Thursday, September 28, 2006

Meeting an Online Friend

Have any of you ever done that? Have you ever wondered how a person you've only met online would be like had you met that person?

Sometimes, I get the feeling that I know some of you so well that I can actually have a pretty good handle on what you are like in real life.

Well, the other day I got to test that theory of mine. I met a long time bloggy friend. It made so much sense, we both live in TO, we both like writing, we both seemed like reasonable sensible people, we both like the occasional drink ...

I can't lie. I had the normal fears and hesitations before the meeting took place. Will she turn out to be a total kook? Will she think I'm one? You know, all the regular stuff.

We met for 5 o'clock drinks. I love 5 o'clock drinks. And I'm glad to say I had the best time! It was so much fun. We got to know each other, even basic stuff such marital status and what not and we talked 'writing' and it was a blast.

I think that other than me staring at her amazing eyes occasionally and making her feel uncomfortable perhaps, it went well. To my defense, anyone would get lost in those eyes.

But hey, I had my first real blind "online friend" date and I think I came pretty close to what I thought she would be like.

Naturally, there were many surprises, and they were good. Besides, it would have been quite boring if there weren't any. I mean, who wants to know everything about another person within five minutes of meeting them, right? It will be fun to get to know her.



rdl said...

Wow! I'm jealous. sounded like alot of fun. maybe we'll all meet someday - big ole blog convention. :D

Jennifer said...

I always wonder. Always think it would be fascinating to meet.

I met two GREAT friends online. The three of us were all obsessed with a TV show. We met on a TV chat board, and now we're great friends despite the distance seperating up. We're all meeting up together this summer. (We're taking a vacation together). I CAN'T WAIT :D

charlotte said...

Great that your blog friend date went well! I haven't met any of mine yet (I live on a different continent than most) but I would be fascinated to do so. I have a picture of each in my head and it would be interesting to see if it matched the reality.

Flood said...

I've always wanted to do this. Great for you guys!

JLB said...

What a cool experience! I have a couple good friends who became good friends and fell in love online about ten years ago, so I certainly know that good friendships can begin online. :)

Nienke said...

I did the same thing! And, the blog friend I met also had these incredible eyes I got lost in. Perhaps we met the same friend? :)

Trée said...

Haven't meet anyone yet. I would have the same fears. What if a face to face meeting ruins a perfectly good blog relationship? Still, I would take the chance. Life is too short not to enrich a potential relationship. So glad your experience was a good one Melly.

redchurch said...

I've met many friends from online, and have even ended up working with some of them. In the late 1990s there was a very dedicated community to game design surrounding titles like DOOM and Quake. The community was not unlike our writerly one we've got going here.

Over the years people got hired professionally at game companies, and as I've made my tour through the industry I've gotten to meet and even work with many of them, which has been a blast.

In that sense, our virtual communities are no different than 'real' ones. They involve real people getting to know each other, and help each other out, encourage and critique. It could just as easily be in person, although it doesn't need to be.

Why is it strange?

redchurch said...

I thought I'd add, National Novel Writing Month often forms groups based on geography... and participants who live near each other often organize get-togethers at restaurants, bars, or coffee shops in their area.

If you're interested in that sort of thing, it's one more reason to join NaNoWriMo this November. Considering it's only a month away you might want to start jamming on an outline! :)

Anyway, community is the best part of that. I think I first got to know Melly when I started up my blog and joined NaNo last year.

Embrace community, rather than hide from it! :)

Melly said...

rdl, that would fabulous! We just need an in-between area. I wish you were closer :)

Jennifer, wow. That's fantastic. If I'm ever in Chicago I'd be sure to tell you!

Charlotte, a different continent would indeed pose a problem. I know exactly what you mean by having an image of online friends. I do too.

Flood, are you around TO or Ottawa? I have great blog friends in both areas. Go for it!

Jlb, now that is definitely cool, althogh not the only couple I know to have met online.

Nienke, no! Really??? Well... then maybe we met the same friend ;)

Trée, I know. I was afraid too it might ruin a "perfectly good blog relationship." But, as you said, life's too short!

Eric, that's awesome. Would you say gamers might be more open about it perhaps?
Yes, I do know about the NaNo stuff (indeed I think that's when we met), but almost each time the TO chapter met, I was away. Go figure!

Jean said...

Now, how did I have an inkling of who you were talking about?

Back in the early 90s, I belonged to an adult bulletin board system (but I was clear to people I met there that I wasn't there for THOSE adult activities --because that was an option), and I met at least two people from there. Both were fine folks. One I corresponded with for a couple years afterwards; the other I lost track of soon after I left the Baltimore area.

I would say that, with appropriate care, meeting on-line friends can be a very positive experience.

redchurch said...

Mel said,

"Eric, that's awesome. Would you say gamers might be more open about it perhaps?"

I'm sure to some degree they are for often being early adopters of technology trends.

But honestly, the communities are not all that different. You have a group of people with much in common, and often the same goal of getting their masterpiece published. :)

Likewise in the game editing community many of us were applying for the same jobs, hoping our work would get noticed. But it didn't dampen the community spirit.

We all critiqued each other, gave advice, shared knowledge, and enjoyed talking to people with similar aspirations.

Those who got jobs in turn helped others to get jobs. I have stayed in touch with many of those people, and as I said even ended up working with some of them at the same companies. I guess that makes it a little less strange because I didn't have to go out of my way to meet them. But if you live in the same area there is even less excuse to not make new friends who share similar interests and aspirations.

In a few cases it has not worked out so well, but I don't see how that is any different from having met someone 'offline' that you didn't necessarily get along with. I wouldn't blame that on the web... I'd blame that on people just not getting along.

But if there is the chance for people to make friends, help each other, and provide an enriching community, then I think everybody wins.

ME Strauss said...

Still have a drink waiting for you at the top of the Hancock, Melly.

I've now met 3 online friends in person -- went to conferences with two and only had the best fun.

I think the kinds of things that we talk about online make it easier to meet up face to face.

Edie said...

Sounds like an adventure...

Julia Buckley said...

I've met a few online friends in person, haven't been disappointed yet. Obviously you have to be careful and all that, but I'd definitely recommend it.

Glad you a nice time.

fred charles said...

I would like to meet all of my blogger friends at a big party! That would be a lot of fun. It would be like a huge blogger summit with lots of drinks, lol.

Deborah said...

I've never met any of my online friends, but my husband has made some great friends from his Corvette forum.

Susan Flemming said...

I've met several people in person that I first met on-line. It was always an interesting experience. Only once have I been deeply disappointed but that was because the image I had formed in my mind was so completely different than real life.

Mrs Lifecruiser said...

I've only met 2 online friends in my life. The first one become my best friend. The second one become my husband :-)

No wonder I love internet! *lol*

Melly said...

Jean, I wonder if you do know...
What an interesting story, though. Wow!

Eric, it sounds almost like you're describing our "support group" around the web. You're so lucky to have found the gamers and the writers. I wonder if most groups are like that. I say, probably yes, because most people are like that.

Liz, I was thinking of you on my way to my meeting bcause we often said we'd meet. What can I say? Geography!
You're probably right, it does probably make it easier for us to meet.

Edie, not such an adventure, but I like to always spice up my life you know ;)

Julia, I'm glad too. Thanks :)

Fred, drinks are a must! :)
Wouldn't that be wonderful if we could arrange that?

Deborah, so did mine with his audio forum :)

Susan, did that affect your online relationship then?

Mrs Lifecruiser, no wonder indeed :)

Leo said...

Great, glad your meeting went well.
I have met several online friends I would love to meet.
Who Knows, someday...

Paul Darcy said...

I've met a great friend online. Alyson Hannigan's dad - I kid you not!

We've been great friends now for about three years and met up in person twice (once at his house, once at mine) but we talk every week.

And yeah, we met because of his daughter.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a wonderful experience! It's definitely something I'd like to do someday.

Melly said...

Leo, someday... :)

OMG, Paul, you know Willow's dad?
Does he ever tell you anything about her??

Jason, most reccommended!

Sharon J said...

I've met lots of my online friends. In fact, a group of us used to meet up regularly. I even met my partner online (through a writers' site).

Glad your meet went well :-)

Melly said...

Sharon, that's so cool. Now you're the third person I know who has met their partner online. Really cool!

Sillyhead said...

This is exactly what I'm doing! I'm meeting a friend of mine, from a chatsite, not from a blog. I am really very nervous and so is she. I'm not sure what will happen and if we will actually have time to talk properly. She's coming to where I'm from with a tour group and she hopes she'll have some time to wander round my town. So we will see each other, hug for the first time! I'm so very nervous. I've known her 2 years, so I'm not worried about her being a weirdo or anything. But yea, I dunno :|