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I’m not very good at making friends.

Well, that isn’t exactly true, I am okay at making them–I’m just not very good at keeping them. You see, friendships take work. You have to call people, send thank you cards, bring them meal when they’re sick–you know be a friend. And, since I suck, I hardly ever do any of this. So my friendships usually fade away, and it’s just sort of whatever.

I was thinking about this yesterday when I ran into my online friend, Holly.

Thing is, I talk to Holly via the internet all the time. We chat about our kids–if she’s having a bad day I send her a shout out (that’s pretty much the internet equivalent of making someone a casserole), and she does the same for me.

This internet friendship is a whole different kind of friendship, except that, in this case– I’ve met Holly.

We haven’t seen each other in person a lot or anything, but when we do, it’s not awkward or weird like it would be with a new friendship, it’s like we’ve been hanging out a few times a week for over a year, because we actually have. Just we did it online.

So, is Holly a real life friend or an online one? I don’t know–I mean, I met her online, and that’s where we have the majority of our interaction, but I’ve also had drinks with her, so does that change things? Should that change things? Does that even need to change things or does it matter what kind of friend she is?

So, tell me, online friends– are we really friends, or are is it just not the same?

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  1. I’d say real friends, honestly. In truth, one is more likely to display their true personality on the internet due to the false sense of anonymity than they are in “real life” where they believe consequences are more likely. Which is true, as you are FAR more likely to be punched in the face for saying the wrong thing in person than you are for saying the same thing on the internet.

    Of course, I’m just rambling. 🙂

  2. I find it so karmically hilarious that we both posted this same thing…on the same day…with the same question.

    Obviously, we are friends and now I am worried we are psychic friends.

  3. lol kinda late catching this post, but I gotta say I love my bloggy friends. We are so real friends.

  4. I guess I’m not sure why it would make a difference where/how you meet? I feel like I know people better online, simply because we’re cutting past all the outward appearance and mannerisms, and getting to the heart of who someone really is. That makes for more genuine friendships, IMO.

  5. I’ve been questioning this myself. I find it hard to feel like I truly know someone well enough if we just talk on the internet. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met and actually bonded with people via Twitter and blogs, but it just seems like we’re only skimming the surface, unless we meet up and hang out.

  6. Ooh, Sarah Eliza changed my odds of winning from 100% all the way down to 50%. I’m pretty sure this doesn’t make us friends. 🙂

  7. Online friends are totally friends. It really is about caring and support regardless of the medium… but at the same time, I think IRL friends can do the supporting and caring more effectively usually…

    And 10 “friend” and “friends” 🙂

  8. I think the best friends are low maintenance friends. I’m really into picking up where you left off, and not expecting my friends to have to keep in touch on a schedule.

    But I also don’t label my friends as “online” or “real.” Friends are friends. Be there when you can, and when you’re needed. That’s enough for me.

  9. I think that we have different friends for different purposes. I can go to one friend for advice on marriage, another for reminiscing about university… sometimes they overlap, but not always.

    I think that with online friends, you’re more likely to get into conversations that you wouldn’t normally have with someone you see on a daily basis. That could promote more honesty between you.

  10. IMHO The friends are real. It is just the environment that is virtual. And even that is real from a certain point of view.

  11. counted 10 friends/friend excluding friendship 🙂

    I think online, in person, telephone… doesn’t matter. We’re all just friends. Most of my communication with my “real-life” friends is online anyway since we’re all so busy and since most have kids, they don’t have much time to get together. So in some ways, my “online” friends are more real. I had dinner last night (finally after months and months of trying to coordinate) with a lady I knew in HS that I haven’t seen in almost 20 years and we’ve become very close through Facebook and texting. It was like not a day had passed. Very odd, but cool! I think technology is just redefining how friendships work, making it much easier for those of us that try to be “good” friends but don’t always succeed 🙂

  12. I am exactly the same way. I am a sucky friend, and family member. I never call my friends and family and they constantly complain about it…but you know what? They never call me either, so they can’t frigging complain.
    But, whateves. It is easier to keep friends if you communicate online.

  13. If you feel a bond, I’d say you’re friends.

    I think there is room for all kinds of friends, but I care a lot about my close ones. For close friends, I’m ready to be there, ready to help. And not just when it’s convenient.

    Any worthwhile relationship requires effort and sacrifice, but it’s worth it.

    Like Ringo says, “I get by with a little help from my friends, ooh, gonna try with a little help from my friends…”

    Yeah, I’m a sap. I admit it.

    BTW, thanks for being a good friend to me. You helped me out w/ #whyitweet and it was a smashing success!

  14. Well, what is friendship? It’s not just saying nice things to each other. It’s service, it’s selflessness. If we achieve that through the internet, then great! But I think we also need to be careful because the internet provides an outlet for us to say and receive complements etc… without all the work that real friendship takes. And it does take work. But it’s worth it in the end.

  15. I say you’re friends. I’ve never noticed a distinction between “real” and “online” friends before. Friends are people you interact with and care about, and so online friends more than meet that definition.

    Dude, counting is hard. Including the title of the post, and the instructions, I counted 10. The word friendship was in there 5 times, though. I sense a theme.

  16. It’s hard to say. I probably talk to my online friends more and I definitely think they understand me more. But I have friends besides online too.

    Interesting thoughts…

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