I'm always wondering--are online friends real or imaginary?
My children are always telling me to get some REAL friends. The kind you can go out to lunch with, or see every Sunday, the kind that will pick up your kids for you when you are stuck at the doctor, or who can tell you if you ACTUALLY look fat in those jeans. I guess there is an advantage in having those types of friends.
But these days, I really prefer my online friends. For one thing, they are more convenient. You can "drop in" on them any time--it's not necessary to comb your hair or change out of your sweats. You can read their blog posts and make comments any time, even three in the morning. I love that my online friendships are based on interests and have no constraints such as age or gender. I know it would seem odd in my ward if I, the middle-aged mother of eight, had a dear friend who was a 21-year-old male graduate student. But online it is no big deal.
Does meeting my online friends make them any more real? I have met up with some of them at Sunstone and other places. This month I have plans for a weekend with 4 of the women I have met online and otherwise don't know at all!! And it's a bit scary. Some of the people I've met I really connect with. But often, the relationship changes a bit, in subtle ways. I have an online persona which is completely blown when they see me in person. So I'm not always sure I even WANT to meet my imaginary friends.
But I really want to thank them for being out there, for being willing to talk, and share, and be my friend. Thanks for sharing your stories, for visiting my blog, for putting a little bit of your life out there for me to read and enjoy.
I need you now more than ever.
Joseph F. Smith: The Rights of Children
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