Gabi Conti
September 27, 2014 7:25 am

Before there was Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, the only way we could feed our need for validation was through AOL.

Remember the days where you would load in your AOL CD, hoping your parents weren’t on the phone or sending a fax? You’d sit patiently through the dial tone until . . . at last! A boisterous, “Welcome” and then (fingers crossed) a, “You’ve got mail.” You’d scroll through your buddy list, seeing if your crush was online. He’s not, so you go for the next best thing: pretending you’re busy.

Before Facebook statuses, tweets, or selfies, the only way we could get the attention of the ones we wanted was through our away messages. No character limit. No rules. Comic Sans and clichés encouraged. We’d put up our away message sometimes when we weren’t even away. Perhaps we were supposed to be doing homework, but were playing solitaire instead. Or maybe we were in the shower and fearful that within those 20 minutes it took us to lather our Bath & Body Works cucumber melon body wash and Herbal Essences shampoo, your crush, GoYankeez87, would sign on and not IM you because you were not online. But if you had a deep, fun, or flirty away message, he might be tempted to message you (and probably make fun of you, as this was grade school, after all). Seeing that he messaged when you were away was like that feeling of fulfillment you get now when your crush likes your status or selfie.

Away messages really said it all to the point that today, there is even a twitter dedicated to them. While most away messages are dated like the one with all our BFFs’ initials, here are some that still (somewhat) apply today.

1.

Cause you totally got all the Sex & The City references in the 5th grade, but this is true. You don’t want to be with someone that wants to “tame” you (cough, Aidan, cough), you want to be with someone who can keep up with you.

2.

I think life is ALSO about the breaths we take because if you’re not taking breaths, you would be dead AKA not living. But yeah, when our breath is taken away, you remember that, too.

3.

Emo much? September was like the never-ending Monday of the school year. But now I can’t wait for September to end because it’s boo-hunting season. You know, that time of year when it feels like everyone is looking for their winter boo. It’s exhausting. Can it be Halloween already? I have the perfect couples costume for me and my non-existent boyfriend.

4.

Actually, I never want to step foot in my high school, again. But this is a great reminder of how much we’ve grown since the petty crap we dealt with back then.

5.

I just re-watched The Hills. So good. I never realized that friend break-ups were a thing until I moved to Los Angeles. It’s a nice reminder to surround yourself with positive people, and that sometimes, as hard as it can be, you do have to cut some people out of your life.

6.

Every. Day.

7.

This is now basically what Tinder is: A/S/L (Age, Sex and Location), AKA the most important questions you can ask on a first date. Card him, to make sure he’s not lying about his age. Check that he’s into you and be sure the commute to each other’s places isn’t a road trip. If so, pen pals. (Or AIM buddies?)

7.

I finally get and appreciate that lyric along with the quote “guys come and go, but your true friends are forever.” It still holds up. Remember, your friends have known and been there for you for years, and you’ve known Mike from the sports bar for about . . . what is it now? Twelve hours. There’s no use crying after you gave him your number and a week later he still hasn’t called to ask you out on a proper date. His loss.

9.

Why were the cheesiest quotes by unknown or anonymous? Most likely because they did not want credit for these monstrosities. I mean, yes, this is true. People come in and out of our lives. In the AOL days, you probably posted this about your camp crush, never to talk to him again until you connected on Facebook years later. People, like experiences, change you . . . and leave “foot prints” on your “heart.”

“And that’s exactly what these away messages are now. Mere footprints on our hearts” – Unknown

Did I miss any gems that still apply today? I think I’m going to start making my Facebook statuses classic away messages. That is, once I friend GoYankeez87 so he can get my not-so-subtle hints.

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