05 November 2010

QotD: Are internet friends just as good friends as meat-space friends?

This month I've decided to post every day. Please don't faint. Since I don't have enough original things to write about (hence the desertish nature of my blog lately), I've decided to ask a new question every day this month and hope that I get answers. I have questions; you have answers.

I like finding interesting and like-minded people on the internet. I have met, in person, many of my internet friends and for the most part, I have enjoyed them as much in meat-space as I have on the computer screen. I even met my husband online. However, I have friends and family who view this type of behavior with great dismay and distrust, as if internet friends are inherently axe murderers or, if they are not, internet friends cannot be quite as good as meat-space friends. I disagree with that attitude (duh), but I am curious what y'all think.

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Updated 11/6/2010

I followed a link from my friend Janiece to this journal entry written by Roger Ebert. While it is not exactly what I was fishing for in this question, it does touch on online relationships. It is a lovely piece. Go read it.

12 comments:

vince said...

Well, anyone, anywhere could be an axe murder, and some certainly are. That's nothing exclusive to people on the Internet.

Internet friends aren't inherently less good than meat-space friends, in my experience. How good they are, I've found, depends on the two people involved, just as it does in meat-space.

xinef said...

Internet friends can be just as real and close as local friends. As you know, I've had a number of Internet friends stay in my home and none has turned out to be an axe murderer. I've visited internet friends, and so far, haven't murdered anyone!

Recently, I wanted a needlework item that is only available in the US. I posted a request on one of my stitching communities, and within hours had a couple of offers. One of them made the purchase, checked it out, returned it because of problems, and shipped the new item to me, including a personal extra. I paid via PayPal. What more could one ask?

Janiece said...

You're kidding, right?

neurondoc said...

I was hoping to get someone who hasn't made friends through internet connections to comment on this.

I'm not kidding, though. People have made remarks to me basically implying that friends that I've made via the internet, but met in meat-space, aren't real friends. Or they are not-quite friends. I find that attitude discomforting, but it's obvious why...

Claudia said...

I was hoping to get someone who hasn't made friends through internet connections to comment on this.

Oh, well. Then I'm not commenting.

neurondoc said...

Hmmm. My prior comment doesn't make sense. It should be "People have made remarks to me basically implying that friends that I've made via the internet, but NOT met in meat-space, aren't real friends."

I'm confusing my own self.

Janiece said...

You're confusing yourself because the premise you want someone to defend is pretty stupid.

I'm not saying that meat-ups aren't critical to advancing intimacy in a relationship that started on-line - they are. One of the reasons I'm closest to Anne, of all the members of the UCF, is because I can basically see her whenever I want. I've met and enjoyed her family, and she's met and enjoyed mine. These types of activities go a long way in establishing closeness.

But I call shenanigans on the implication that I can't genuinely like and care for Jim Wright, for example, because we've not yet met face to face. Will we become better friends once we've passed that milestone? Probably so. And I look forward to it. But it irks me when someone implies my on-line only relationships are shallow simply by virtue of them being on-line.

Janiece said...

P.S. If that sounded kind of bitchy, I apologize. It wasn't meant so...

neurondoc said...

I'm confusing myself, because my fingers are typing it WRONG.

Janiece, I didn't see your comment as bitchy at all. I realize that the audience I am most interested in hearing from won't likely comment (those who have no online friends), because most people who read my blog are either, family, meat-space friends, or people who are already my online friends. It is an exercise in futility, I guess.

My weekend questions are far better, I promise.

Claudia said...

I like your questions. It's a really neat idea.

xinef said...

Claudia - I agree. The questions are fun, and checking back to see if there are new answers is even more fun.

Janiece - I completely agree. Meat-ups (love that term) are important and usually wonderful, but I have important friendships with a number of folks I've never met in person.

WendyB_09 said...

Many people are suspect of any experience outside of their normal.

Years ago I got the same reaction from coworkers when told I'd gone looking for my cousin, then gave two strangers that barely spoke English a ride to a remote train yard, where she might be. Sounded like the start of a horror movie to them.

The reality - at the time my cousin was professional clown with Ringling Bros. I went over to the arena on set-up day, she'd left when their dressing area was set up. The two guys were a Czech father & son, both animal wranglers, headed back to the train for the night. They knew which yard the train was in and how to get there from the arena. AND they were friends with the cousin, who was teaching them English, and loved getting a chance to try their newly minted skills with me. I was part of the circus' extended family, and perfectly safe. Still didn't find her, but her roomies made sure I got to leave a note & we connected a few days later.

Now my family had no trouble with this, my parents were known to host dinner for groups of circus performers at 2 AM after a show! I was probably safer with them then I'd been walking to the parking lot at work! But my staid co-workers thought I'd lost my mind.

Back to the subject - simple answer is yes. I know as much, if not more, about many of my internet friends as I do my local friends. And the ones like you I've gotten to "meat" are fabulous!