Thursday, March 5, 2009

Imaginary Friends

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.


Clean Cut said...

I really enjoyed this post BIV. I can relate.

Scott said...

Would it completely destroy the sincere and genuine mood of this (excellent) post if I told you that, Yes, you look fat in those jeans?

(if so, feel free to delete me)

C. L. Hanson said...

I know exactly what you mean!

On a tangentially related note, did you get my email?

esodhiambo said...

I love friends in all forms!

Ann said...

Yes, online friends can be real friends, but only if both of them think of it that way. And then, of course, there are friendly acquaintances, who are nice people whose company we enjoy but who we would not ask to pick up our kids or tell us how fat we look in our jeans. Those are also available online.

Sometimes online friends can be a real lifeline, if you are "real" with them.

Mormon Heretic said...


Great post. I just met 2 of my online friends in person this week, and a 3rd friend via Facebook. It was kinda weird, but fun. Oh, I did attend Sunstone last year, and you were pointed out to me in the distance by some MM bloggers I met. Every time I wanted to introduce myself, you were busy talking to others.

It's kind of like meeting radio personalities. You hear them so often, recognize their voice, and then when you meet them, you think, "Their voice doesn't match their appearance."

It's good to have online friends. I once saw a t-shirt from a high school math club which said, "It's better to have imaginary numbers, than imaginary friends."

The Faithful Dissident said...

I can really relate to this post.

I haven't met any of my blogging friends in person, but I'd also be a bit nervous about it because I feel I'd be a disappointment in person. I'm not nearly as outspoken or bold in person as when I write. And if we had met in person first, I doubt I would have connected the way that I have with some of them.

By the way, my "real" social life really sucks. :)

G said...

I love my imaginary friends, my online friends, and I love BIV.

Bored in Vernal said...

Clean cut, Thanks. I never understand why you read me, but I'm glad you do!!

Scott, are you trying to insult me, or to be a "real" friend?

Chanson, YES! I will reply. Sorry!

Eso. I've been reading your comments all over lately. Be mine.

Ann, you are my true and and my online friend. til we meet again.

MH, if you come this year, you MUST talk to me. I know I don't match up with my writing voice. Odd, isn't it?

FD, yup, yup, and yup.

G, you are a doll, and I love you, and I give you great big hugs. I am jealous of all the people you've been visiting. I hope we can meet up again soon.

m_and_m said...

Count me as one who thinks online friends count (or at least can count). I have had some pretty amazing experiences because of blogging, and not always because I had met the person in person.

p.s. Still hoping we can meet IRL someday, BiV. :)

Clean Cut said...

"I never understand why you read me, but I'm glad you do!!"

Well, why not read you? That's what I love the most about blogging--it brings you into contact with all kinds of people you might not have interacted with otherwise.

jenica said...

i think that blogging allows you to instantly open up parts of your heart that you normally keep tucked away, it's self-effacing, self-opening at it's finest. but for the gal we meet at the library, it's a little harder to get to the level with them.

because of the openness we share as bloggers, it makes meeting feel so much more like a reunion of old souls, than an introduction.

Kalola said...

Interesting post, BiV. I have recently found that my IRL friends are more genuine because they know the real me. And I've found that many on-line "friends" have a tendency to stop communicating without letting you know why. I am sure no one I have met on-line would have any interest in meeting me in person. You are fortunate to have won the hearts of many in cyberspace.

SilverRain said...

If I am imaginary, it would explain a great deal of my life.*

But I am also grateful for the chance to make friends of people I would otherwise have never met. The Internet is magical.

*But would an imaginary friend be this self-centered?

Reese Dixon said...


I don't know how I would have gotten through the last two years without the internet. I give thanks for it, and the friends I've made here, every day.

You're wonderful BiV.

Tim said...

When I met you in person it was awesome. I was actually kind of nervous to meet you. And there you were..... You are so cool in person.

Gigi Geitgey said...

Oh my gosh, when I saw the photograph, before I read your post I thought it was going to be about the awful chairs in our RS meeting room (and over flow and other classrooms)!