The Social Set and Friendships.

I was talking online to someone this week and the conversation got round to social sites. ” Of course” I was told ” you can’t make friends online. Not real ones. Plenty of acquaintances but not real friends”. As the conversation ended it set me thinking. I’ve often referred to some of the people I have on Social sites as friends. Could I be wrong?

I’ve been using social sites for quite a long time. From private members sites to Facebook, twitter and Gather.com.  I think the first person I met that I named friend was on a private members site. He’s a lawyer from the U.S. called James. He  thinks I’m friends so that I always have a lawyer to call on should I need one but in fact he’s been there as a dependable friend and confidante through some major crises in both our lives health wise and has often helped me in a fraud sideline. We reached a point of gifts at birthdays and Christmases that require real thought and indicate a real friendship.

Not all friendships can last of course as sometimes people go in different directions. I had another long lasting friendship that led to a really nice lady editing my books for me before they went on the Indie publishing sites. The fact that we did go separate ways in the end doesn’t diminish the friendship we had in my eyes. Of course because these are social sites we meet people on the ether from all over the known world. The internet makes it easy to laugh at distance. I was very fortunate that one young lady was due to come to the UK as an Envoy for her school and a youth group. Julia, Yvonne and I had the opportunity to meet her for a short time as she ventured close to Wales. We had been writing for a long time as she’s also an author, and yes, many of my friends are authors since it’s a common interest. In the case of this young lady I’d also been writing to her mother so she felt secure in letting her daughter meet us. What happened? Well we arrived at where she was waiting for us and she immediately ran to Julia and hugged her. To Julia!!!!!! It was me had done all the writing. But yes, I got my hugs as did Yvonne. I still write to Patti and I still consider her a friend and not an acquaintance.

I have friendships all over America. One in particular with a talented lady who trusted me enough to share her problems with me and who took a real interest in mine. That’s a big part of it for me, the fact that a friendship is based on sharing the problems or the fun with someone who doesn’t just want to talk about themselves or their latest book.  One of my greatest treasures is an Hungarian Aussie who sends about eight one line messages a day which are responded to in one line responses. We make them as funny as possible and delight in scoring points off each other. And yet, when Julia died, this friend was there for me with messages of comfort and help.Thank you Andrea.

If I added the name of all those I’ve come to call friend and the reasons we’d be here all day but there are some exceptional people I must remember. So I’m going to say thank you to those who’ve proved themselves cast in the correct role and please don’t think that this is a complete listing. I will forget some here and kick myself later when I realise it. Pauline ,Metan,  Normandie, Earl ( Gather), Wendy (Gather) Renata, Mary J., Jolyse,  Lorene, Lori, Chris (ASMSG) Grey (ASMSG), Niamh, Angelika, and more recently Martine. I’m more grateful than most of you will ever know. If I’ve forgotten to name someone it’s not that I don’t count you as friend it’s purely the sign of an ageing memory. Please forgive me and know I still value you greatly.

I’m adding an edit to the post at this point as I need to add a friend I greatly value whom I was not sure would appreciate inclusion when I first wrote this. She was not amongst the friends I was remiss in not adding by accident but rather on purpose. She is yet another writer and her name is Sherie. An author of good books she has  become a friend in a relatively short space of time and after the death of my beloved Julia was hugely supportive. I owe you thanks Sherie. xx Hugs xx

Take it from me, you certainly can make a good and lasting friendship on Social Sites even though you may never meet the person. If you’re open to friendship it can come from the most surprising directions.

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36 Comments

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36 responses to “The Social Set and Friendships.

  1. I agree with you. I label my friendships on the internet in 2 different categories. I have acquaintances, those who I talk to from time to time. Then there are those I consider friends. I talk to them a lot, and have come to know them as if we were friends in real life. I know some people think internet friends aren’t real life friends, but they are. They really are. And I am grateful to have such a tool in my life to allow me the experiences of meeting and talking to people from all over the world, making friends with people I probably never would’ve had a chance to meet otherwise. Like you, for instance. 🙂 Hugs to you, David.

  2. Amen, David. Amen. I’m very glad to call you friend, but you knew that.

  3. Sigh. . . Well, I’ll keep you on MY list anyway, David.

  4. -hugs- Thank you David. I’m another who believes in online friendships and I count you as both friend and kindred spirit. Why should online friendships be any different to real life ones? I know some people abuse the anonymity of the internet and try to pass themselves off as something they’re not, but most people pour their real selves into their words because they are reaching out for friendship too.

    Back in the 19th century we would have called ourselves pen pals. The only difference now is that our missives travel a whole lot faster. 🙂

    Proud to have you as a pen pal David!

  5. Martine Kaufman

    Sometimes you meet someone, you instantly click with, who has the same sense of values, a great sense of humour, and who is above all kind and supportive. It does help that he has known your favourite cousins well for around 40 years, and that they love him as a brother. Hopefully one day we will meet in RL, but after only a short while you are a real friend to me. Hugs Martine x

    • Sometimes we’re lucky enough in life to meet our friend’s cousins and they become friends too. It was a lucky day for me when Mike decided to see if I could help with his family tree. Out of that tree popped a cheeky monkey that turned out to be you. xx Hugs xx

  6. How wonderful that you have such a long list of friends online or otherwise, and a few more saying hey ho also 🙂 The essential thing about online friendships is that they are deliberate. They don’t flourish unless each person puts in the care and time. Unfortunately these days real life doesn’t always allow us time to meet and spend face time with people of complementary interests, but the technology & the internet allows us to make friendships globally. My real life world is colleagues, neighbours, family, old friends and the G.O. Within the online world I have found a new life connected with farmers, writers, ex-pats, and ordinary people with electic interests… and lots of ideas and inspiration.
    I agree with Meeks, in past times when distance and logistics hindered travel, pen pals and their news, perspective and affection via the written were valued so much that the letters were saved, prized and sometimes published. Blogging does all that 🙂

    • You’re spot on Ella. Blogging hasn’t just entertained people. it’s brought them closer together as the old letters used to. We may have less time to spend in the real world because of the technology we have but t’s broadened our horizons and brought so many other people with in reach. I honestly think true friendships can flourish in the ether.
      xx I send you Hugs xx.

  7. I agree wholeheartedly with you, David! Although I may never meet some of these social media friends, the kindred spirit and sympatico feelings I get from them are wonderful. A few of my close friends are writers, but most are not, and so for me, becoming involved in that world has only served to enrich my life considerably.

    • I’ve been very lucky Sarah that over the last couple of years I’ve become involved a lot more with other authors than I expected. That we have so much in common is always a good start but I found that many are fantastic people willing to do anything for each other and some become true friends in every sense of the word. Like you, I feel my life has been enriched. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to all my friends for their comfort and support in difficult times but even more so for remaining with me as things improve too.
      xx Hugs xx

  8. Oh, David, thank you so much. You can be sure the feeling is mutual. I also consider some people I’ve only met online (so far, at least) as friends. I don’t understand why I shouldn’t, just because we are geographically apart… As acflory very well said – we are nothing but modern pen pals! 🙂

    Many hugs from Brazil!

    • Hi Renata, I’m glad you agree with me. I was thinking about pen-pals and remembering those I had at school. There was a huge exchange of information about where we lived and the weather, things we did etc but no real feeling for me or I’d have retained some. I think the interweb has changed everything with the speed of messaging. We can now communicate almost instantly and therefore be aware of things that happen in people’s lives.We can even skype if needs be to comfort people or just listen to problems , things you can’t do by letter.
      Real and deep friendships are being forged across the world and it’s amazing.
      Huge Hugs to you. xxxx

  9. I agree David. Over the past three years, during which I have been blogging, I have met and interacted with a large number of people from different parts of the world, and yes, even some here in New Zealand. I have many friends IRL but these blogging friends are also really important to me. I know that I can count on their support.
    As somebody has already commented these people have taken over from Pen Pals and we share our lives with them. In time, they become as close and special as our erstwhile Pen Pals. I am pleased to count you among my blogging friends/Pen Pals.
    Take care friend and do lean on your friends both in real life and here on the blogosphere. We are with you.:0

    • That’s so kind Judith but I’d hate this to be a one way street. In the time that I have left I’d like to be able to help my friends even if just by lending an ear. We all have problems and go through some rough times, times that it’s not easy to talk to family easily. We’ve created a secondary family of sorts. There are some people with no close family who don’t know who to reach out to. We’re the people to reach out too. Friends who laugh at the distances between us, dipping into each other’s lives for away to be brought near.
      I send massive Hugs to you. xxxx

  10. I agree, you can definitely make friends online. What a wonderful thing the Internet is for being able to bring all those people into our lives, we would never have met otherwise.
    As you said above these friendships are often secondary families. How often do we communicate with our families or the friends who live just around the corner? I don’t speak to them as often as I do you and my other online friends! I look forward to seeing your funny comment on my blog each day, it often keeps me chuckling for ages. Hugs to you. 😀

    • Yes, the internet has managed great magic Metan. It’s cut distance to moments of time and allowed you to speak to friends for free provided they have skype. For all the bad things it allows, which I regret but which I think can be weeded out. it’s done so much good too. Bullied children have been given a voice and help, gay people have been able to speak out against injustices to the whole world instead of a small community.
      A good friend in Australia can pass me a joke about shark swallowing poodles in seconds that can make me laugh all day.A n best of all, If I or anyone is struggling with things, there is always someone to lend an ear and sometimes a solution.
      When Julia died my family were great but it was my friends who allowed me to speak and who rallied with such great support I survived.
      I send you Hugs xx

  11. David, I totally agree with the social friendship idea of being a true friend. You included, of course. I believe internet friendships bring us close to the other person (friend) because communication is the only thing we can do, and we learn so much more about the a person when all we can do is sit and talk, and with that comes friendship, sometimes more. People meet online all the time, fall in love, get married. For sure, social friendship exists.

    • I think not everyone can do it though Mary J as for some people the internet is just a tool. Whether it’s to have a rant, to con someone or just as a means of selling something. You have to be open to friendship in order to receive it and how lucky for me that there are people like you out there. Not just friendly people who are pleasant to all but those who genuinely have an interest in others. Maybe authors are good at it because they have a natural empathy which they use to attract their readers, I don’t know but some of those I know have proved to be true.
      Yes, we’ve heard of marriages and of course some sites are set up just for that. They can succeed if based on truth.I hope they do.
      Huge Hugs to you. xxxx

      • I have to agree with you on this. For whatever reason, there are people who don’t want to get involved with someone else’s issues, or people are not trusting enough, and with that, I must say I’m also careful, but I kind of have a good sense of who people are. I like to believe that anyway. Unfortunately, I’ve had my internet let-downs. That sounds like an oxymoron. 🙂 Hugs back.

      • I suspect we’ve all been there, done that and got the bite marks to prove it. Nonetheless, I still think I’ve chosen the best of everyone as my friends and pity everyone else.
        xxx Hugs galore xxxx

  12. For writers and not talkers, for the introverts among us, for me, I find that connections on the internet are sometime more meaningful in that I can say things that I never could in person. I can think through a response before typing it. Im not so good at extemporaneous talking as my mouth moves a glitch second before my mind realizes what it just said 🙂 Sometimes hilarious, sometimes not so much! While it is true that voice and tone are tough to read, and that non-verbal is as much a part of conversation as talking, I still feel that the ability to SAY things that one would have difficulty saying in person overcomes these obstacles. And anymore with even basic blogging experience can tell a genuine, kind, loving person from the sharks that inhabit the blogging waters pretty quickly. I have had such a rich experience in the 9 months of blogging! I am a different person from the ties I have developed. Blogging is about reaching out, else we wouldn’t be spending our time doing it. So you know that when you read (most) personal posts on wordpress the writer WANTS your input. A great potential for connection before one word is typed.

    • Very true Lori. I think that bloggers in general just want to ‘sell’ their blog but some make a point of sharing the person not just the subject and you can generally tell the warmth of a person from their work. I follow some blogs because their authors are informative on certain subjects, some because they review books and some because they grant an insight into their personal lives. One such has blogged all the way through arrangements for her marriage almost from the engagement sharing intimacy and humour while another has catalogued her almost daily disasters.
      I started off writing a blog for my cat as a way of introducing people to my books by way of a main character but I started a second blog to do Interviews with other authors which became a personal diary in a way and found me many friends. It’s brought me out of a shell I thought I was happy to inhabit and like you gifted me with the experience to tell the genuine from the shark. I know to stop blogging now would leave me bereft of the warmth I’ve experienced from some, but would leave me rich in personal friendships that would continue through mail.
      Hugs to you. xxxx

      • Sorry David, Im having horrible problems with my comments, and I did not see this until now! I agree with every word, and I have my “blog categories” too, although my favs by far are the personal ones. I have always been fascinated by what connects one soul to another, but I think you touched on it–what seems “real” or “genuine” to the reader will touch them, and that is very unique.

      • Beautifully said. xxxx Many Hugs. xxxx

  13. Communication and caring are surely the basis for friendship, and these can be carried out quite well over the internet. So, I agree with you: real friends can be made this way.

    • Thanks Margaret. I’ve been exceptionally lucky but am glad to hear that others have found the same. It’s a case of taking time to get to know people and you have the time to do so when messages move quickly between people. Isn’t it good that the world is full of nice people.
      xx Sending Hugs xx

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