Internet Friends

I’ve been thinking about friends lately. As a freelance writer and author, I’ve done a lot of networking online as well as meeting people at conferences, book signings, and out in public during daily life. Some of those people I now consider to be friends, even though often times we first met online and interact primarily online.

In the past ten years or so, the internet has become one of the primary sources, if not the primary source of communication/entertainment/socializing (social media!) for the majority of people. That got me to thinking about the difference between so-called internet friends vs. traditional friends–those we have met in person the first time and developed a relationship with over time based on face-to-face interaction.

At a recent Blevins book club meeting I attended (my first!), the nine other people there all started as internet friends because of our love for TLGMS. When the show ended, Dale started a blog to keep all his fans connected. We’ve taken turns posting blogs (some much more than others. I am a laggard in that category.) The discussions can get quite lengthy. Over the years, we’ve gotten to know each other well enough to feel like we’re friends, even though some of us have never met. (Of course, most of you know this, just putting it in for newcomers).

Until that book club session, I had only met two of the blog regulars in person. Those two, Verily Sherrilee and Tim, were kind enough to come to my book launch celebration last spring. But the others were new faces. Even so, I felt as if we were all comfortable together, as friends should be.

So my question is: What is the difference, if any, between your “physical friends” and your “cyber friends?” Or is a friend always a friend, no matter how you met and the means by which you communicate?

50 thoughts on “Internet Friends”

  1. Good morning, baboons. I didn’t find yesterday’s blog until this morning. Transition woes, I suspect.

    What a lovely blog, ljb. A belated happy birthday, as well. Hope your special day was celebrated in some fashion.

    And, Chris, thanks for this one. Friends developed over the internet can become real friends, the Trail Baboon denizens have demonstrated that. Kindred spirits will find each other, and the internet provides just one more tools to do it. It’s not without its hazards, however. It’s easy to present a sanitized version of oneself, a version that ignores all the warts and flaws, one that leaves out a significant part of who you are. Yet, if the relationship lasts long enough, and you pay close attention, many of those carefully concealed characteristics will reveal themselves.

    Facebook is a place where I have a number of “friends” who I have never met. Some of them I like a lot. Oddly, it’s also a forum that has revealed some disturbing parts of a couple of real life friends.

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  2. OT – Twin Cities baboons might be interested to know that the Danish American Center is hosting their annual Valinte’s Day Brunch tomorrow. Here are the details: “Come join us for the annual Valentine’s Brunch on Sunday, February 12th from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM at the DAC! We’ll be serving a delicious meal that includes æbleskiver, fresh fruit, meat, Danish rye bread (rugbrød) an egg dish, coffee cake, juice, coffee and tea. Cost for adults $11 and children 12 and under $5. No reservations needed. Bring your sweetheart, bring your appetite, just bring it!” Danish American Center is located at 3030 West River Parkway South in Minneapolis, right at the intersection of the West River Road and Lake Street.

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  3. I attended my first Blevin’s Book Club in October. What fun!. I found the Baboons there to be exactly how they present on line. I think that may be a rare occurance, but I also think the Baboons are oddly genuine and real, and are the same in person or on the screen.

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    1. Actually, Renee, I’m much more handsome in real life than I am on this flog. Women go weak in the knees when I pass close by. Men fall silent and lean in when I speak, fearing they might miss a word or two. In real life I’m not nearly as plump or impecunious as I seem here. When reading my posts, just think of George Clooney or the Most Interesting Man in the World. People aren’t always as they seem on screens, you know. 🙂

      Liked by 7 people

  4. This group of baboons is the only time I’ve met friends online first, and then in person after getting to know them. I vaguely remember the first baboon gathering I attended – maybe 6 of us at the Russian Art Museum if memory serves – and thinking, yup, that’s what I thought they’d be like. I have been thoroughly delighted by the many ways I encounter Babooners. (Very sorry to miss the BBC that you attended, Chris.)

    I haven’t met new friends on FB as PJ has, but I pretty much stopped going there. Both FB and email are good ways to keep or revive connections with old friends who have disappeared from your life… Not everyone does FB, but almost everyone has email. I guess I’m glad for the electronic connections, overall.

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    1. Thanks for reminding me that the Museum of Russian Art was our first field trip. Another good baboon memory was sitting on the sidewalk together waiting for Tom Keith’s memorial service.

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      1. Classmates of sandy, married for 55 years. he has rapidly fallen into dementia. became violent. she did seek help. yesterday she had to hit him with a pitcher to protect herself.

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      1. There has been a serious loss of followers. Check the area right below the opening post, the area where readers get to “like” the main post. Most opening posts draw likes from quite a few people, including folks from other countries. For at least two days we have not drawn that kind of response, and I fear many folks who formerly followed us did not migrate to this new address (for whatever reason).

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  5. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    This is now a hard distinction to make, because a lot of my cyber friends became my in person friends over the past 7 years. And as someone said in a post above, Baboons are remarkably like themselves.

    Over my lifetime I have had a strange occurrence many times. I will dream of a friend who was once an important part of my daily life, or I will experience a persistent tug thinking about someone. I contact them, and indeed something is going on with either them or me. I will have to write up the most dramatic incident of this in a post. I just had this happen in Phoenix. I was having a tugging thought about a cop I once worked with on a daily basis in a child protection job. We became fast friends, but we had not talked in 20 years. So I sent him a Christmas card. He called. He was 15 miles away from Fountain Hills in Mesa. We got together for lunch 3 times and the friendship was off and running as if 35 years had not escaped us.

    So my question is this–does that make him a cyber friend? A psychic friend? A meta friend. This happens to me a lot.

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  6. I sense a not-so-subtle tendency to disparage relationships that result from meeting on the internet. That disdain for screen meetings doesn’t comport with my personal experience. The internet gives us a new way of meeting people that is neither better nor worse than meeting people in the the workplace or at church. Anything that makes it easier for like-minded people to get to know each other seems positive to me.

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    1. True. But I will say I am mighty cautious about who I tell about my “DreamTime Friends.” If you want to get the “how weird are you?” look that will do it.

      Which is why I posted the experience on a public blog.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. I think you’re right Steve – I know two young couples who met via online relationship sites and both couples are hesitant to talk about how they met, as if it’s not quite legit. You do hear a lot of stories about false identities that are discovered upon meeting upon person – it’s easy to present only the most pristine side of yourself online.

      If you had told my younger self that I would end up with a great group of friends that I met all online, I would have laughed out loud. But as others have said, this is a particularly special group – I’ve found all to be genuine and real. I’ve been lucky enough to even keep one of these friendships beyond the trail (hint – it’s coming up on baby goat time)!

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      1. And that’s where I met you, VS, in real time….baby goat time indeed. Reminds me I miss Dale’s many goat postings of yore.

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      1. this one points to the idea that vidiots dont communicate as much as online friends tweak the world. i think having a internet connection that allows you to be in your own little world where ever you are is a new thing
        my daughter who is social has a million frineds and the internet allows her to be in touch with all one million of thm at once and the netwirking is fantasitc. my daughter who is not social is into the couple of friends she has and introverts her way into odd little gorups and ways to occupy her time that would otherwise be taken up in some other odd form. i suspect in the olden days she would have become a reader. today she flits between sites. and enjoys her littel world. she doesnt have as many places to go because people in general dont talk but she does have her specail friends and she chooses them because they are good communicators and good hearted people. not the surface frinds that tend to populate high school memories.
        me i have business internet relationships that are all business but i try to throw in an identity and some personal stuff to keep it form being too dry

        i have a half step of the meetup.com folks who rally around an interest and get together to meet and discuss the area of interest. you start out with the intenet as a point of meeting and then graduate to the live meet. its nice or… edx where you meet in online classes with others who share you interest and you can have a =discussion.
        i am a little old school and am not looking for internet answers to help me solve my challenges with life. i’ll figure it out or i wont. my friends tend to be supportive and outside observers as opposed to problem solvers and solution providing kind of folks.

        Liked by 3 people

  7. The babooners are just about the full extent of my internet friends, since I’m not on facebook or any other social media. I suspect you all know my thoughts in greater depth and specificity than most of my IRL friends because I am more comfortable thinking before I speak and this platform lets me do that without awkward silences in the conversation.

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    1. its interesting how it works in life. some of us are thinkers and some are shoot form the hipsters and some are thoughtful and clear and can kind of do both. the internet makes it possible to get from a to b in a number of different fashions. and as bill points out the comfort level is open to different paths here. i have heard people say the texting and emailing the internet brought us took away the ability to have conversation. it is also possible as bill points out that the result is that you can think before you speak. my kids like to text so the person on the other end can respond when they want to and not be pushed to respond on the telephone request as done by us old farts. its an interesting option when you view it that way

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