Internet-friends vs. "real"-friends

I’m always kind of amazed when I see how cool it actually is that the internet gives you the opportunity to communicate with people who share your interests from all over the world.

I mean, isn’t it ironic that you can have online-friendships which are based on things you have in common with people, instead of trying hard to let the positive aspects prevail while managing the whole “package” of another person in “real” life (including all the shallow duties of friendliness), but that, on the other hand “the public opinion” is always complaining about the so-called impersonality of internet-relationships?

I know that there are always two sides (addiction, criminality, CO² etc.), and that are millions of thirteen-year-olds out there having a 300-people-msn-list, who use these contacts mainly for “How R U? Check out that picture/violent video on site XY, bye”, BUT:
Isn’t the possibility cool anyway (I know you think it is, otherwise you wouldn’t be here in a forum, blab la), I mean, in which place outside the internet can you find 14- and 40-year-olds equally discussing about a thing such as lucid dreaming?

I also know the advantages of real-life-contacts, maybe everyone should have a few of both :tongue: , but it is philosophically interesting to be the first generation to have access to a parallel reality where it doesn’t count who you “are” (including location, occupation, looks, age, gender, etc., cause you can randomly change that, or leave it away if you want), but who you are… Or, to use an even more melodramatic phrase: It doesn’t count what you are, but who you are…

Your opinions on that?

I don’t know, I’ve never really considered Internet friends to be real, personal friends. Friendship for me goes beyond sharing common interests. It’s part of my strong dislike for the whole MySpace trend of “amass the biggest friends list to prove your popularity”. It’s fake, inauthentic. I’m willing to discuss things honestly with people online, but I don’t use the Internet for friend-making. It just seems pointless to me.

On the other hand, I’m not much of a friend-seeker in real life either. I prefer to be by myself, and so most friendships I form are initiated by other people. It’s not a disorder or fear of anything, but I’ve gotten along just fine like this. I’ve got a few people I know better than others, a few people I would be willing to spend more time with, but very few (if any) people I would consider true, honest friends. Maybe it’s my unwillingness to trust people, I don’t know, but I don’t mind it at all. In fact, I prefer it.

If I had been told in 2002, that I would soon have good friends who live in Poland, Norway, Netherlands and Brazil etc … I would have found it hard to believe. But it’s true.

Just because a friend was made across the internet doesn’t mean it isn’t a full package. And since when has friendiness been a duty? :eh:

Shallow interactions like that can occur in face to face friendships too.

That implies they are shallow one topic interactions.

I believe it is morally wrong to lie about these things, internet users are free to reveal as little or as much as they like but making up false ‘identities’ prevents true friendships from being made.because of the dishonesty involved.

Finally people choose to make shallow, superficial friendships or closer, fuller friendships … and both can occur on-line or in face to face situations. The medium doesn’t limit or define what type of friendship will flourish. Infact i think internet friends are often truer than face to face ones since often it is easier to reveal more in text.

I don’t consider people I meet over the internet to be friends. Acquaintances, perhaps. But I don’t think I can really know someone until I meet them face to face. They might act completely differently online than in real life - nearly all my real friends are like this, in fact (at least, the ones whose blogs I visit). Also, face-to-face interaction is important to me, and body language counts for a great deal. I find it hard to relate to someone I have never seen.

Yea. In internet you’re oftenly in relation with an image, basically.
You create this image of this person you’re talking to. It’s mostly unreal.
But in other aspect, you can see beyond the physical image of a person, what can be very interesting.
So it’s a two edges knife. It will depend on whatever one is looking for. You must know how to use it. Have both friends, virtual and physical ones. You’ll learn a lot.

It is important to see how an assertion of Yes has ripple effects.

Relationships are what you make of them.

Doesn’t matter whether they are online or offline, it is purely dependant on the two parties on whether the relationship is something shallow or a meaningful friendship.

I’ve had some very close friendships online, one of those people I know very well and she knows me better than any offline person. We’ve known each other for 8yrs now and we are extremely close.

That said, the majority of my online “friends” are more acquaintances. There’s very few people I would say I have an interest in being good friends with online, but it is certainly possible when both persons are willing to allow that friendship.

An online friendship requires getting to know a person, how they express themselves in written word and all the little nuances that they use. So some people just don’t bother, they hold at that acquaintance/friend line. But some people have to go through life not being able to see the other person’s body language and have to learn to read people by the little nuances in their voice. Is it really that much different?

I agree with moogle and Mohegan here…
Some of the best support I’ve had has been through the internet for instance.
Internet is just a medium, just like a phone or letters.
To me it doesn’t matter a lot whether or not I conversate with people face to face, or through the internet or any other medium. The way you truly get to know people is through the conversations you have. And words are still words; whether they are spoken or typed.

Sure, the internet makes it easier to create an alter-ego. But if you need an alter-ego to meet people, who are you fooling more? Them? or yourself?
Lies tend to be uncovered eventually anyway… and when they do, it’ll usually make things worse anyway.

What might be true is that there is less ‘social pressure’ to spend time with online friends; mostly because of the distance. If someone lives closeby, they might expect you to spend time with them, which usually means having to go out or something. Whereas with the internet you can just as easily do that while you are half-asleep in your comfy chair at home. Then again, if you regard it as social pressure, there prob is something wrong with the friendship anyway.

Something I can’t understand btw is when people make a distinction between online and ‘IRL’… as if the internet isn’t part of the ‘real life’. The people you meet online are just as real as the ones you meet in the offline life…

Anyway, you don’t always have to keep online friends only online; for example: I first met my fiancee, Siiw, online through ld4all, sealife and chat4all. We grew pretty close together via internet. When we first met face-to-face, there wasn’t really a difference. It already felt comfortable, safe and normal. As if she was a friend I’ve known in the offline life for several years, instead of online.
And the actual relationship was formed several months after that… not face-to-face, but online!

So, it really depends I think on how you (and the persons you meet online of course) look at online friendship and other forms of relationships, and how honest you are of course…

i agree with stormythunder, save a very few, select people.

not that people CANT become good friends over the internet, i just fail to see a huge point in it.

Can’t really tell someone’s tone over text, and it’s easy to lie over the internet and noone would know.

It is definitely possible to make really good friends over the internet.

Ever since i joined the Dark SiDe, I’ve grown really, really close to the other Dark SiDers.

I now count them as the best of friends, even better than a bunch of my real life friends.

I’m not that good at making new friends, and I feel I can never find someone that is close to what I am. With the internet you have “access” to so many more people.

I have a few internet friends and one of them is I consider a great friend. We have much more in common than I have with most of my real world friends. And she doesn’t live that far away, so we just might meet someday.

So I beleive internet friendship can be great, if you are ok with just internet friendship, then ok, but it’s possible to develop a true friendship with an online person and then transform it to real life friendship…


Wow, cool.
Yea, it is really possible this you said.
I’ve seen happen.
Congratulations for this. I feel happy for you to achieve such a thing.

I have several good friends online and I actually do consider them friends. What I consider to be a friend is someone I get along with well and that I enjoy helping if they need my help. And also someone I feel that I can talk to about pretty much anything. For me it doesn’t really matter how long I’ve known them or exactly in what form, it’s more the feeling that I have around them.

The only bad thing about online friends is that it’s easy to “forget” them since you don’t have to physically interact with them. And I do feel that if you get to know someone it’s not that hard to read their tone online if they are honest with what they are feeling. And if they aren’t honest they aren’t probably good friends anyway…

As an ending I just want to say that I have recently found out that I have some really good friends online that have helped me a lot lately…

I can’t get close to someone over the internet. I just find it a horrible medium of communication. Same thing with the phone. I think that if I spent 20 hours talking to one person over the phone, and only 1 or 2 talking to another face-to-face, I’d feel much closer to the second one. Honestly, if they aren’t right there with me, they’re just another image, or electronic signal.

After face-to-face conversation, letters are the best medium for me. Hand-written letters. And the best medium, of course, is music.

i think this depends first on what you call a friend. my sister and i were discussing relationships in general, the other day, and we kind of reached a consensus that we both tend to put people in what could be described as a three-dimentional graph. one axis would be trust, another would be complicity (sharing views, preferences — or even disagreeing in those, but sharing interests etc), and finally there would be lust. any friendship Luísa and i have can be put somewhere in this graph.

lets cut the whole discussion short (Luísa and i weren’t discussing internet friends, actually, but rather different kinds of love: why some relationships burn out, why some last forever in a delicious unstable way while others you can take for granted and even then they don’t seem to burn out or anything). there’s a zone in this graph you will label “friends”. it’s different for different people. usually, we can all agree that friendship (unlike other forms of love) is completely unrelated to lust, but it’s certainly related to trust and complicity. whether it’s all about complicity, or if it’s a good mix of both; whether this “good mix” can be seen as a line or a quare or a dot dispersion in your graph is entirely up to you.

and this is part one: we have different ways of defining friendship. but there’s another important thing: we have different ways of dealing with the internet. i remember Daniel (daylight) saying he doesn’t tend to see internet people as people. he sees opinions, but almost never takes notice of the “whole person with a whole life and feelings and values etc” on the other side of the line. he just doesn’t. Siw, on the other hand, sees not just the people, but even the community. chat rooms have forms which are related to the feel they transmit. the people are all embodied, they have feelings, they react to what you say, they sit next to this or that person and have this way of moving and gesturing.

…clearly Siw is more apt to make friends over the internet (according to her definition of friendship) than Daniel does (according to his). to Daniel, as internet people are hardly people to begin with, making friends over the internet will take, arguably, the time for him to realise an individual as such. while Siw is ever open to take your life in consideration and treat you like a proper human being, rather than an aggregate of opinions coming from a given name. (do notice: that’s not to say one way is better than the other — from where i stand, Daniel has less chances of being frustrated because of some internet issue than Siw does).

some people are neither a Daniel nor a Siw, but rather someone who does consider everyone a person, but also does consider everyone a suspect. so they can hardly trust internet people, and will always be suspicious of complicity with an alias and an avatar. and so on. there are countless ways of dealing with people on the internet, just as there are countless ways of defining what a friend is (some — unlike mine and Luísa’s — might not have anything to do with trust or complicity).

that being said, i think the fact that i call people by their proper names (whenever i know them and am allowed to use them) makes it clear i lean towards a Siw way of life. and i do have contacts over the internet that i do consider to be friends — great friends, even. i don’t like the whole “best friend” deal, because (like love) this is an expression that mixes a lot of different — sometimes incompatible — conceptions. but there are even a couple of senses in which i could say some internet people are best friends of mine, and mean it.

all in all, though, it’s entirely up to you, in these two senses: both what you take a friendship to be, and how you deal with the internet.

internet friends are very wonderful and interesting and the highest function of the internet is to unite people in physical by meeting and then joining in communities

this hasn’t really been happening yet but i think it might soon, close knit soul friends finding one another and going to the land.

its in regards to being a speciliast

you are a sun-yogi
you are a matchbox car nut

how many of you are there? a handful, and they are scattered

its a puzzle game.

I’ve always been VERY skeptical of internet relationships. When I went round my friends house when we were both 13 and she went on msn, she has something like 400 contacts. I asked her where she got them all from, and she said: “Oh, I put my addy on MySpace”…


She doesn’t actually KNOW half these people and I think it’s sickening, especially when she THEN complains that she’s met lots of weirdos, when it’s her own bl**dy fault! She makes problems for herself, and, though I love her to bits, it’s her that gives internet relationships a bad name!

When I joined LD4all, I never thought that I’d make such good friends, to me, friendship is when you can trust a person, and have a good laugh with them. A friend is someone who likes you for who YOU are, not who they think you are, so admittedly, this can be a problem.

However, you can learn a lot about people over a discussion forum. No, I don’t mean like age, location and other meanless things… I mean their personality.

And if you are open about your feelings with this/these person/people…then I don’t see why you cannot truely become good friends.

I never thought that I’d have friends all over the world, let alone on the internet! But I do, I feel as if I’m able to talk to the DarkSiDers about anything, let alone the other forum friends I’ve made here! I trust them, and know that they are there for me. And they really cheer me up at the end of a rough day.

I value their friendship more than that of some other friends I have “IRL”…just because they value me for exactly who I am.

grins I don’t know what I’d do without you guys! :content:

That is something I still find strange to see in public forums and other internet media. Since for me there is a reason that I use a nickname to represent myself, as I don’t want strangers to instantly see what my real name is. And as soon as someone else starts referring to your real name in public posts, then it defeats the whole purpose of using a nickname. But then again, that’s a bit offtopic and we’ve talked about that together before :tongue:

That I completely agree on… the ‘best -’ concept is something that can be frustrating, since it means you put a value on different kinds of friendship… which is something I’ve seen do bad things to bonds between people… Friendship shouldn’t be about competition…

I think internet friends are just as good as RL friends. Actually, maybe even better, because people accept each other better over the internet.

However, the only problem is that if most of your friends are on the internet, you can be subject to some mocking from people who know this fact. Although I do pride myself on having no life.

I agree with what the other Dark SiDers have said here, that the D-SD has turned us into a close group of friends, and we can talk about almost anything. I find myself talking to them more, and RL people less. I just can’t wait until I finally meet some of the D-SD IRL!

*hopes you will not regret meeting me * :ebil:
Ahem …
My mom once said “Stop chatting and start talking with real people” :ohno:
I find this a pity because , altough I know a bunch of people In so called “Real” Live ,
I also very much enjoy talking with persons which are outside of my “horizon” so to say.

Individuals whom I wouldn’t meet otherwise (be that because they kive somewhere else than me , be that because i don’t go places they go), people with different opinions , people with commons interests.

I have gotten to know a number of persons online to which I am now quite close.
Call it friendship or something less , i know them and they know me an that is that .
(maybe i will re-write this post later … or ask it to be deleted if i think its stupid …)