This morning I woke up to Twitter buzzing about an #activeshooter at the Navy Yard. I live in Southeast Washington DC, pretty close to that installation, though far enough away to feel absolutely safe. However, one of my family members commutes to work using the Navy Yard Metro, and the timing of this alert matched up pretty well with when they might be near where the possible shooting incident was taking place.

So what did I do? Send frantic text messages? Call them repeatedly until they picked up?

No. I simply pulled up Find My Friends on my iPhone to confirm that they had made it to the Metro and were now safely downtown away from the chaos.


When I tell friends and colleagues that I use Find My Friends, they often think it’s weird or creepy, but I find it weird to be creeped out by the idea that close friends and family can find your location at anytime. I have to ask what about their daily travels needs to be hidden from their loved ones? Usually they say nothing, but still insist I’m weird for knowing where my wife is, my parents, my sister, etc.

Aside from the piece of mind you can have during an incident like the one that is still taking place as I write this, there are also many other benefits to sharing your location with friends and family.

Around 6pm, I start getting anxious to see my wife (I’m proud of how obnoxiously adorable we are), so I pull up Find my Friends to see if she’s left work yet. If she has, I’ll know, so I don’t bother her with a text while she’s focused on navigating the hordes of humanity known as rush hour.

Same goes for my parents who live nearly 1,000 miles away from me and who both commute to other states for work. Needless to say, it can be hard to pin down a good time to catch up with them, but with Find My Friends I can tell when they’re both relaxing at home and likely able to jump on a call with me.


Imagine if calling or texting someone at a time that is bad for them was considered as annoying as leaving a voicemail has become. Wouldn’t it be nice if people only reached out to each other when it was convenient for both?

We live in a time where terrorist attacks and lone wolf mass shootings are something that happens regularly enough for a cynic like me to not be even remotely surprised by them, (yes I know this is sad). But like everyone else, when a horrific situation like a mass shooting is taking place, the first thing I want to know is where my loved ones are. For me, all that takes is opening Find My Friends, and within a few seconds, I know that the people I care about most are safely away from yet another ugly incident taking place in the world.