghost, Phantom, Wraith and, on occasion, the drop-top Dawn – on the roads here; RR’s debut SUV, however, is currently a box-fresh sight.er-tall imperfections in the road. Roll with the punches. Sometimes you can plan your journey, but sometimes your journey chooses you.

Right now, the Cullinan is a different matter. You will regularly pass one of the famous old British brand’s other current models – Ghost, Phantom, Wraith and, on occasion, the drop-top Dawn – on the roads here; RR’s debut SUV, however, is currently a box-fresh sight.er-tall imperfections in the road. Roll with the punches. Sometimes you can plan your journey, but sometimes your journey chooses you.

Right now, the Cullinan is a different matter. You will regularly pass one of the famous old British brand’s other current models – Ghost, Phantom, Wraith and, on occasion, the drop-top Dawn – on the roads here; RR’s debut SUV, however, is currently a box-fresh sight.er-tall imperfections in the road. Roll with the punches. Sometimes you can plan your journey, but sometimes your journey chooses you.

Right now, the Cullinan is a different matter. You will regularly pass one of the famous old British brand’s other current models – Ghost, Phantom, Wraith and, on occasion, the drop-top Dawn – on the roads here; RR’s debut SUV, however, is currently a box-fresh sight.er-tall imperfections in the road. Roll with the punches. Sometimes you can plan your journey, but sometimes your journey chooses you.​

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