A Recipe For Internet Lurking

Add 4 globs of boredom mixed with curiosity. Want to find out more about a friend of a friend, the person your ex is dating, some beautiful girl in L.A. who’s in Nylon sometimes. Thank god for the internet and pray they have a public profile on Facebook.

Get lost in learning about their life. Go through their comprehensive internet history and “meet” their significant others, their friends, their cute little bulldog named Gus. Cringe each time you look but always come back for more.

Realize that you always lurk people who are separated from you by one or two degrees. It’s like you could know them IRL. Maybe you even met them at a party once and they asked you for a cigarette. You looked at them and thought to yourself, “You intrigue me. I’m going to be the biggest freak on a leash and look you up online and acquaint myself with your life and you won’t know it. You’ll never know the things I know about you and if you ever did, I just might die!”

Simmer 1 hilarious shameful lurking experience after another. Be in a group of people and have their name come up in the conversation. Bite your tongue and play dumb. Don’t reveal the lurking. Don’t say, “Oh, right. I don’t know Samantha but I know that she went to Hampshire for two years and was like best friends with this girl named Taylor. Then she dropped out and goes to SMC now. Her and Taylor don’t talk very much anymore. Their friendship has had a decreased internet presence. And she used to date Zac but they broke up because Zac was an asshole. I think she’s dating this new guy named Polo. They’ve been taking a lot Mac photobooth pictures lately….” Seriously. You know so much. The thing about lurking someone on the internet is that you pay attention to every facet of their life because that’s all you have. As a result, you end up knowing more about them than a casual friend of theirs would.

Issue 10 virtual restraining orders on yourself. Tell yourself that you’ll stop lurking, that you’ll go outside and fly a kite with your real friends or something. It doesn’t work. You’re addicted to their photos, to their status updates, to their beautiful cool friends. You’re not even sure why. Why do people lurk? Why do people get so obsessive from afar? WHAT IS WRONG WIITH YOU?

Have 5 people you lurk on rotation. There’s the beautiful girl in New York who’s a model and makes status updates about being in detox (LOL), there is your childhood best friend who developed bipolar disorder and goes to San Diego State. You haven’t spoken in years, but you make sure to check their FB a few times a week to read their insane musings. You lurk your ex who broke you heart because they’re your ex who broke your heart. Do you need any other reason? There’s the friend you sort of know and wish you were closer to. Their life just seems like so much fun! And then there’s the person you want to be, who you idolize. Ironically, the people you don’t lurk or pay much attention to on the internet are your best friends.

Garnish with 1 epiphany. Lurking is like going on a junk food binge. it feels so good at first, but eventually the shame will set in and make you feel really gross about yourself. It’s okay though. There is no shame in the lurking game. Take solace in knowing that someone somewhere is lurking you. Someone somewhere knows every intimate detail of your life. And that’s awesome….right? TC mark

You should follow Thought Catalog on Twitter here.

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

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  • PERFECTCIRCLES

    We can all pick our favorite TC writer and follow this recipe perfectly. I call Molly Oswaks.

    Also thank you for using lurking instead of stalking. Big difference that people often forget.

    • http://tattoosnob.com Julene

      Yeah, one involves a real restraining order.

    • http://twitter.com/mollyoswaks molly oswaks

      Lurk away, Perfect Circles, lurk away.

  • G.J.L.

    Am I the ex who broke your heart, Ryan?

    -G.J.L.

    • Ryan O'Connell

      I've never dated someone with those initials! So, no?

      • YO

        Lord Jacob Gyllenhaal is shy and wrote his initials backwards because he didn't want to expose you.

  • http://justyourusual.blogspot.com/ Es

    I feel a little less like a creep now. Love it.

  • Bethany

    I try to take solace in that but then I realize that it's entirely possible people DON'T stalk me back & I'm just a sad sack unstalked stalker

  • http://phmadore.com P. H. Madore

    I always assume that your posts are going to leave me feeling like a worse person because — ba dum — this will be the one that really strikes through to the core of my weirdness. But then it always turns out to be more self-reflection than anything, which is what all of the best writing has to be, I sometimes feel, and so it's okay, I come away breathing easy.

  • EmiliaBedelia

    I don't know if people lurk me. I don't have FB. This is probably how a 2011 existential crisis begins. I also don't lurk (often, successfully, etc). Oh god.

  • LDN

    wth is a 'glob'?

  • yrdadsbff

    I deactivated my facebook for all the reasons listed.

    but sometimes I reactivate to lurk for old time's sake (and promptly deactivate again!)

    • gg

      I am exactly the same!! It's a vicious cycle

  • RamonaCC

    I lurk people sometimes, but I usually stop because I end up accidentally falling in love with some stranger(who like you said is always 1 or 2 degrees away) but I don't have facebook/twitter/tumblr so there are zero ways for other people to lurk me. This makes me feel weird.

  • jen

    omg

    • jen

      this is honestly the story of my life

  • Felicia Earhart

    Story of my life. Word for word.

    Back to lurking. *waddles back under the bridge*

  • gg

    MY LIFE –

  • HopCat

    I lurk. I am a lurker. And also, a skulker. But I never, ever stalk.

  • http://exitclov.tumblr.com exitclov

    “Be in a group of people and have their name come up in the conversation. Bite your tongue and play dumb.”

    This has happened to me so many times now, I feel like a horrible, duplicitous person for all the dumb-playing I have to do. Perhaps we could append the following:

    Be talking to your mutual friend and have their name come up in the conversation. The Lurked just moved to x place or accomplished x life goal towards which you also strive. Your friend good-naturedly exclaims that you remind her of each other. Have your friend ask if you've heard of her. Furrow your brow and mumble that the name rings a bell. Listen to your friend list off basic biographical information about the Lurked that you naturally already know. Look interested and play dumb.

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