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I’ve been thinking about how we make friends in this life today, well, more specifically, how I end up making new friends.

After a good long lay-in this morning, I started up my PC and logged into Facebook and I had a wonderful surprise awaiting me. An friend from my school days wanted to be my friend. We have not seen each other since we left school, so that’s over 30 years yet here she is asking to be my friend once again via Facebook. We were never particularly close at school but I know we had a respect for each other, in the same way we should all respect others.

I’m not questioning her request, more my reasons for accepting her request. I have very few friends in real life and this is reflected in my friends list on Facebook. In fact I regularly cull Facebook friends to those that I do have some contact or interaction with on a reasonably regular basis. We may not actually see each other but we might chat via the ‘chatbox’ on Facebook or via MSN Messenger from time to time. The one rule I have with Facebook is that I have met the person, face-to-face as it were, I can hear their voice in my head when I read their words, even if that voice is 30 years old.

I then went on to think of the people currently in my life that I actually talk to, those that I see on a very regular basis, whether it be at the Oxfam shop or other activities I sometimes do. With those at the shop it’s almost a working relationship yet we are still friends and I know there are plans in the air to hold regular get-togethers outside of the shop as many of us get on really well. But then it’s not like a working relationship in that I would never contemplate doing activities with work colleagues outside of the working environment under normal circumstances. I’m a firm believer in work is work, play is play and never the two shall meet.

Now I come to a big one, or at least it is for me. I have three people on here that I have never met, yet they have become very good friends in the four months I’ve been blogging. Again I don’t question their reasons, they come across as wonderful people which I’m sure they are in real life. The thing I’m trying to discover is how I came to that conclusion. I enjoy their writing and reading their blogs. I miss them if they don’t post for a few days. I care about their well being, I laugh along with them if they write something funny or cry if they write something sad. I go through all this yet we are so detached from each other.

I’ve been a user of the internet for longer than I care to remember but I’m still amazed at how it brings people together, no matter where they live, their social background or anything else for that matter. We all share one passion, sharing our lives, thoughts and words with each other, it is almost a private conversation that the world could listen into if it had the desire.

I’d like to think that one day we might all meet but then, it might spoil what we have and I would dread losing that.

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  1. I agree, Trevor, it seems when you ‘connect’ with someone via your page. space or blog (whatever you call it) there’s a kind of ‘knowing’ feeling that grows. You can’t help but create a ‘personal profile’ in your mind, built up from commenting, reading blogs, and responding to information given… In my case I don’t blog about my personal life, or only on very rare occasions, and through stories and poems I suppose ‘I’ must come through? Ideas wise, and beliefs wise…I suppose it’s a fine line to tread, as we all have our reasons for switching on the PC or Laptop and connecting via the Nett, to online friends, it’s safe, comfortable and above all a great way of communicating without the worry of “OMG is my hair OK?” or “Did I actually say THAT out loud?” type of thing!! … I think you share more of yourself blogging and commenting than you would in real life… you drop your guard and really say what you believe, which is sometimes much more difficult face to face…Actually the idea of saying some of things I’ve said commenting online, would leave me thinking I appear quite, quite doolally and would it be held against me in court? and would the men in white coats appear? 😀 …
    Reading this back I hope it makes sense? …. See what I mean ? I’ve sat here a while (correcting my typing on the way) and just really thought about my answer to your blog, now how could I do that face to face? heh!! xPenx

    • That’s the thing isn’t it Pen? I know I let slip perhaps more than I should at times so I imagine, everyone else does as well but they are considered thoughts, not what first comes to mind. As I have such little hair I don’t have that problem 😉 but on the other hand none of my ‘friends’ have to put up with the stale odour of my tobacco habit even though I would refrain from smoking in their company.

      i guess we are friends with who we want to be friends with at our own level, we make them into the friends we would like to have in real life.

  2. Isn’t that what writing is for? – to exchange ideas with as many people as possible and hope that you can find some common ground. My basic rule is that I only ‘publish’ things I am prepared for other people to read, but it is only one version of what interests me.

    • You are right in saying that what we publish is one version of who we are and what interests us but after a while certain aspects come through the writing, especially in the blog format. I think we end up thinking we know the person as we do when we meet people in real life yet we are basing that judgement solely on their words.

      It may be I’m looking for something that really isn’t there at all.

  3. As I say quite often, I am a private person, and tend to keep myself to myself most of the time. I don’t use Facebook very often – I have an account, but tend not to use it, only to have a nosy every now and then to see what others have to say (usually they are moaning about something or other! I can do that without Facebook!) With my blog, I can write about, well, anything, really. Sometimes I write about personal stuff, sometimes memories, and sometimes fantasy. I feel comfortable writing about it, but only through my online persona – there are some things that I have written about that I couldn’t say to anyone who I know personally (nothing bad, I must emphasise, just personal to me) but writing about it helps me to think clearer about it. The reason I have said that is that my blog is an extension of myself, it’s a way that I can connect with other people, and I feel as though those connections are getting stronger now that I have regular visitors. Online friends.
    As Pen says, you tend to build up a picture of who you are communicating with based solely on what they say, but you are continually learning something new about them.

    • Like you Aquatom, I write about things I could never talk to people face to face about, by doing this I think we show a side of ourselves no one else sees, then if a friend does read it they are surprised at what they read. For instance, very few of my friends know that I write poetry yet that has been an integral part of me most of my life.

      And regular visitors to our blogs are special, they leave comments and we appreciate their comments. We then come to look on them as friends because some sort of relationship is built.

  4. interesting Trevor. i think, for me, the way i get to know people best is through their words – either spoken in person or written somewhere. who had the recent post about words having power?
    there is something really intimate about sharing words and thoughts and being there when needed – the blogs i read are there exactly when i need them – becuz i’m in total control of when i check, what i read and when i comment. the people who are in my real life are not always so easy.

    i like to think that meeting in person wouldn’t be too much of a stretch and there wouldn’t be anything to lose – you already know some of the very important things about your friends through blogging – their words.

    • I think this is why I feel like I do about some people, I read their words daily, I get a feeling about their personality, likes, dislikes etc, they become a part of your day in the same way that ‘real life’ people do. It’s also true that you have much more control over the circumstances of the on line ‘meetings’ and how you deal with them.

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