Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cyber Friends

Recently one of my Facebook friends wrote

"I love sitting in my living room on a gray, rainy day reading FB and feeling like my friends and relatives are near and knowing a little bit of what they are up to. I know it's a counterfeit form of intimacy, but it beats only seeing y'all at reunions and funerals!"

That got my attention.

This friend was, for years, My Best Friend. And then life scattered us willy-nilly. We've reconnected through Facebook.

Is cyber friendship real? I had thought about this before. I have made lifetime friends on an Internet group called Whippet World. I have gotten to know people through their blogs, and through their comments on this blog. I care about these folks. I miss them when I'm not able to communicate in cyberland. (Too much of that going around lately!)

I think I get to know the hearts of these online friends. Their very center. I've revealed things about myself on my own blog that would be nearly impossible to talk about in real life, except with my husband or My Best Friend. And I have stared at my computer, covering my mouth to hold in a sob as I read of a bad diagnosis received by a wonderful man in another country. Oh no, oh no, oh no. I have leaked tears all over one of my worried dogs when I read that someone I've never met has lost a pet. I'm so very, very sorry, I write. I will hold you in my heart.

There is time to sit, to reflect, and to delete. We can distill.

Of course, we all know that anonymity of cyberspace also brings out the very ugliest of human conversation. Which is I guess the dark side of all this good.

Because I think it is good that whole communities are out there, being present to each other. Showing that they care. Listening. Pouring out their hearts and allowing me to care. Making me smile and laugh. Sitting alone in my little sewing/computer room laughing so hard that I have to get up and pee.

I imagine pen pals of the 1800's. Distant cousins, or long-separated acquaintances. Casual friendships which deepened. Sharing intimacies in their letters, which were shared with none of their real friends.

I think it all comes down to the power of the written word. And our power to care.

So let me quote my wise friend again.

"I love sitting in my living room on a gray, rainy day reading FB and feeling like my friends and relatives are near and knowing a little bit of what they are up to."

Me too.

hug your hounds and your Internet friends


  1. We love our cyberfriends too!
    We don't know them in pawson but we feel what they are feeling too!
    We don't have lots of friends here where we live but the ones we have met through our blog are the best!
    Kisses and hugs
    Lorenza and mom

  2. I love your comment about friends of the 1800s. I found post cards that my grandmother had sent for a penny each, with more news, written in the tiniest script you can imagine, all over that card (in the early 1900s)! Women have yearned to be in touch over the years and will find a way to do it.

    Email is just another way. If we didn't have that we'd do something else.



  3. My very closest friends have been people I met or have gotten to know through the Internet: email, communities like Whippet World or Facebook, chat programs that let you say intimate things about yourself that you would be too shy to say to a face-to-face friend. I don't think it is counterfeit, just different.

    Cyber hugs all of them, you included.

  4. P, Wonderful blog. As I expected, I'm reconsidering. Thank you. And you're still a BFF in my book. :-)

  5. Very well written, P! As usual ;) I have gotten wonderful friends, a free stay in NYC and two beautiful purring kitties from my adventures online and I love it. Plain and simple. The Internet can be used for lots of things (not all good), but when used to create friendship it's at its very best.


  6. Thank you. Once again I find affirmation and confirmation of my own feelings in your blog. For me, the internet is another "community." One where distance is irrelevant and first impressions are formed from words, thoughts and feelings.


  7. Well put, Patience. I rather be your FB friend, find out what Mr. Bill is doing, what the whippets have dug up, how much poop you had to pick up this morning, how many hours you worked this week, play the occasional Lexolus game... than not be your friend at all. Love, Aynex

  8. I hear you,Patience. After almost three years in the blogosphere, I am so attached to the friends I've made from all over. I want their lives to go well--find work, not be laid off, get well, get along. I want to hear about their animal families--the antics, worries and joys of living with them. I am interested in what they are thinking. My blog give me a chance to write about things that I'd never inflict on friends in conversation. And when people read and comment it just warms my heart. Let's hear it for virtual friendships!

  9. We definitely care about our Internet friends and feel like we know them. I mean, we cry for them and laugh with them so that is definitely a friendship to us. Of course we would be BETTER friends if you could come over with some snacks... ;)

  10. Thanks everyone. Now I'm going to disappear. My "part time" job is in over drive. I work 4.5 hours tonight, then the next three days are three 12's in a row.

    I'll miss you all!!!


  11. Hubby John (not a blogger kind of guy) and I discussed whether the word "community" applied to blogger friends. We decided that it does, and I really value this tremendously.

    Ohhh, I hope you have time to put your feet up over the next few days. Take care of yourself. We all really do care.

  12. Not sure what I would have done without my cyber friends while sick over the holidays. I couldn't get home to see my family, but all my cyber friends were there for me. It's a good thing. :0)


  13. Dear P, you said it well. Many of us have discussed some of the ribbing we have taken in calling our co bloggers 'friends.' All those that said that have small children and are in and out and never have time to sit down for a conversation. Take care of yourself and don't bog yourself down. I care about you.

  14. A whole world has opened up for many of us. We get to know friends we would never have met.I think these friendships are heart certainly says so, and when I've been lucky enough to meet one of my cyber friends in person, I've always been proven right.
    I wish I had your fluency and way with words, but I hope my feeling come through my awkward writing

    We'll be here when you have time

    Asta sends smoochie kisses to all the waggle and says to tell Sweed Will Yum that the south of Fwance wif snow is exackly like his homeland


  15. Beautifully put, Patience. (As always!)

  16. Well said Patience I feel that way about WW also. It's the only place I have that I can pour my heart out about my beloved dogs and also tell all the funny things about having a bazillion dogs in my home. I so enjoy your blogs.

  17. I love knowing that you are there.


Love your comments! Love them we do. Don't be bashful! Thank you for visiting :-)