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Online Friendships: An Adventure Meeting a Twitter Friend Offline…

18/11/2010

“Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief.” Joseph Addison

Garden of Friendships: They come in different packages; online, offline, and on all lines

Whether we call them e-friendships, cyber friendships, virtual friendships, internet friendships or online friendships, what is apparent is that the trend won’t go away…. There are even websites like cyberfriends.com created uniquely for building such connections. Nowadays, we meet our friends in all sorts of ways and I love reading or hearing about how others met their cherished friends or spouses.

Why? Because each new friendship story is unique; in a quirky sorta special way. There is usually humor somewhere or the initial exchange that precipitates more exchanges and then a friendship builds… With the explosion of the internet, social media and online dating sites, we have all become exposed to other ways to connect with people and make friends and so an online connection can create an opportunity for a lifelong friendship.

When I read MamaKat’s assignment for this week’s Writers Workshop, I was nicely surprised to see the question about meeting online friends offline. It made me smile and I knew I would write about it on both of my blogs. Sure, we all read terrible tales of people meeting online strangers’ offline, to disastrous outcomes, and I am not advocating we take this up as a personal trend or even a habit. We must still be attentive to our instincts and our gut feelings about the people we connect with online.

This week’s prompt: That one time you met your online friend in real life (was it everything you thought it would be?)

So far, the few friends I’ve met on and offline have been through membership in a community; Twitter, Triiibes, Problogger 31DBBB group and such. Personally, I would not meet strangers without careful review and, in any case, my advice is to keep it social in a public space.

“Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” Albert Camus

Friendships: Mz Rose and one of the cats…

I first met Rose through Problogger’s 31DBBB and then on Twitter. We had interacted on Problogger’s community site during the 31 Day Challenge and chatted about guest blogging. At the time, Rose lived in Chicago and I don’t recall her discussing plans to move to NY; we chatted some more and then drifted off into the horizon. Months later, we reconnected on Twitter and, by this time, Rose had relocated to New York. Our friendship was immediate; we shared a wry sense of humor and an appreciation for the ridiculous…

Rose is a smart, creative and very witty writer/blogger and her enthusiasm for life and adventure is infectious. Once we hit it off, I knew we would stay friends for a long time. I always enjoyed chatting with her, reading her blog and reveling in her perspective on things; her wry observations of human behavior and her sense of humor kept us laughing.

We enjoyed our online conversations so much that I knew sooner or later, we would meet. First, I asked her to participate in my interview series … she obliged. Then, I invited her to be a guest blogger and she jumped right in. We chatted often about things to do and places to visit in New York and one day, we both realized we should meet at one of the places we chatted about. We agreed to meet for lunch at Blue Bell Café; a well regarded restaurant in the Gramercy Park area of Manhattan.
“A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.” Leo Buscaglia
The day arrived faster than I knew it and soon I was at Blue Bell Café staring at Rose and Annie; another writer friend I met on Twitter. We were both relieved that there were no surprises as we were, how do you say it, “as described!” I don’t remember who saw whom first but we had a good laugh once we connected and we agreed that we looked exactly as we did online… as you know, that tends to be the problem with people meeting offline from certain sites. 🙂

Rose was exactly the way I imagined her and our meeting confirmed to me that we can make amazingly great connections with people online… We enjoyed our lunch and had a great time getting to know each other’s personal stories a bit better. We agreed to meet again and do something in the City. A few months later, we met again for lunch at a Thai restaurant near John Jay College and our friendship has grown.

Rose is fun in person and a great story teller; I look forward to more outings in the City that never sleeps. All in all, it was a blast to connect offline and I would do it again. Meeting online friends’ offline can be fun if you connect in a safe environment and have gotten to know each other from conversations, projects or collaborations you’ve both had online. I would recommend meeting in public and maintaining a clear, respectful exchange…
Have you ever met an online friend offline? What was your experience like? Do share.
My Positive Motivation Tip: Maintain a spirit of adventure and curiosity; it will keep your mind flexible and your body young. 🙂

PHOTO CREDITS:
Garden of Friendship Rose via Mubina H/Flickr
Photo of Rose courtesy of her collection

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. 18/11/2010 4:59 pm

    I love reading great stories like this one! It’s nice to make new friends no matter how we meet!

    Hopping over from Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

    Like

    • 19/11/2010 5:31 pm

      TY for the hop as your visit is appreciated…
      Thank you for stopping by and leaving me a comment…
      Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂
      Elizabeth

      Like

  2. 18/11/2010 5:28 pm

    What a nice post about a good friend. I am always leery of meeting people from cyperspace. The few times I have it’s been just fine, but I still go into them with my guard up.

    Enjoying reading your blogs.

    Stopped by from mama kat’s

    Like

    • 19/11/2010 5:29 pm

      Hi Kim,
      I feel the same way too. We have to be careful with meeting folk via cyberspace.
      Thank you for stopping by and leaving me a comment…
      Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂
      Elizabeth

      Like

  3. richard permalink
    19/11/2010 1:40 am

    nice to meet new people and actually start a friendship.. glad that you’re online connecting turned into face to face…hard to develop new friendships as we get “older”

    Like

    • 19/11/2010 5:42 pm

      So true… friends are golden and hard to make as we get more settled….
      Elizabeth

      Like

  4. Bree permalink
    19/11/2010 2:44 am

    What a charming story as Rose does look like a fun gal to know.
    I wonder about what it’s like to connect offline with people and should try it sometime. The media is full of the not so great meet ups.
    Wonderful story! 🙂

    Like

    • 19/11/2010 5:41 pm

      Rose is a very witty lady… I loved connecting with her offline.
      Elizabeth

      Like

  5. 19/11/2010 6:52 pm

    since i’m homeschooled, i made most of my friends online. i even got to meet some of them, it was awesome. without internet i would be a lonely soul! i think if everyone is careful enough, they’ll find really great people online, like Rose and you (and me, haha).

    Like

    • 20/11/2010 3:51 pm

      Good for you that you have made some good connections.
      Sure, with some care we’d all make some great friends. 🙂
      Thank you for stopping by and leaving me a comment…
      Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂
      Elizabeth

      Like

  6. 20/11/2010 3:48 am

    I have so many blog and twitter friends I’d like to meet someday. Great story!

    I’m visiting from SITS. I hope you enjoyed your special day.

    Like

    • 20/11/2010 3:49 pm

      It should be fun for you to connect too…perhaps you can even have an online friends party 🙂
      Thank you for stopping by and leaving me a comment…
      Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂
      Elizabeth

      Like

  7. 21/11/2010 4:31 am

    How wonderful! I have learned the value of friendship through the denial of it. How precious our connections are and how evil it is to interfere in another person’s support system. May your friendships and connections continue to grow and support you!

    Like

    • 21/11/2010 11:51 am

      Thank you CD, I value my friendships very much as they have sustained me through thick and thin… I love making new friends but I never forget my longstanding ones… Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
      E

      Like

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