on friendship

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

As I sit here at my desk and type this, I am pondering friendship. Reading extranjera's post on friendship in the real world (as opposed to this internet world) has kinda firmed up what I have been thinking about for some weeks now.

In some ways, internet friendship is like falling in love. There is all of this hurried, harried wanting to talk. Late nights on the internet chatting back and forth, making plans, wishing for closeness so there can be visits, etc. Sometimes those visits come to fruition. Last year, I spent a day with the wonderful Jessie of The Lucky Stone. It was fabulous and wonderful and marvelous. There was shopping and eating and general fun. We had a good time. I would say we are friends. She lives 3 hours away from me in a town I rarely visit, so it isn't really possible for me to visit her much. She is a cool chick, and we still chat a little, but it is almost like after we met in real life, something happened and we got busy and that newness/chattiness wore off. Or maybe I am just a doof and she figured it out for real when we met! :)

In other ways, internet friendship is like junior-high school friendship. We try to make friends with the "popular" people. We try to be in all the right places doing all the right things on the off-chance that those cool people might take notice of us. We use ideas and language and that is similar to theirs so we can be seen as part of the group. As with junior-high friendship, this is often short-lived. I find myself following these people, and then for the sheer volume of folks who follow (because they should as it's "the" thing to do) I take the blog off my reader. For me, there is something wrong about being a part of the group just to be part of the group (does that make sense?). Most of the time I realize that that isn't me, and I am not interested in following just because everyone else does. I need a connection, a personal reason for following. This is the same reason I don't love memes and serial posts that all of the others are doing. I find it interesting to read, but not original. And not for me.

Then there is the deep, meaningful kind of friendship that can develop over time. By reading and learning all about someones life, and their family and career, you start to feel a connection to this person. You start to chat with them and make other friends with their friends, but it is that person who you get to know. You talk about your past. You talk about your marriage, and your children. You talk about things that aren't just superficial. These kinds of friendships take time to develop. Many times years to develop. There is often not a rushed feeling to the relationship. These friendships happen when there is time, and in between the cracks and other events in our lives.

I am so lucky to have recently found myself in one of these meaningful (non-internet) friendships. My dear friend and most-of-the-time-when-we-are-both-in-town exercise partner is all of these. I find myself missing talking with her when one of us is out of town traveling. I really miss it when she isn't here to push me to exercise. She is the reason I ran the 1/2 marathon and why I signed up for the triathlon. I love her and am so glad to have found her.

But I digress...As I think back, each of these kinds of friendships is important and needed. We need new love, we need to be noticed by the popular people, but we also (and for me, most importantly) need to open ourselves up and be willing to get hurt while making new, REAL friends. Those friends who will be with you thru thick and thin. Friends who will finish your sentences and will fill your wine glass. We need those friends who will cry with us and push us to be better. My experience has been and continues to be that this happens best in real life...the real world, and down the street...not on the web.


3 Responses to “on friendship”
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I think for me personally, a lot of my close "internet friendships" - you, obviously included - began to wane when I got a heavier workload and more hours at work.

I'm rarely ever on gmail, if just to check and see if I have anything besides sale notices and library due date reminders. That doesn't mean I don't read your posts anymore! Nor does it mean that I wouldn't want to hang out the next time you come to town!!!

I love the blogging world, but sometimes it does get hard to maintain. Every since my life flipped upside down and with the start of marathon training I have trouble keeping up every now and then.

I love my real world friends, but sadly they have all moved away and it's not easy to make friends after you get older and have kids...hence my love of my internet friends.