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 😉 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 🙂 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 🙂 none of these thoughts are directed at you guys, just my musings for the day!