July 17, 2009

You Gotta Have Friends

Photo: Loldogs

So as I've mentioned before, this week I've been taking time off from "normal" health blogging. (Which is why I've been throwing any old crap up here instead of health and fitness posts). Fortunately, clever and funny readers have come to the rescue with great observations about sucky jobs and manipulative pets! And again, thank goodness for Merry Sunshine on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

So why the blog-slacking? Well, it's because we have two sets of very good friends in town, as well as the Lobster's mom. Since some of these folks have traveled thousands of miles to be here, and they are all extremely fun to hang with, it seems a little silly for me to say "you guys go on without me, I have to blog." Most people are not all that familiar with the verb "to blog" anyway, and probably think I'm referring to some sort medical condition that requires me to gargle repeatedly or flush out my sinuses with saline or who knows what.

Yet the result is that by spending time with friends who are physically present, I'm missing my Internet Friends! I'm way behind on blog visits, and emails, and I hate being so lame. I'm one of those people who considers friendships with people I only know through pixels on a computer screen to be just as "real" as my friendships with physically-present people. You aren't all imaginary, are you? Please tell me you aren't!

My internet friendships have, over time, become an important part of my social network. There are too many to list them all, but, for example, I am absolutely certain I would not still be blogging without the behind-the-scenes support of Merry and Carla and Charlotte and the Bag Lady and POD and Dr. J. and Leah and Katieo. And I feel like I know so many of the people who regularly comment here! I wonder how people are doing with their new homes or lost jobs or gluten-free diets or medical recoveries or marathon training or Dorito cravings.

But sometimes it feels weird to admit this in the "real world." Anyone else? Like if you're talking to people "in real life," do you ever hesitate to bring up a story about a blog friend, even if it's totally relevant and hilarious, because you're afraid people will think you're socially retarded and don't get out enough? Plus, there's the name thing. "Oh, the exact same thing happened to this woman I know, the Bag Lady..."

Am I just weird, or do other people feel that online relationships are "real" and important too?

Oh, and speaking of "friends," I have to pass on this Sarah Haskins video, "Ladyfriends." Let the Madison Avenue folks show us women what our friendships are supposed to be about: products!


  1. Thanks for the kindness/shoutout.
    My online friends are as important as anything in RL. Further, I have more onliners than RLs anyway. Yeah I talk about my blog buddies. You're all I've got!
    You are still weird, Crabby. Don't let anyone tell you that you're not. I hope that's reassuring. You sounded like you needed it.

  2. Yes, online friends are just as important. There are some I trust enough that they have my real name and address, some I have met.

    Online life is for real, and I miss it when I can't get to the computer as much as I want.

  3. Online friends are very important, because they don't know the stupid stuff you do in real-life unless you choose to tell it, and then it's always from your point of view with a humorous spin.

  4. I have found that the people I have met through WW boards and blogging understand me more than my IRL friends.

    Although, I have met a lot of them in my area and had many come into town too, so they've become IRL friends.

    It's amazing how stringing a few sentences together can build you friendships.

  5. My RL BF and I follow mutual online friends and talk about them as if they were RL friends. Like "did you see the pictures of her baby? So adorabe!" or "she reached the 50 lb mark, how awesome is that?!?".

    I don't mind talking about my blogging friends to my RL friends or family. If they think that makes me weird or if they judge me for it so be it. I have enough love to go around!

  6. I know it sounds weird, but online relationships are real, and can sometimes offer support that our RL friends aren't able to.

  7. I think real life friends that do not have online relationships whether it be through blogging or message boards don't understand it so I try not to talk about it because they look at me like I'm some weirdo. But those that I do know blog etc. Like my friend Wendie at Wellhonestlynow.com we are friends in real life and met through Ivillage message boards so I know she gets it.

  8. Blog friendships are very real. I have blog friends who I exchange gifts with, who I talk to on the phone, and who I've gone on to meet IRL. Recently a bunch of us in the bunny blogosphere rallied around a fellow bunny-owner who was having trouble paying for veterinary care. We chipped in to help her buy the medicine her bunny needed to get well.

    I've made some strong connections with people online, exchanging emails, sharing confidences, helping and advising each other in tough times and cheering each others' success. Just because we're not sitting in the same room doesn't mean we're not friends. People used to treat pen-pal friendships as real friendships, too, so it's really only the medium that has changed.

  9. I'm convinced that all these blog personalities and comments are created by Google. I doubt 90% of you really exist. But to the 10% or so that do, I love you.

  10. OK, cue the Twilight Zone music. I blogged about this very topic yesterday.

    My virtual buddies are very important to me!

  11. Nobody in my real life understands the connection I have to my online friends! They're the ones missing out though!

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  13. I have made genuine, true friends through my online relationships. Folks I've met through the blogosphere and through an online radio station forum I've grown to know and love, have become very close friends IRL. In fact, I can say with confidence that I can travel to just about any city in the US, and KNOW that, with a quick message or a phone call, I can have friends to share dinner or even a place to stay.

    They have become confidantes, business colleagues, and in one case, family members through marriage.

    Why does it work? Because online, we have to get to know each other from the inside out. We understand each other's words and thoughts before we know their jobs, or looks, or socioeconomic status or even their names. We develop a sense of individual regard that is often impossible in today's real-life social settings.

    When we were kids, we called them Pen Pals, and we had perhaps two or three in the space of ten years. Now we call them Online Friends and they connect us to the world in a way we never thought possible before

  14. Like the one meme says, I love my computer because all of my friends live there.

    I've met and maintained lasting friendships on the internets. Reality is relative.

    It is weird how internet relationships do play out in real life. Just yesterday, I was taking home a rubber chicken that I got in the mail from Tricia (Fight Fat Phobia). I showed it to another attorney in the elevator and bullshitted him by asking, "Say, has your client ever sent you a rubber chicken in the mail before? Should I be concerned?" The look on his face and lasting impression was priceless.

  15. My online friends make up a whole universe! And my RL friends know it -though they question the closeness of these friends.

    The best ever, though? is when online friends become RL friends! They "get you" so much faster because they already know you.

    Like a lot of others, I'm fairly isolated IRL. Without my online friends, I'd die of loneliness - and those online would be first to notice I'm missing.


  16. I feel the same!! Your support and encouragement was such an important factor for me.

    Thank you so much, Crabby!!

  17. The hardest part is when you're just a blog stalker -- er, I mean follower -- who rarely comments, but you still feel as if the blogger is your friend because you know the most personal details of their life. I've found myself telling RL friends about "this person I know" when I don't really know that person at all!

  18. friends are of the heart and spirit.. be it virtual or standing right in front of you

    happy trails

  19. Ahaha giggling away. I frequently refer to my blogging friends in conversation. I usually leave out the part about them being a BLOGGING friend, though, because that sort of thing tends to get odd looks.

    But it's really funny when I'll be spending time with my mum and she'll say something like, "I was reading your blog, and so-and-so left the funniest comment...". You know you spend too much time in the blogging world when your family knows the "names" of your blogging friends ;)

  20. Im with merry.
    what IS this (fingerquote) reality (unFQ) of which you speak?!

  21. I have caught myself SO many times about to relate a story from an online friend to someone in RL and always stop - I guess I think they'll think it's weird; like I can't function interpersonally unless a keyboard is involved. Anyway, it's not like I'm hiding some big dark secret like a booze/gambling/drug/sex-for-shoes addiction so what's the harm? I just like keeping this to myself.

    In terms of losing weight, I've gotten lots more inspiration and motivation from my online buddies than I ever have in RL. People here seem less judgmental-or it seems that way to me. We're here for each other practically every day and that is a very rare thing but something I always look forward to. Merry nailed it: reality IS overrated.

  22. How funny, I was just thinking today about how many people have checked on my after my surgery - and most of them have been my interwebs peeps! It's a different world nowadays, and I like having blog-friends.

    P.S. That video is hilarious! "Check out these awesome granny panties" had me rolling and holding my stomach at the same time - hurts to laugh!!!

  23. That's funny...I mean, the stuff going around in my head right this moment.
    Ah, now...can't you just tell these "important visitors" that you have to go the bathroom? And then be in the bathroom for awhile?

    I feel similar to the other commentors -- that the support I gain from reading other folks blogs is very helpful. I have also had some bad things come out of online "relationships." So I kind of watch it. But the blogging environment seems supportive and genuine for the most part.
    Thanks for that PODDY plug!
    word verification is squati (rhymes with PODDY)

  24. Oh but of course. I've made several online-to-real life friendships and for every one of those, there are several more with whom I feel some significant connection. It's just as real as any other friendship.. and in many cases better. Plus.. we all understand when you need to spend time with people in the flesh. It's not always the reverse. Do enjoy! :)

  25. Friends rule....period. Who cares where they come from! :)

  26. Well, I talk a lot about the online friends & blogs with not only my "real life" friends but my hubby. Sometimes I get some weird looks but I don't care! I get lots of comfort, support & great advice from the online community... and not to mention THE HUMOR!!!! Some of you are too damn funny! That means you, Crabby & Merry & Yum Yucky! On top of that, some real intellectuals out there that are expanding my tiny brain!!! :-) Only prob, don't get a lot of housework done!

  27. Crabby - you nailed it with this post! My online friends are just as important (sometimes MORE important) as my real life friends. Blogging has helped me hang on to the tiny shreds of sanity I have left....

    Thanks so much for the mention! Tickled me pink.

  28. I never felt that online friendship mattered until I started blogging and found so many of the ones mentioned here or commenting here. As long as I have an internet connection, I never have to worry about being alone. that is very comforting.

  29. Oh I would just shivel up and DIE without my bloggy friends!! I just blogged about how lonely I get IRL and the only support I have is online. I just really wish I had someone to sit and have tea with or take a walk with or get a hug from, too.

  30. ".. even if it's totally relevant and hilarious, because you're afraid people will think you're socially retarded and don't get out enough?"

    YES. Then again I AM socially retarded and DON'T get out enough.

    And YES on the name thing, too.

    That video was hilarious.

    Have fun with your friends. I love hearing that bloggers occasionally spend time in the real world. It makes me happy. (or less guilty for not commenting more.)

  31. You are a GEEK... and so you should be proud!

    For the lack of a better word and because I feel lazy... some of the "super awesomest" business deals I've made over the past few months have been with dudes and dudeets that I've never met face to face.

    Times have changed, people have changed, and it's about time for everyone to start feeling OK for missing those whacky loonballs who know so well... yet are represented by a bunch of pixels.

  32. There are some people on-line that I just adore... although only a few have communicated enough to feel like "friends". People who comment back, or visit back, well, that's just a gift!

    I'm really appreciative of my virtual friends. Sometimes a note just makes my day. And, what Amy said... when talking about "this person I know" -- I find myself saying that so often, and then the conversation goes off in this really weird funny direction if I have to explain more!

    Your blog is great, and I really feel like your personality shines through. It makes it easy to feel like I "know" you.

    Speaking of virtual/real, are you by any chance going to BlogHer?

  33. To my hubby I say all the time "my online buddy...", but to others I just say "this friend had...". I talk about y'all all the time! I've been able to be more real and to the point than I have with most face to face people.

  34. I feel like I know my blogging friends so well. And miss you when you're gone for even a few days. Thanks for taking the time to stay in touch.


  35. LOL, I love this post. I comment occasionally but I'm mostly a "stalker" and my boyfriend gives me shit because I'll say.....so and so that I know....and I totally do the thing like PQ, or yoga girl, or whatever. He says "is this someone you really know?" Um, ....I think so :)

  36. I have made some long term friends (I agree, it's like having pen pals for years only updated) from various online venues. Some were originally customers on eBay, some I have been their customer, some are from shared interest forums. Some have left me crushed and heartbroken and some have supported me with awesome wisdom and kindness through rough times.

    As I have gotten older I have lost many RL friends to distance or death, so any friend, online or IRL is precious.

    The bloggers I read regularly, while maybe not actually friends so much, are still people I care about what happens to! Many have posted stuff that has helped me a lot in dealing with life in general. I appreciate them tremendously. The ones who "talk" with me warm my heart.

  37. I so love the comments on this post! I'm glad I'm not alone in feeling like the people I meet online are indeed "real" and important to me!

    And I can't tell you how many times I've repeated funny stories or observations I've read in the comments here to my friends "IRL." Though sometimes I just a say "a friend of mine" rather than go into details about it being a blog-friend.

    Oh, and expateek: I so WISH I were going to Blogher, but alas, I didn't get my act together to sign up until after it sold out. Maybe next year!

  38. He he, everyone already thinks I'm crazy in the 'real world' so I talk about you guys all the time. Plus it's a wonderful feeling to be able to share stuff in bloggy land that I would be too ashamed to talk about in RL and have so much support and understanding. Thanks everyone!

  39. I was *just* ... never mind.

    "Most people are not all that familiar with the verb "to blog" anyway"

    What cool normal people are *you* all hanging out with? I would like to meet them.

  40. I can also relate! I mention my "blogging friends" all the time and I know some people think I need to get out more. (which I do, but for different reasons!)

    I feel bloggy friendships are almost more real than IRL friends. Online, it's easier for me to be myself without feeling like I'm being judged for my looks or the size of my house, etc. (this goes on a lot in my area).

    sometimes I wish that more of my online friends lived near me than the people who actually do! :)

  41. I love my online friends. No matter how much my hubby makes fun of me for it. It's a great way to connect with people in other parts of the world who share our interests!

    I also feel horribly guilty when I go 3 or 4 days without "checking in". Like this last weekend.

  42. i say online friends can be just as important ... but partly because many of the people i've met online have become very good acquaintances (or friends) in real life.

    this isn't so true for me in the blogging world, but off an old college hockey forum i used to post on i've made tons of friends/acquaintances.

  43. Crabby, Merry... I wub you! I wub a bunch of my fellow Crankyites too! :)

    online friends have given me some seriously helpful support over the years. one helped me fight undiagnosed depression in high school.. and i've met a few, but never really clicked IRL like we did online oddly enough.

    Since getting married and fighting infertility i found a few wonderful, supportive, sympathetic, understanding, beautiful people who were in the same situation... phenominally helpful when no one in my "real life" ever had to go thru the anguish of getting a Big Fat Negative every month more than 3 times, let alone the 16 we did. one of my online friends was the first to know i was pregnant - i called her at (7am my time) 4am CA time so she could look at the pic i posted!

    I must be socially retarded, because i like chatting and talking with people (from RL or online) online WAY better than on the phone!

  44. The reason I'm commenting on this week+ old post is because I just got back from running a half-marathon...with a blog friend! We met in real life for the first time two days before the race. When we told people this at the pre-race pasta dinner I thought they were think we were weird. Instead, they were all impressed and amazed and told us how neat that was. So, long comment short: I love my blog friends and don't hesitate to talk about them.


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