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On Making Friends

This weekend a writer buddy, Leigh, came up to stay the night at my place. We’d never met in person, though we’ve been emailing since February and chatted on Skype before.

For some, this might seem odd – letting a person I haven’t ‘met’ into my home – but the reality is that she knows me as well as any of my ‘real life’ friends, what’s more, she gets me on the writer level and it’s always awesome to have the opportunity to physically meet the writers I connect with on the net. (Failing all of this, I do have some very lethal weaponry in my home πŸ˜‰ lol)

What often surprises me, though it shouldn’t, is that it never feels strange meeting these people. I mean, sure, I might occasionally feel nervous and hope that it will go well, but it’s not odd, at all. I think the key to making friends online, and having those friendships work out away from the computer is in being authentic.

If you behave in the same way online, as you do offline, then you will find that the friends you make here are friends you could catch up with for a coffee and a chat. Too often it seems to me that people forget that they are dealing with other real people*. They say things, do things, post things that are not really good representations of who they are as people. Sometimes they interact in ways which are shameful and disappointing. I don’t get into yelling matches with people offline, so I don’t do it online either.

An added bonus is that if you are authentic with other people, they tend to be authentic with you – that’s the kind of friend I want πŸ™‚ So far this year I have met five wonderful writer friends in person – three in my home, one at the library for industrial strength coffee, and one in Auckland. She was kind enough to pick me up, we coffee’d at Starbucks and then she dropped me home! I think I need to add one more to the year, and make it an even half dozen.

Do you meet your online friends offline? If not, would you consider it? If you wouldn’t, why?

*For the record, if I’ve spoken with you here, or ‘know’ you, then I consider you to be showing me your real self πŸ™‚ none of these thoughts are directed at you guys, just my musings for the day!

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15 thoughts on “On Making Friends”

  1. I’ve met a number of internet friends in person – meeting first in a well populated area, but then often going straight to a hotel to start a holiday together! I have a bunch of UK friends and travelled through Scotland and Stratford upon Avon and Cambridge, etc
    Also done the same with a handful of Australian-based net friends – but that feels a bit ‘safer’ as I generally have family in those cities as well.
    Met the man I’m currently with (and going to marry) online, though I wasn’t looking… it just kind of happened.

    I don’t find it weird at all. When all you can do is talk, you find out so much about a person, and it’s been very rare that I’ve met someone online who’s very different in person – in fact, I don’t think it’s happened to me yet, though I have heard of it happening.

    I can see why a lot of people would be against dating online, but when you’re anti-social… well, it works pretty well to get to know someone. You get over the awkward part online and when you meet, it’s like you’ve known each other all your life. When I met the guy I’m not dating, it was like we’d known each other for ages and there wasn’t even an hour of awkwardness. It was utterly lovely.

    When my tastes are so odd (for where I live) it’s hard to find friends here. The things I love are UK tv shows, writing, conventions… and those things just aren’t where I live. Out of everyone online you have your pick of who to remain friends with, basically. You can be friends with those who share common interests, where such things sometimes aren’t possible if you live rurally, or even if you live in a bitter city and just haven’t found them yet.

    1. I met my hubby in the same way πŸ˜‰ I’m definitely a huge fan of making friends online – you don’t have to be limited to your local area, and sometimes it means you find friends in your own town who you might not have otherwise, due to similar interests!
      Thanks for taking the time to reply, so many great points

  2. Interesting topic. I’d say the major point is being genuine and hoping you get the same in return.

    If it wasn’t for meeting people on-line after moving back to Auckland I wouldn’t have any at all! (NZDating good for something after all LOL)

    1. Again, thank heavens for the net! lol I remember life being good enough without it, but it feels much richer being in contact with so many others who have similar interests and tastes.

  3. I’ve made and maintained a number of good friendships – and friendly acquaintanceships – online. I can’t really imagine not doing and even in online environments where I don’t use my real name I tend to be pretty authentic about the things that matter. Plus as I have trouble hearing in noisy environments I find a lot of the conventional places for meeting people difficult.

  4. This time a year ago (give or take a few days), I met my best friend online. I’ll see in her person for the first time in about two weeks (go on and give or take another few days, why dontcha), and we go mad with excitment every time we remember this glorious (and surreal) fact.
    Hooray that she’s coming! She’s awesome! — so much so, that I had to write her a blog post of her very own:

    http://everonword.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/tirzah/

    1. That was a beautiful post, thank you so much for sharing! I hope that you two have an amazing visit together in a few weeks time – it can’t help but be amazing, really. I would feel the same way if I had the chance to meet some of my other writer friends – it’s always an awesome experience

  5. To date, I’ve had two of my internet friends come to my house to visit me. I have to admit, it’s pretty awesome. My best friend and I got along REALLY well. My mother told me afterwards that she was surprised that we were so close. As long as you know the person, I don’t see why you shouldn’t meet them! Of course, normally I would suggest doing so in a public area, because there is always that small chance… but as long as you’re smart about it, it’s a wonderful experience. Maybe someday I’ll make it out to visit you, Cass. πŸ˜‰

    1. that would be cool! It is awesome to be able to meet face to face, and I think it’s cool that your mother got to see for herself that you really can make great friends without having met them in person initially.

  6. I met my wife in person, but our relationship developed electronically as we were in different countries. Was good just being able to talk about everything without being distracted by physical things that tend to distract young people (and certainly did distract us once we were in the same country). We were already good friends and knew we were compatible intelectualy when we met.

    In saying that its easy to misrepresent yourself on the net. I don’t know nearly as much about writing as I pretend too πŸ™‚

    I’ve never met anybody in person that I first met online. But I see nothing wrong with the idea. I wouldn’t even see the need to take any extra precautions. I mean, you wouldn’t go into a dark alley with someone you just met on the street either.

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