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Mothers' Hideaway: Real life vs. Online friends

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Real life vs. Online friends

Ahh... the internet vs. reality. An interesting subject to approach from many angles. A great discussion was brought up on this subject on our forums:

I was talking to one of my friends today about this topic and thought it would be interesting to have you all weigh in. In today's world of social networks (like Facebook and Myspace), message boards (like MH), and other internet outlets are the relationships you build online the same or different than the ones you build in "real" life? Do you categorize the two separately? Do you value them differently? Is there ever a time that an "online friend" can become an IRL friend? What does it take to get there?

So many questions!!

Finally, what does it mean to be a friend? Is meeting a person face to face at first change their ranking of importance?
Is it interesting, or strange perhaps, to think that we can now form relationships more solid and lasting through the computer than we can in real life? I know a person who I have chatted with, both online and on the phone, for years now. Between us, we have 3 moves, 5 kids, and several web sites. But, if push came to shove, either of us could count on the other for anything.

So, how do we evaluate this? Is it appropriate to create lasting relationships from online interactions? At one point, I would probably have said no. But, as I evaluated the discussion thread on this topic, I truly thought about it. Person a would be one of the first people I went to with a problem. I say one of, as I do have a real-life best friend-- 1000 miles away. So perhaps our relationship is now electronic as well. Mostly phone calls and online discussions-- but does that take away from what we have? And a new situation- someone I have become close with in a month- a month! Does that seem long or short? In real life, that seems like a quick time to become close with someone, and the few times this has happened for me has led to the great friendships in my life. I think the online version is leading to the same thing. When you feel so comfortable with a person, even if hesitant at first, I doubt the channel of communication really matters.

So, I end with this. True friends are hard to come by; it is rare we find a person we can truly trust, and truly feel comfortable just being ourselves with. When this happens, it should be embraced, whether in person, or in the crazy world of online.

What do you think about this? Visit our forum and tell us! See our topic of the day, plus a ton of others!


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