Monday, July 25, 2011

Long Distance Runaround

You probably thought I was never coming back. You really didn't think I'd desert you forever, did you? Actually, I could go a little longer without writing (it's been a nice break), but my nephew said he needed something to read. Far be it from me to deprive him of his literary pursuit.

Truth is, I've been sort of on vacation. My friend Jessica was out here visiting for two weeks and we had a great time hanging around together. We did a bunch of eating, we wandered around some, we made some art, and we did a great deal of nothing. Both of us are unaccustomed to doing nothing, so it was actually pretty taxing. Watching movies all day long can be incredibly tiring.

One of the more fun things we did was taking a road trip to Yakima (well, that in itself is no joy ride) to meet up with two other online friends from a group that we're all in. That's a day and a half that will go on my own personal Days To Remember List as Most Fun Ever.

The thing is, until Jessica's trip out here, we had never met "in real life." Until our trip to Yakima, neither of us had met the other two "in real life." I put "in real life" in quotes, because in this marvelous age of electronics, what's real life anyway? Is a friendship that spans seven years online any less of a friendship? I submit no. From the moment Jessica got out of Steve's truck after he picked her up at the airport, we were comfortable and just as close as if we'd been meeting for coffee once a week for the past few years. There was no awkwardness, no feeling of "Oh crap... so that's what you're really like." Part of that is because we are both as real online as we are "in real life." But I also think that a lot of it is because there is a real connection there - and a real connection doesn't care how the connection is made. It just is.

The same was true of the big meet up in Yakima. The four of us hugged and began laughing from the very first moment. There was no distance, no sideways glances from any of us wondering if the others were just as accepting of the friendships. We had a blast. We had a blast and it was over with far too soon. I kept thinking, "Dammit. I want to hang around with these people every single day!" And I do. Online.

There's where the difference is. I don't get to hear their laughter. I don't get to see their eyes light up with humor or tear up when their hearts get tugged. I don't get to make goofy faces at them. We don't get to hug. That's the hardest part, because those are some damned fine hugs. But other than basic physical stuff, the heart of it is as real as it gets.

I've heard other people malign online relationships, claiming they're not real. Over the years I've had the pleasure of meeting quite a few online friends. When I tell others about such events, I often get a response of "Wow. Really?! Isn't that awkward?" Not at all. Granted there are some iffy people out there, but aren't there some iffy people "in real life" too? Who among us hasn't stumbled across someone "in real life" who later on turned out to be less than a friend? The trick in any walk you take with someone else is the old adage that, to have a friend you have to be a friend.

Friendships of any kind, no matter the distance, are about being there for the other person, are about making the other person's day or world a little brighter, a little better. When it all comes down, isn't that's what's real?

4 comments:

  1. A change of pace is good and needed every now and then. Sounds like a wonderful opportunity that you had and one that I'd enjoy someday. It would be kind of nice to have a "Real Life" convention someday where we could meet a bunch of the online community to see what they're really like--of course even then we don't know what people are really like.


    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  2. This is so cool! I totally agree with you, Barb. Some of the women I have met since I have started blogging are friends in ways that my local friends are not. My blogging friends have read my soul in the words I write. We connect at a deeper level through the words that we share.

    I am so glad you have had some time to laugh and enjoy life with friends who are as real as they come.

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  3. Love your post Barb and I quite agree that a true friendship is to do with honesty and commitment from all concerned. Treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself whether in an on-line or 'real-life' relationship and you can't really go wrong. Great to see you back!

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