Taylor Swift Explains Who ‘Bad Blood’ Is Really About, Talks Ex-Boyfriends and Squad

There’s a lot to unpack from Taylor Swift’s first-ever cover story for GQ.

Speaking with famed author Chuck Klosterman, the singer opens up about her personal life and how it intertwines with her career. Defending herself from claims that she’s “calculating” and her good deeds are “self-serving,” Swift argues that she’s more self-aware than manipulative.

She also says that, because all everyone seemingly wants to write about is her is her love life, she banned herself from the internet in 2013 despite telling her interviewer minutes later that she closely monitors what people say about her. Okay, Tay.

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CREDIT: GQ

Here are other things the 25-year-old wants you to know, including who “Bad Blood” is really about (even though Klosterman himself later admits her answer has a “more than a few molecules of bullshit”).

On not reading about herself online…

I went through a few years where I just never went online and never looked at blogs. This was around 2013, when the only thing anyone wanted to write about me was about me and some guy. It was really damaging. You’re thinking, ‘Everybody goes on dates when they’re 22. It’s fine, right?’ Nope. Not when you’re in this situation, and everything you do is blown out of proportion and expanded upon. And all of a sudden, there’s an overriding opinion that doesn’t accurately reflect how you actually live your life. So I didn’t go online for a year and a half. I actually forgot my Instagram password. But now I check in and see what’s happening. In 2015, that stuff does matter. Because if enough people say the same thing about me, it becomes fact in the general public’s mind. So I monitor what people say about me, and if I see a theme, I know what that means.

On why she may seem calculated to you…

When other kids were watching normal shows, I’d watch Behind the Music. And I would see these bands that were doing so well, and I’d wonder what went wrong. I thought about this a lot. And what I established in my brain was that a lack of self-awareness was always the downfall. That was always the catalyst for the loss of relevance and the loss of ambition and the loss of great art. So self-awareness has been such a huge part of what I try to achieve on a daily basis. It’s less about reputation management and strategy and vanity than it is about trying to desperately preserve self-awareness, since that seems to be the first thing to go out the door when people find success.

On Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste claiming he had who “hand experience” of Swift’s alleged “calculating” ways

I do think about things before they happen. But here was someone taking a positive thing—the fact that I think about things and that I care about my work—and trying to make that into an insinuation about my personal life. Highly offensive. You can be accidentally successful for three or four years. Accidents happen. But careers take hard work.

On why she’s so obsessed with collecting friendships making her squad happen

I honestly think my lack of female friendships in high school and middle school is why my female friendships are so important now. Because I always wanted them. It was just hard for me to have friends.

On outing who “Bad Blood” is about…

You’re in a Rolling Stone interview, and the writer says, “Who is that song about? That sounds like a really intense moment from your life.” And you sit there, and you know you’re on good terms with your ex-boyfriend, and you don’t want him—or his family—to think you’re firing shots at him. So you say, “That was about losing a friend.” And that’s basically all you say. But then people cryptically tweet about what you meant. I never said anything that would point a finger in the specific direction of one specific person, and I can sleep at night knowing that. I knew the song would be assigned to a person, and the easiest mark was someone who I didn’t want to be labeled with this song. It was not a song about heartbreak. It was about the loss of friendship.

On crying after Kanye West famously crashed her VMAs speech…

When the crowd started booing, I thought they were booing because they also believed I didn’t deserve the award. That’s where the hurt came from. I went backstage and cried, and then I had to stop crying and perform five minutes later. I just told myself I had to perform, and I tried to convince myself that maybe this wasn’t that big of a deal. But that was the most happenstance thing to ever happen in my career. And to now be in a place where Kanye and I respect each other—that’s one of my favorite things that has happened in my career.

On loneliness…

I’m around people so much. Massive amounts of people. I do a meet-and-greet every night on the tour, and it’s 150 people. Before that, it’s a radio meet-and-greet with 40 people. After the show, it’s 30 or 40 more people. So then when I go home and turn on the TV, and I’ve got Monica and Chandler and Ross and Rachel and Phoebe and Joey on a Friends marathon, I don’t feel lonely. I’ve just been onstage for two hours, talking to 60,000 people about my feelings. That’s so much social stimulation. When I get home, there is not one part of me that wishes I was around other people.

On happiness…

There is such a thing as having enough. You might think a meet-and-greet with 150 people sounds sad, because maybe you think I’m forced to do it. But you would be surprised. A meaningful conversation doesn’t mean that conversation has to last an hour. A meet-and-greet might sound weird to someone who’s never done one, but after ten years, you learn to appreciate happiness when it happens, and that happiness is rare and fleeting, and that you’re not entitled to it. You know, during the first few years of your career, the only thing anyone says to you is ‘Enjoy this. Just enjoy this.’ That’s all they ever tell you. And I finally know how to do that.