Chelsea Haberlin (transcript)

Chelsea Haberlin

Chelsea Haberlin, James Avramenko

James Avramenko 00:00
Friendless is presented by the Saskatchewan Podcast Network. Oh my sweet babies. That’s a stupid intro. Welcome back to the newest episode of friendless, the only podcast about losing all your Facebook friends, one hour at a time. As always, I am your host, James Avramenko. And this week we have Chelsea Haberlin on the show. Chelsea is the artistic director of Neworld Theatre in Vancouver, as well as the one of the cofounders of Itsazoo, which is one of my all time absolute favorite theatre companies, which only gave me a couple contracts. So I swear I’m not biased. We talk all kinds of fun stuff, the impetus to direct founding companies without permission, intelligence versus curiosity, and the need to make bad art. It is a fantastic episode. I can’t wait to get to it. But before we jump in, I do want to take a second and just say, this has been an exhausting week within an exhausting month, wrapped up inside an absolutely exhausting year. And I think it’s really important to just take a moment, take a deep breath, and just tell you, I love you, whoever you are, I love you. If you’re feeling down, you’re feeling anxious. It feels cheesy, but I am here to talk. I am a licensed nothing. So I can’t give you exactly clinical advice. But you need a sounding board. You need somebody to reach out to I am available for you. You can email me at or message me on any social media platform. Just look for James Avramenko. AVRAMENKO or friendlesspod, I am on everything. You know, it might feel odd, but I am available if you need somebody to communicate with. But that is it for me. So let’s all take a deep breath together. settle in and enjoy my interview with Chelsea Haberlin here on Friendless. So where we’re gonna end up is with you as the artistic director of correct me if I’m saying this wrong, is it new world theater?

Chelsea Haberlin 02:52
Yeah, that’s right.

James Avramenko 02:53
Okay. I just want to make sure just because it’s one of those, like, blended together words, so I’m never sure if it’s like, is it nee world? Or?

Chelsea Haberlin 02:59
No, it’s a it’s a made up word. I went from one company that had a made up word, it’s a zoo, to another company that I made a board. So my entire career is correcting people on spelling and correcting pronunciation. And it’s like,

James Avramenko 03:13
so where we’re gonna end up at the end of the story is you as ad for new world. And but I’d like to double back.

Chelsea Haberlin 03:20

James Avramenko 03:22
So we met through UVic. And and I’m wondering what initially got you into going to theater school? And then and then we’ll kind of follow the timeline of how we get you to be in the ad of these companies?

Chelsea Haberlin 03:40
Sure, sure. Um, I always I mean, this is a very, I think, traditional theatre story in a lot of ways. I always always always made plays, it was just this for me playing was making plays my you come over to my house, you were in a plague in my basement, I had, you know, a large scale production of Beauty and the Beast in grade four if you came to my birthday, you were handed a script like that was just always my thing. And I know and i and i and i, for what and I was never very good actor. I thought I wanted to act but I was always kind of bad at it. I was like, too self conscious and was like always watching the people around me more than I was able to be in it. And I realized at a certain point that Oh, I just really liked organizing people around creative and artistic endeavors that there is a way for people to be their kind of most beautiful realized authentic selves through artistic creation and culture. And so I most of high school that was music for me, I like started a band club and was like in all of these bands and choirs, but again was like never great at music. Like I can’t actually do anything. I can just organize people around.

James Avramenko 04:51
That is an incredible skill though. Especially in the arts like that is such a necessary skill.

Chelsea Haberlin 04:59
it’s true. I mean, Ultimately, it has been like, you know, I’ve been able to find work through this ability to organize folks and to get people excited about something, you know. So then at the end of high school, I did a course that like, so I had this, I went to this tiny High School, but I was so lucky that they had a playwriting and directing class in grade 12, you could do this and I wrote a play, that was basically like, it was called Truth or Dare And it was basically like The Breakfast Club. But a group of kids go to, like, get trapped in a cabin. And what I wrote were roles for the kind of like, Cool Girl and the like, bad boy, and the nerd and I cast the people who were those real people in my high school in those roles. So I like and I don’t know that they knew I was doing that. But I did. And so I had this kind of like theater experiment. And I found it incredibly fulfilling to actually like, play out what I was experiencing in real life on stage. And then when adults saw it in the talkback adults related to it, and I was like, Oh, my God, I can make something that grownups relate to, and that they find moving. And that reveals something to them about their lives. And I was like, that’s it. That’s all I want to do. That’s it. And so I Oh, yeah. Like, I just saw that there was so much potential for that. And so I only applied to UVic, I didn’t aply anywhere else. I just had an idea that that’s where I wanted to go. And that’s what I did.

James Avramenko 06:28
Oh, yeah. That’s actually it’s funny. I that was the exact same thing I did with you with Uvic. I didn’t apply anywhere else. Which I I like I found out later, I was very lucky to get away with like, I like, I think my entire university career was like flying by the skin of my teeth, but especially getting in

Chelsea Haberlin 06:50
Oh, my god, did you did you not have good grades in high school?

James Avramenko 06:53
Oh god, no, I I don’t think I ever, I don’t think I ever in any time in my life had high, high grades of any kind other than maybe like, I took I took a Bob Dylan class one summer class in UVic. And that was the first and only A I ever got.

Chelsea Haberlin 07:13
That’s funny. Like, you’re, people were like, you were interesting to me. Because you’re, you’re like, just a smart person. Like, I feel like you’re just like an intellectual person. I feel like you’re highly intelligent. But for some reason, not like, like, I don’t know what this, this maybe is jumping ahead. But like I remember first meeting and be like, Oh, he’s kind of like a bad boy. Like, kind of like,kinda like fuck the system about the whole thing. And I’m like, totally the opposite. Like, I’m not highly intellectual. Like, you know, like at one point In high school, no one elementary school, they thought maybe I was gifted. And they gave me the test. And they were like, not at all I just did good with people. So you think I’m smart? Like, but I think maybe you you so I always got good grades because I worked incredibly hard. So we never really understood people who like, worse if I didn’t actually have to work that I just had to do the bare minimum and like didn’t want to.

James Avramenko 08:07
it’s very kind of you. I really appreciate that. That’s very, those are very kind words. I I you know, I don’t know if I consider what I am to be intelligent, so much as maybe curious. I don’t know I, Because I just I found myself very uncurious about school, I found that I just, I it’s not that I knew what the teachers were talking about. I just didn’t like how they were giving me the information, you know, and even even when it was classes that I was interested in, I still inevitably found myself resisting the sort of just the way the information was being relayed because I was like, I don’t need to like regurgitate this back to you to prove that I get it. I just want to take it in and absorb it and try to apply it to my own world you know, I think about a Warwick, uh God I was going to say Warwick Davis.

Chelsea Haberlin 09:00

James Avramenko 09:01
I wish I knew Warwick Davis. But Warwick Dobson the way he not only would he sort of allow me to approach his classes with it, but how he also really he really imbued the concept of how do I use this into me you know, and and it was less about it was less about you know, be able to do the tests in you know, an answer the test and more about well, what are you taking from it to make yourself better and that’s that, that that lesson really, I would probably say it’s one of the only things that’s truly benefited me out of my time and UVic but.

Chelsea Haberlin 09:45
wow, oh, that’s that’s really interesting. I I’m envious of that approach because I love the feeling of getting an A and being told that I’m good at something that is a feeling that really drives me and like as I get older, have increasing He realized how problematic that is. Because you reach a point where like, no one’s watching, no one’s going to give you an A like, then why are you doing this? And I and I, and I envy people who are like, well, it’s for me like, like Sebastian is my husband. I mean you know that, obviously. But is, is like that he doesn’t do things for people to tell him, he’s good at them. He does them because he’s interested in them. And I’m like, I just don’t, I fucking Wish I mean, I’m better at it now. But like, it took a long time,

James Avramenko 10:27
but at the same time to what’s funny is that, you know, for me, I find myself envious of that of the of the ability to commit yourself to excellence, you know, because I find, I find what what has manifested for me is being like, fine, at a lot of stuff. You know, it’s sort of like, I almost feel like that the the personification of the master of none kind of saying of like, yeah, like, I know some stuff about a lot of things, but I don’t truly believe myself to be excellent at anything, you know, and So I actually, I find the skill and the dedication to truly excel in something, not that I believe you are a single minded person by any means. I actually am deeply impressed by how multifaceted you are. But But just your ability to focus is something that I just don’t have, you know, and so, right. Like, grass is greener on the other side.

Chelsea Haberlin 11:22
Yeah, yeah, totally, you know, makes me think about the pandemic. And that I think people who are good at many things, and can be adaptable and are curious and have their, you know, thumbs in many different pies, actually, are in a really good place in this situation. Because if you put all everything into one pot, what’s that saying? Whatever that is, if you if you are full in all in on one thing, and that thing no longer exists, like this theater system that is gone. You’re like, Well, good thing I put every single egg in this basket, because it’s gone, like, Oh, good. I’m excellent at a thing that doesn’t exist. I know. That’s, that’s a bit of a bit of an exaggeration, but that’s what it feels like, you know,

James Avramenko 12:10
it does, it does feel especially right now with, you know, I’ve been I was kind of going back over your page a little bit in preparation for the interview. And, and, and I felt such a resonant agreement about this feeling of resistance to you know, digital media and pivoting and, and, and having to put what should be a play, you know, in audio or on whatever it might be in zoom. And it’s just, it’s, it’s not that it’s worse art. And I think that that’s been a big problem with the dialogue is that I think we’re accidentally using qualitative words to make it sound like it’s worse. Because it’s not, but it’s not what we want. You know, it’s not the different ones. Right. And it’s different. Yeah, it’s not nourishing us. Like, there is nothing in this world. Like, being on stage in front of a crowd and feeling them all listen to you. You know, there’s just nothing like it. And if you don’t get it on zoom, even if you do have a wall of faces staring at you, it’s just, it isn’t the same as feeling like the magnets of a human body besides you. So you initially are one of the founders of Itsazoo Productions, which has been a Yeah, such a such an important sort of, it’s funny because I you know, I only ever did really one show and then I kind of front of house one show, but but it’s always remained this like monument in my, my sort of like, the mythology of our years of UVic. I’ve always considered it to really be the sort of peak of it, you know, and I’m wondering if there’s a way you can, like, I don’t want to say like, and sum it up in three words, but like, but like, how do you sum up the formation of that of that theater? And what what was your impetus for it?

Chelsea Haberlin 14:08
Yeah, I mean, I sort of didn’t know better, I thought, um, okay, I’m not, no, like, truly, I just thought I’m not going to get to direct plays in the way that I want to direct them for many years in this program. And I and my, you know, on my friends are not necessarily getting the roles they want, why don’t we just do it ourselves? I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t just do it ourselves and have grand vision and because we found this way of making plays that were outside and because it was students on their summer vacations wanting to do it for free. there was almost no cost so it was sort of like, why not and I’ve always found community and and fun through doing something productive with people like for me, like, you know, hanging out with people is fine. I’d much rather make something together. And I just, I just, I just love that. And so it just felt like the way that I wanted to spend my time and our audiences love that shit people love big outdoor spectacle, they love it. And it was, and everyone was keen, like all the actors were keen on the designers to get everyone just wanted in on it. And, and I am just a, I was a bull, I was just like, I’m gonna keep this going, I’m gonna make this happen. My thing I said for years was I’m going to do with theater scam did in half the time. And like that was that was a vision that ultimately wasn’t possible because they came up in a different time than we did. And Itsazoo kind of hit a wall in terms of like government funding. But at the beginning, Wasn’t that a beautiful thing? So I feel I feel really proud when I think of Itsazoo. And I think of those those kind of beginning years and the kind of spirit of like, yes, that we just went with there when we didn’t see any barriers as barriers, we just like, did exactly what we wanted. And like it was imperfect. And like through a 2020 lens, there were all kinds of problematic things there that like, you know, in hindsight, I would, I would have done definitely differently, but you know it through 2003 2004, or 2007 2006 is in there that it started. It was awesome.

James Avramenko 16:22
Yeah. No, and I agree. And I think that it’s not really fair to like i think i think it’s really important to reflect and to realize where you’ve come and what you would do differently going forward. But I think that it’s it’s far more powerful to to accept the mistakes and celebrate the victories because I think they were far more big, totally, you know, and I am. Yeah, like I say, I truly, you know, often I feel like it’s a zoo and atomic vaudeville, collectively imbued and then and then Warwick actually probably is the trifecta of the three but like, I think that I was really imbued with this attitude from you of stop waiting, you know, don’t wait for somebody to tell you when it’s your turn, just do it. Right. And and it’ll suck. And that’s fine. Because Yeah, well, yeah, it has to you like one of the things I’ve been kind of harping on all throughout all this quarantine is especially the very start, you know, you were seeing those memes of like, well, and when Shakespeare was here in quarantine, he wrote King Lear. And it’s like, no, the fuck he didn’t. You know, what he did is he had already written 20 fucking plays. And then he wrote King Lear, like, like, Get the fuck off yourself. Like, yeah, and what I mean by that is less about, like, you’re incapable of writing King Lear and more about, you haven’t written 20 plays. So the first thing you write is probably gonna suck. It’s just the nature of the beast, and there’ll be good bits in it, because you have passion, and you’re dedicated to it, but the vast majority is gonna blow and that’s awesome. It’s way better to make bad art than no art. You know, that’s something that Canadian artists in general need to really well, artists in general, but I think especially Canadian artists, they need to really hold on to the belief that there will be a breakthrough because I think we we, as a culture, romanticize young breakthroughs and we don’t realize just how rare that truly is. It’s so much more common and it is so much more possible to break through the older you get, you know, because so many people give up right you know, so it’s like, yeah, okay, cool. I’m not gonna be Timothy Chelimet or whatever the fuck His name is but it gives a shit yeah, like yeah I don’t wanna be him yeah he sucks

Chelsea Haberlin 18:34
there’s not that many there’s not that many Timothy Chalemets

James Avramenko 18:37
No there isn’t and and nor should there be because he’s you know, he’s just awful but so when you get to um, um, when you get to like from iItsazoo so you spend probably the better part of a decade working on that or even more than that right

Chelsea Haberlin 19:04
yeah, yeah more I am it’s really just in this last year that I that I like officially transitioned out of my co-artistic producer position so that was left like I don’t know like 13 years 14 years 13 years yeah a long long time and like yeah successfully move the company from Victoria to Vancouver started again in Vancouver no one in Vancouver cares about UVic or UVic students or Victoria could not care doesn’t care actually maybe lose credit like it was just like went from being self ready to Victoria to so hard and then just kind of like slowly kept going just determined just kept doing it. So yeah, yeah, until and then and then about six years ago, I got after I got my master’s in directing at UBC is a way of kind of like, fine because you don’t my undergrad degree will meet You know this because this is the programming that it was an applied theater degree. So it was not actually directing. But I realized that I wanted to direct more. And that UBC released the program that teaches you how to direct a nice clean play for the arts club. It’s like,this is the way

James Avramenko 20:15
that actually really dovetails into something I sort of the leading part of it is this idea about something I tell my students is, it’s not necessarily the school you study in, it’s what city Do you want to work in? That’s the school you should go to Yes, because very often, like you say, they teach you what the theatres of that city want.

Chelsea Haberlin 20:36
And I wanted Vancouver to know that I took this seriously, I was going to do this, I was going to be in for a long haul. And I wanted to find a way to make that pretty, pretty clear and to meet people that I wasn’t meeting because no one was paying attention, then. And so I got that degree. And as soon as I graduated, I started as resident producer in Neworld. So I had this kind of like, you know, coming together of two things at once, where I got the degree and it was really about the degree it was about meeting people. And, and, and then started working within an institution and, and because of my applied theatre background, like community engaged theatre background, Neworld just was the perfect fit. Like I, I knew all of the things that they were doing. And they didn’t use the same language that I had was accustomed to, through applied theatre, but it was the same intention, the same values. And then I just kind of never left it was supposed to be a one year position than it was a two year position. And then I got a different position. And then I just kind of stayed and Marcus was, like, super done with running the company. And I was like, I’m, I’m in for it. You know?

James Avramenko 21:44
Yeah. Because it’s like, you know, from an outside perspective, sometimes it’s like, oh, like, I wish I wish we could have known those positions were up, but then it’s also like, it’s so I think that it’s actually really beautiful to have what’s essentially an interior mentorship, right. And it’s sort of like learning the ropes of the company, you know, and, and, and, you know, and to sort of double it back, it’s like, if you want that roll, make a roll. Right. You know, like, there’s always room for art, you know, there’s always room for another theater, there’s no one telling you, you can’t do it. It’s only you, you know.

Chelsea Haberlin 22:18
Yeah. Yeah, that’s true. And, you know, yeah, I mean, I think it’s a, it’s a complicated question, this whole brought up from inside the company, or posted and brought in externally like it’s equal than, you know, in Vancouver, there’s this past month, there’s been a whole a number of people who were kind of embedded within companies and then stepped into leadership roles. And I think that’s hard. I think it’s hard for a lot of people and I am I am I get that. And I have, I very quietly stepped into my role and didn’t, you know, we didn’t put out a big press release, we didn’t have the picture with me with my arms crossed, leaning on the wall. Like we didn’t do that. Because we didn’t, we didn’t, I didn’t I didn’t want that I wanted it to be like, I’m still within the organization. I just have a different job description like I didn’t. It made me really uncomfortable. And it still does, actually. And I yeah, I mean, there’s a lot to talk about there. Like there’s a struggle, I’ve had a relationship to this position because of the way that I came into it and because of the mandate of the company. So yeah, there’s a lot there.

James Avramenko 23:22
wellness, how ever you define it, is achievable. You don’t even need to figure it all out yourself. Talk to connexus. They’ll give you guidance, motivation, and the push you need to reach your goals. If got you there, your financial partner, and they know you can achieve your very best, your financial best. prove them right. start right at connexus credit union. How would you personally define what a what a friendship means, especially in the sort of modern context of the world?

Chelsea Haberlin 23:59
Yeah, I think that my answer to that has changed a lot as I’ve gone through as I’ve gotten older. But when I think of my friendships that have endured, it’s largely been about reliability, and really listening and paying attention and remembering, like, there’s something about people who know things and remember things about you that like, and like, note those things and pay attention. I know there’s something about that, that like seems really simple, but kind of is everything like there are a lot of acquaintances that I have, but when I see them I know that they don’t remember what they’ve told me and they retell me the same things or like they asked the same question. So then, and I and I just like as I’ve gotten older, felt like yeah, that’s not really friendship to me. Like, that’s not really the thing, like and those things more so than actual like To the people who saw the time and like as I get older, like, and really, that because you go through periods I’ve gone through periods of time where like, it’s just becomes really hard to see anyone other than my baby and my husband and my parents, because their caregivers like, you know, like this. So it’s not actually about who I see, it’s about who’s on my mind.

James Avramenko 25:17
I think that that’s such a beautiful summation have a sentiment that I really do agree with, I think this idea, I love the way you put it of like, of like, what people remember telling you and I think that that’s something I think, especially in the theater world, but that’s something that I’m really observant of. Because, you know, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met a dozen times, and they introduce themselves to me every single time. And, and I’m like, how dare you? Like, like, Look, maybe I’m not gonna give you a job. But like, I’m still a person. And I remember your fucking name, you know? And it’s little things like that right? It’s little things like that, where I’m like, Oh, yeah, we’re good here.

Chelsea Haberlin 26:00
Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.

James Avramenko 26:03
But I do love that idea of what do you remember? And I think I think what, what that makes me think of is, is this idea of being seen and been validated. And what’s so important about friendship, is feeling like you’re worthy of being present with this person. Right? And, um, you know, so much of my personal work and growth and things that I’ve been, not only trying to unpack in myself, but in terms of interaction is, you know, um, ingrained shame and ingrained worthiness and imposter syndrome, and all these different things that bounce around and this idea of being worthy of being present. And, and I think, for me, you know, like you say, it’s this idea of, like, being remembered is so vital to that of like, Yeah, no, I was a shithead. Or you do No, I said something. Yes, that’s okay. Because like, yeah, you also remember that I’m well intentioned, or whatever it might be, you know, whatever it might be. I don’t know. I’m just, you know, spitballing the thing?

Chelsea Haberlin 27:05
Absolutely. yeah, like, I’m like that It is, yeah, that it like, doesn’t matter if you’re, you’re the best person or a perfect person all the time that these people will just kind of see you for all that you are, and maybe, you know, feel okay to take the piss like, which feels important that there’s people in your life who are like, Oh, you suck at this thing? And you’re like I know, I suck at this thing! instead of being so careful. Like there are people that you’re not, you don’t have to be all that careful around. Yeah, it doesn’t mean not kind, it just means you don’t have to walk on eggshells.

James Avramenko 27:36
Yeah. And that’s, again, that’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot is, you know, I find that especially with, you know, social media and the toxicity of, you know, Twitter and Facebook, that a lot of times people are terrified of saying the wrong thing, because they’re worried it’s going to ruin them. And and obviously, that doesn’t factor in people who are genuinely toxic. But I think that that tier of behavior trickles down into people who are just worried about misspeaking or worried about maybe being angry or, you know, it feels like sometimes it applies a level of sort of behavioral censorship, but but we apply it to ourselves. And that makes everybody so stressed out.

Chelsea Haberlin 28:24
Mm hmm.

James Avramenko 28:25
And, and I think being able to fuck up every now and then is such a key element, not only of just the human existence, but especially in friendships is, you know, like, and obviously, there are gradients to it. Obviously, there is one thing to misspeak about one subject and a whole other thing about something, you know, a little more important, right. You know, I always double back to like, you know, human rights aren’t opinions. You know, I think that’s a, that that for me is generally an easy one. You know, like, no, it’s not an opinion if you’re dehumanizing someone, but.

Chelsea Haberlin 29:01
Yes, absolutely. Which seems so doesn’t that seem so common sense, but clearly not.

James Avramenko 29:05
It feels like it should be. But, but there’s other things that, you know, like, I think we do need to be prepared to interact with people who don’t necessarily one for one, share our beliefs about any number of things. Right. And and that that should be okay. But, but, you know, any number and there’s obviously a number of factors that go into it, but

Chelsea Haberlin 29:33
it’s kind of related to that first one. How has your relationship to friendship changed as you’ve gotten older?

James Avramenko 29:38
Oh, yeah. I think you’re, you know, the way you talked about how the sort of definition has moved as you’ve gotten older, and I think for me, I think it all comes back to the ability to be comfortably vulnerable. I’m somebody who I would love to feel how do I say I, I would love to be more vulnerable more regularly. And a lot of my, a lot of my art revolves around unpacking, sort of masculine masking, and allowing, you know, allowing yourself to be more vulnerable, you know, whether it’s as easy as crying or whether it’s as complex as understanding, you know, shame mechanics or whatever it might be. And, and I think that for me a friendship now, you know, because, you know, 15 years ago, a friendship was somebody I could get blind, stoned with and play video games with all day. And for me, now, it’s more about being able to just be honestly vulnerable around someone. And and, and it’s not to say like, you need to always be ready to unpack my daddy issues, or whatever the fuck, right. But But yeah, but I think being able to go places that for me is a genuine friend. And, and, and everyone else does, that doesn’t make people bad, right? That doesn’t make people bad people. It just means you know, we’re acquaintances, or we’re connections, or we’re coworkers, or whatever it might be, you know, and and

Chelsea Haberlin 31:09

James Avramenko 31:10
one of the sort of driving factors of this show is is this idea of calling everyone a friend. And it’s like, well, are we friends? Like, is that like, because I don’t think we are and that’s cool. Like, that’s super fine. We don’t have to be friends to be nice to each other. Like, I can still respect Yeah, I don’t have to be your fucking friend though.

Chelsea Haberlin 31:34
So totally, totally. I love that. I love the question at the at the heart of this. What is your earliest memory of seeing something on Facebook? Like, what is your earliest memory of like, engagement on that platform?

James Avramenko 31:58
Oh, man, that’s a good question. Um, because I don’t know if it’s necessarily like the first thing, but it’s sort of the earliest that sticks out in my mind would be… Oh, man, what would it even be? I think like, seeing somebody’s photo album. And being like, oh, oh, that’s what people are using this for. Okay. And then like, making a photo album of my own and putting it up and being like, it feels weird and invasive. But I guess I’m doing it because that’s what we do. You know, like, I put that up until that point, I had basically used it it as like, um, I would message the smart kid in like theater history and be like, Can you send me the notes that I missed? And seeing it be used as photos, I think was the shift for me of like, Oh, this is like a little. This is like a little narcissist party. Okay, here we go.

Chelsea Haberlin 32:57
Yeah, yeah, that’s that that’s mine, too, is seeing photos from a party the night before and realizing what this was, like, holy shit, I didn’t those pictures are being taken. Second of all, they’re on the internet. And then and then every time there was a party, those like big nasty parties that used to happen at my place in Trevor’s place, like all those pictures being out in the world, oh, my God.

James Avramenko 33:22
I still worry about that to this day, because I don’t have control over those. And so it’s like, yeah, I’m untagged. But they’re still on the internet. Now. I think for me, the day it died was the day my mom friend requested me That was when I was like, Alright, party’s over boys. You know, speaking of, you know, speaking of being in quarantine, speaking of theatre being dead for God knows how long, you know, ideally, you know, the idealist says another year at least, right? And that’s like, I think that they’re being dreamers. But, you know, with digital media, with social media with how we interact. What do you think it takes to be a good friend in 2020 and forward?

Chelsea Haberlin 34:11
Yeah, I wonder about that. I often don’t i don’t know that I’m a good friend. Like I don’t I don’t know that I am. I’m not great at keeping in touch with people. But the but with the people who are kind of like, undeniably my BFFs The thing that I have noticed is that being it was similar actually, to when I first had a baby. Like when you first have a baby you, you don’t see a lot of people because it’s hard to see people takes a lot, but the people who check in a lot the people who like text a lot or call or like, plan, make sure to plan the next visit, like those people who just are kind of consistent. I found a similar thing throughout 2020 that the people who just like you know, I know. Oh, I will hear from them. I know that we will connect with each other. And that that’s been really important. And and that it’s okay. To not be okay. That like, for me my really valuable friendships with people who aren’t like that, would it be fine, I’d be fine. But people who are like, yeah, that that does suck and like, I’m totally there with you. And it’s totally fine that you had to put on your fanciest outfit and do a full face of makeup and hair just to be able to get on a zoom call today because you there you didn’t have any, there was no other way to motivate yourself to like be a person. You know what I mean? People who like just understand, I found that really important that I can do that for them too. Because it’s not it’s just not about physical presence anyone? And none of those like, there’s no birthday parties, there’s no there’s nothing checking in has felt really vital, consistent presence without physical presence.

James Avramenko 35:52
Yeah, I think that that’s so I think that’s so spot on. You know, and I think that, you know, it’s funny, it almost it’ll, it almost sort of contradicts what I just said about what you know what I value in friendship, but it is it is spot on where you like, right, you know, it’s almost like, I think I think it’s almost like you have to be sure you’re right with yourself before you can check in because I think it’s I think it’s like I think it’s okay for people not to check in. And yet at the same time, too. It’s so special when they do and it’s so yeah, so grateful for it, like you say and, and and I think a lot of people, myself included, I think I stop myself from checking in because I tell myself, Oh, they don’t want to hear from me. They don’t care. They’ve got other people to hear from and they they’ll they’ll be happy to hear from them. Not from me. And so I don’t and it’s like, What harm is there to say hello to somebody the worst case scenario is they they don’t answer, you know, which is like, no different from if you hadn’t sent it. So what’s the big deal?

Chelsea Haberlin 36:52
Oh, absolutely. Yeah, I have definitely been doing more of that, especially with friends who I know live alone, or people who I know have recently moved or like, if I think of them, I let them know. Yeah. And I am I don’t think I would have always done that. But that that feels in 2020 pretty vital. Yeah.

James Avramenko 37:07
Yeah. Man Chealsea, you know, I I feel like I say this a lot. But I genuinely feel like we could talk for hours. And and it’s just, it is such a

Chelsea Haberlin 37:18
I agree.

James Avramenko 37:19
It’s, it’s so you know, conversations like this are so you know, you want to speak about you know, being a good friend. Like, for me, it’s not really necessarily about consistency, so much as quality, you know, and, and this type of conversation is so nourishing for me, and it’s so vital for me, and I’m just so grateful that you took the time out of your life and decided to talk to me, you know, and no matter how long I’m so grateful.

Chelsea Haberlin 37:49
Thank you. I’m so glad I did too. There’s something about checking in with old University friends where it feels like we came from the same womb or something. You know what I mean? Like, we’re all kind of family and it doesn’t matter how long you just kind of feel like we have a similar upbringing. So that’s Yeah, it’s really meaningful. I’m really I’m really glad we got to check in and I’m sorry that I don’t get to follow what’s happening with you on Facebook anymore. Sorry.

James Avramenko 38:15
You know what? A very little happens on Facebook in my life, so don’t even worry about it. You’re not missing anything right now. If you’re if you’re missing my Instagram.

Chelsea Haberlin 38:24
Yeah, I still have you on Instagram. Okay, that’s actually mostly right. Okay, good.

James Avramenko 38:28
Yeah. No, that’s

Chelsea Haberlin 38:30
kind of defeats the purpose. Exactly.

James Avramenko 38:32
That’s, that’s just it. It’s like it’s literally the running joke of the show is that I unfriend on Facebook and if we’re not already Instagram friends we immediately become Instagram friends and so it’s like that’s nothing changes you know, but

Chelsea Haberlin 38:47
I love that that’s great. Well I’m just watching you

James Avramenko 38:50
We have one last thing to do before we go that we got it Yeah, so I’m gonna pull up here and we don’t

Chelsea Haberlin 38:54
Oh, and we do it right now.

James Avramenko 38:57
Oh, we do it right here live I absolutely love your cover cover photo I just think that that’s such a god those those kinds of photos are so magic just like it’s like a Where’s Waldo. Of just like beautiful people. I love it so much. Here we go. Chelsea Haberlin.

Chelsea Haberlin 39:16
Oh, good. Good knowing you buddy.

James Avramenko 39:20
We are no longer Facebook friends.

Chelsea Haberlin 39:24
Oh, what a relief. Get off this platform.

James Avramenko 39:30
You know sometimes it does feel like a little bit of like a weight off. You know, it’s like okay, okay, one less Here we go. But

Chelsea Haberlin 39:40
Oh totally you know,

James Avramenko 39:44
thank you like thank you so much for for doing this and just thanks for like, you know, this sounds cheesy but like thank you for being you. You know, I’m just like I’m I’m really I count myself very lucky to know you and Sebby and, and, you know, even though like obviously We’ve been predominantly peripheral for you know, last eight years wherever the fuck it’s been. But yeah, but I still I really hold you in a really in a just a monumentally high regard and I just I’m just seeing you continue to work and push and pursue what you’re doing is just it’s endlessly inspiring so I just

Chelsea Haberlin 40:19
Oh, thank you so much all the well, I so appreciate that.

James Avramenko 40:22
I wish you all the well all the best all the well with everything.

Chelsea Haberlin 40:25
All that well. Thank you.

James Avramenko 40:41
And that’s it. Thank you once more to Chelsea for coming on the show and just being a fantastic person. I wish her all the best going forward. Um, if you like the show, please be sure to share it with your friends. Tell everybody all about friendless and how it’s just the best friggin podcast this side of whatever other podcast you like. Be sure to please rate and review the show, especially on Apple podcasts. It’s a massive help for me and it is an easy way for you to support the show. I am still putting up the challenge to listeners to write in and tell me their thoughts on what they think it takes to be a good friend today. If I get enough answers, I will read them out on a future show. Send me your answer at or on any social media either at friendlesspod or through my personal account anaveragemango. That’s it for me. Have a wonderful week. Don’t forget to breathe. I’ve been doing a fresh focus on meditation this last month. And I’ll tell you, I am still very anxious, but sometimes I’m a little less anxious. Maybe it’ll help you too go sit quietly somewhere away from your phone. But come back next week, where my guest will be Angus Wilson, a vagabond musician currently based out of Nashville. But that’s next week for now. Keep sweet, take care. Fun and safety y’all

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