Thursday, October 23, 2008

You Got to have "Friends"

I don't have a lot of friends. I don't mean that in the "woe is me" way it sounds. I just mean that the number of people that I consider friends who I see or contact on a regular basis is very small. My friends are important to me. I love them and care about them like they're family.

The on-line world is a weird place for friendships. I frequently e-mail and Twitter people whom I've never met but who I "know" through reading their blogs. I look at their pictures on Flickr. I've seen their homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, friends and families.

My on-line friends are good for a laugh, a virtual hug, a "hey look at this" or "me too." I find myself quoting them or sharing details of our "conversations" with people in real life. That sounds weird, like these people on-line are figments of my imagination. Given my state of mind lately that's a possibility, but I'm pretty sure that they exist as actual life forms.

So what do I call these people? "Friend" to me implies a physical closeness, day-to-day interaction, a person who you've spent time with, who you can read and who can read you. I'd like very much to call some of these people "friend." I think I'd like to spend time with them, to have beers, to go book shopping with them or have a picnic with them. You can tell a lot about a person based on what they bring to a picnic. That's a subject for another time.

Sometimes I think, "One day I'll go to Canada/Arkansas/Amsterdam/Vienna to visit Jen/Belinda/Ingrid/Wolfgang and we're going to laaaaaugh and laugh and laugh and have a good time...." and then I wonder if that's a good idea.

Maybe in real life, these people wouldn't like me. Maybe I wouldn't like them. Maybe the on-line world is the best place for these "friendships" because the conversations are short, sweet and don't require eye-to-eye contact.

Better to keep the illusion of friendship, right? And darn it, it still feels funny calling these people friends. Have they earned that title? Have I? Wasn't it easier when we were five-years-old and could just wander up to someone on the playground and ask, "Will you be my friend?"


ingrid said...

I love this post. I've had really similar feelings. Yet if the opportunity came up, hun, I wouldn't just buy you a beer, I'd buy you champagne. And I'm sure we'd get on just fine. :)

wolfgang said...

heyy I was in that post :D
The thing is, three times in my life I met people in real life that I had a really good relationship with onine.
And all three times it went south :D
That means bad :D
Anyway, I guess if we just take the past as a yardstick the future will must be just some slightly different version of the past, right. Oh wait, there was a 4th one. Ah yes, a 4th. That went well. So yeah.
I'm going to bed now.

Illegal Tree said...

Back before Cell Phones and Compact Disks, you never thought someone was a friend until they helped you move or asked for your help.
Now maybe it's just someone who will not flame you.