Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Online Friendships: What makes them so invaluable?

My friend Carolyn and I were IMing on Yahoo last week and she told me about a comment she posted on someone elses blog about our friendship. She also mentioned to me that she was going to blog on her own blog on Monday to watch for it. So now it's my turn to blog about the subject :).

I've had some frienships come and go, both online and real life frienships. I've got one friend who I met while Role Playing soap operas (something I have not done in YEARS). She and I have been friends for about 10 yrs. And have lived somewhat similar lives. I tell her just about everything, there are somethings I don't tell her but most of the time I do tell her.

I have another friend who I met online and then met in person. I was going through a rough time in my life, and realized I needed to lose weight, so I joined TWO weightloss sites. One of them no longer exsists, well the site does but the forums don't (Carolyn, correct me if I'm wrong). Tiffany I met on the slimfast site. We emailed every day and she was helping me through some personal things and when it came to Christmas cards she asked for my address, so she could send me a card. I sent it to her and asked for hers, and she sent it to me and then I got her phone numbers with "in case you need them" which I did. My grandmother had been pretty sick and did pass away shortly after Tiffany sent me her numbers. So I called her, and let her know. We had to have two memorial services for my grandmother one here in Wisconsin, the other in Florida to lay her ashes to rest. I was able to meet Tiffany the day after Christmas. We had a fabulous time. Our friendship has only grown stronger since 2003.

My other online friendship with Carolyn is similar, but haven't met her, YET, although who knows if the opportunity to meet will present itself. Carolyn and I have been friends for close to 10 yrs, I started somersizing in 2001, but then with the health of aforementioned grandmother I was really stressed out, and fell off the "wagon". In 2003, after dealing with my grandmother's death I revisited the somersize site and somehow started communicating with Carolyn more regularly. I knew of her in 2001 through the chats we'd had with other members, but then when I came back to the site something changed. We became co-leaders for the somersizing board on ivillage.com. I was asking carolyn to put in a word for me to help co-lead another board when she asked if I would be interested in helping her with the somersize board, so of course I jumped at the chance. When she told me and the Community Moderator that her husband was being transferred to London, I was crushed. Don't get me wrong, I was happy for her, but I felt like I was losing a part of something. I never told Carolyn how crushed it made me though (well til I posted on her blog earlier today). It didn't change our friendship in anyway, she was just SEVERAL hours away. We would send emails and catch up through IMs and on the board, but like I said, I felt like I lost something. When she said she was coming back to the US I was estatic, probably because she was just an hour ahead of me instead of the said several before.

Are Sarah and Carolyn's friendships any different to me than my frienship with Tiffany, ABSOLUTELY NOT! Just because I haven't met them does not mean that they are any less of a friend than she is. I may get to talk to Tiffany a bit more because I can call her or say "hey I want to come visit", but I know that Sarah and Carolyn have my back when something in my life goes crazy. Carolyn and I have daughters that are close in age, actually about a year apart, so if I'm going through something with my daughter I know I can always ask her what to expect. But that hasn't happened lately. I may not be able to call her up and ask if I can come over to just talk but I know that I can leave her an email or send her an IM and know that she'll respond.

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