On Internet Friendships

I don’t think I’ve done a post on this subject before but I believe it’s something that comes up for every blogger/person that lives as obnoxiously online like I do; or so I believe. I don’t like making the division between IRL friends and online friends. This is partly due to the fact that I don’t advertise my online life as such. My close friends know that I blog and tweet and whatnot but they don’t care too much for it. And for all the other people I know, explaining what blogging is and that I do it and why is just way too annoying so I just refer to people I meet on the internet as my friends.

Secondly, though I also believe that it doesn’t matter if you only communicate with this person over the internet because he/she is hundreds or thousands of miles away. They can still be good friends and sometimes even better than those ‘real’ people in your life. Just a recent example, Sunday was Mother’s Day. I don’t much care for this day, never have and never will because I’m just not a fan of doing anything just because everyone else is doing it. So my Gran got flowers today and not on Sunday. Even though it’s a stupid day in my opinion, it was the first Mother’s Day without my Mom. None of my friends said anything about that but as I was going to bed I got the sweetest tweet from Nicole sending me a gigantic virtual hug to counterbalance all the Mother’s Day craziness on social media. (Twitter and Facebook really went crazy that day.) This consideration blew me away, partly because I always suspect people I find to be really cool think of me as the annoying fifth wheel.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, after I delivered my flowers to Grandma she told me about her ‘friends’ grandkid who’s 16 that did/wanted to (idk I didn’t pay close attention) meet a man she met on the internet. And then she asked me who I was meeting in Edinburgh next month even though I told her it was another exchange student I met in Sweden. I know this is a lie but my Gran has absolutely no idea how the internet works and believes that everywhere we sign up online it’s for murderers and rapists to find us. I have no intention of ever explaining blogging/Twitter/tumblr and Facebook to her because I don’t think she would understand why we do these things and that not every person you meet online is a bad guy.

I trust my judgement enough to know that Anju is not going to hack me into pieces in Edinburgh and I also don’t know why this is such a big deal when she is okay with me traveling to Sweden on my own in July. I know she is doing so out of love and because she cares for me, but what does she think is going to happen? I’m flying there (done this many, many times even on my own), we’re going to stay in a hostel for 2 nights (more people to prevent axe-murdering) and visit the city, talk, take photos and have fun. I really cannot think of what terrible thing will happen to me because I chose to meet a person I know for almost 2 years now in comparison to going alone. I could just very well be making this weekend trip on my own, but honestly, then she would go crazy for a different reason.

Maybe I am a little bit naive but I believe there to be a certain ‘codex’ between bloggers. I mean, this is not some shady ICQ chatroom. When you’re a personal blogger like me, who mainly follows personal bloggers, you get to know the people you interact with most. Of course it is only a fraction of who they are as to what they reveal on the internet but still. People in real life can be murderers too, you know?! Just last week a woman my age was murdered by her boyfriend in my town. I didn’t know her but bestfriendboy did and he said I knew her cousin so there’s that. It’s a big deal because not many people get murdered here, we don’t even have out own homicide unit, they have to come in from the next bigger city. ¬†What I’m trying to say is, it doesn’t matter where you know the friends you know from, there’s always the possibility of them having a secret you don’t know. If I meet someone in class at the university I have no way of knowing that he is NOT the next bloody face killer who secretly skins people in his basement. I have to trust my judgement and I have to do the same with the people I meet online.

I hope this made at least some sense, I’m trying to get back into blogger-groove which may take a while. Until then, have fun with my incoherent babbling.

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  • A few years back, I made the decision to go on a dating site in order to find someone to be in a relationship with. Independent of my success on the site, the one thing I found that was an incredibly sweeping stigma was that EVERYONE in my family assumed I was going to get murdered by a blind date I chose to meet from online. I was a bit offended, as the makeup of the online world is fairly similar to that of the world as a whole in first-world countries.

    By the same token, I refuse to make a distinction between blogging friends and IRL friends. This bothers my girlfriend to no end, but I just don’t see much of a difference in the social relationships you can form.

    • Good to know I’m not alone in this. It’s just too much effort to explain to every person that I’m currently talking about a person I met while blogging on the internet. And just because I only interact with said person via social media doesn’t mean that it cannot be a real friendship. It’s 2013 I say to hell with the stigma!

      • It really messes with people when I tell them that I have internet friends and then I tell them that I didn’t meet these people via social media (as the only social media sites I use are Twitter and LinkedIn).

  • Melbourne on my Mind

    My mum always asks “But…how will you know what they look like????” when I’m going to meet a blog friend. I don’t think she quite understands that between blogging, vlogging, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and emails, I have a pretty damned good idea of what people look like!!

    • Hahaha, this is true. I guess our folks just don’t understand this.

  • Internet can be dangerous … and nobody knows who the other person is – but life is dangerous too … but we had far too many women killed/murdered by internet “friends” over here in Sweden already … and people messes with each others heads. So it’s important that we stand with feet solid on the ground – and make sure … that we don’t put ourselves in a vulnerable situations. I have dated online … and have always been careful, but never scared as such .. and they have all been okay guys. Follow your common sense.