Friday, July 31, 2009

Do you want to be friends? Circle Yes or Yes.

Uh, I should be editing the last fifteen pages of my manuscript right now, so I decided to do a blog post instead.

I don't care for editing. Even though I'm SO CLOSE. Okay, I'll make this a fast blog post then. The sooner I edit, the sooner I get my writing chocolate.

Anyway, Kimberly at
Temporary? Insanity put up an interesting post today where the last line finishes something like, "Reality never was found in front of a computer monitor."


I kind of wonder.

Barring one, my dearest friendships are the ones I have through blogland right now. Is that sad? Or artificial?

I guess it could be considered pathetic that my closest connections are with people I don't really know, but it's the truth. As much as I enjoy my ward, and participate in just about every activity it offers, I haven't had a bonding experience with these women like I have with many of my blog friends. We connect socially, enjoy movies or frozen yogurt together, and I think they like me well enough. But there's no mental connection, or even very many shared interests. It took me almost 18 months to figure out why and the reasons are varied and mundane but the main thing I needed to figure out is: there's nothing wrong with me. It's gotten me to a place where I go to activities when I'm invited but I don't stress when I'm not, which I did all the time before. The truth is, if I was hosting a dinner party for some of my favorite blog friends, I wouldn't invite any of my social/ward friends. It's just not a great match. My friends in my ward are friends of circumstance where my blog friends are friends of choice.

Um, I kind of think that's better.

Is it less or more real? Hm.

Well, none of you guys can watch my kids for me while I run to the doctor, or bring me brownies if I'm sad, or go to the movies with me. BUT. . .you would if you could. I know that. I'd do it for you. Except for not watch your kids, because I don't care WHO you are, your kids will take a lonnnnnnng time to grow on me. Don't take it personally. But I would definitely do the brownie thing. Double chocolate Ghirardelli mix. Or maybe make you chocolate cookies from scratch. So I think that's real. I guess then the question is, Would we want to hang out with each other a lot if it were an option and I wasn't the only Mormon mommy blogger in HB, CA.? That's a little harder.

There are some of you I'm sure I'd want to hang with. And there are others of you that I'd want to spend occasional time with drinking deeply from your mind and spirit (in a non-Edward Cullen kind of way) and then let some time go by before doing it again. That's okay because I represent both things to other people, too. For some people I'm the laugh-a-minute girl and for others I'm the dig-deep-and-philosophize girl. I like the variety in my friendships. But I don't spend much time on the blogs of folks that I wouldn't want to hang around in real life. It's not a conscious choice but neither is it a startling realization.

Anyway, I've reached a decision. I do think reality CAN be found in front of a computer monitor. However, to Kimberly's point, everything in moderation. Real doesn't equal good if taken to an extreme.

Nonetheless, I consider you an extremely good friend. And you. Oh, and you. You, though? I think we're more just chat buddies, 'kay?


wonder woman said...

I can most definitely relate to this post. It makes me wonder if the women in my "real" life just aren't as cool as most of the bloggers I know, or if I just don't know them well enough yet.

I'd take some of those brownies, though. I'd even watch your little critter in trade.

Sue said...

If you lived here in Utah I would insist upon hanging out with you frequently. I really wish you lived here.

I know what you mean - I keep thinking about having an end of summer barbecue, but I can't decide if I could really invite both blogging friends and non-blogging friends. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE and all that.

I love my "real life" friends a lot, but I've also met so many people online that have BECOME real life friends - and I adore them too.

The funniest thing is that the "real life" friends I've had who have discovered my blog have suddenly become much closer friends - maybe because they see a side of me on my blog that they don't necessarily see in real life. You can be more open about some things on a blog. One of my friends told me that she felt a lot more relaxed around me after reading my blog because "I realized you were completely harmless." Hee.

LisAway said...

I circle yes.

I think the blog relationship is just so different than a real life one. It feels as real and strong, but since there isn't that back and forth and really hearing each other, you just can't be sure. I love blogging friendships. They're so unique and real in their way, for sure.

I loved the chance to meet you and hear you and talk to you, but I wish it wasn't a one time thing. I came away having definitely enjoyed it, but felt sort of like I wasn't exactly myself. Not like I was someone else, of course, but like, I don't know. Just like we'd have to go the Creperie (sp?) a time or two more before I felt like myself. But it totally makes sense to me that you can feel a deeper connection to blogging friends than you sometimes can to friends you knew first in person and are able to spend time with.

Did I mention I love that? The blog friends thing? And that I circle yes? :)

Sue said...

I was born in Huntington Beach. That has nothing to do with anything, but still. It sort of makes us neighbors.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Is it so *sad* that I feel exactly the way you do???

I made a best friend a few years ago. She was wonderful. We both had one baby the same age. We played and they played. It was the first time since I'd gotten married that I made a friend. We both got pregnant and had babies together.

And then we both moved away, she to Colorado and me to Arkansas. I miss her. As much as I've tried to find a best friend out here, I've failed. Like you, I do the activities, I can giggle and chat at church, but I haven't bonded with anyone that way.

but I have, in the short amount of time I've been blogging, met people that I wish lived close to me. Is it b/c we spend so much time actually finding out about people? So much intimate conversation? I feel like few people out here really know me, and even fewer care what I'm doing with my life.

Anyway... on that long note...I know where you're coming from.

Luisa Perkins said...


Not sad, not artificial, not pathetic.

There is nothing wrong with you.

I do take seriously D. Bednar's recent admonition, but moderation is the rule for all relationships, whether "RL" or virtual.

Melinda said...

I totally get what you're saying, and I totally agree. I love my blog friends, they're so real to me, and the ones I have met, have been awesome! Love it!

Don said...

I hate to admit it, but if it weren't for internet friends and work friends, I wouldn't have any friends right now. Sad, but it's a situational fact. The whole chronic illness in the family thing.

I think internet friends are much lower maintenance. Or maybe there are just so many to choose from, and I've gravitated to the lower maintenance types.

Anyway, I really like by blogger buddies.

Don said...

Maybe I shouldn't have said I have no "real" friends, because many of my internet friends are people I've known since long before the internet. But the socializing thing happens almost exclusively online nowadays.

With rare exceptions like trips to the office and writers conferences - woot!

Kristina P. said...

I have met a lot of women from blogging, a few who have become dear friends. And I love the social network that blogging provides.

But I don't always feel the same sense of loyalty to people online that I do in real life. Don't get me wrong. I care about the people in my blog world. But people here seem to be much more fickle.

I don't usually care when people stop commenting on my blog, but there are a few people who I have met in real life, who have been reading my blog for ages, who NEVER comment anymore, and I always wonder if they still even read, or if I offended them, or whatnot, and I have to admit, because I care about them, it stings a bit. And I sometimes think it's silly to feel that way, but other times not, because we did form a genuine bond.

The boundaries get blurred a bit.

DeNae said...

This is the part about blogging that non-bloggers don't get. I have met so many awesome people in this blogging community, and, just like in real life, I don't give my whole heart or intimate details of my life to new acquaintances right away. But certain personalities begin to emerge over time, and real relationships can develop. I think the fact that you and I talked on the phone one night non-stop for nearly 3 hours says something about our having judged one another as "real" friend material!

The same goes with Motherboard, Sherrie, Stephanie, Melissa, Lara, and half a dozen more women I've come to know and love in this somewhat unconventional method.

So circle me a big YES on your little questionnaire, darling Melanie! I'm one of your peeps!

Lara said...

I vote yes, too. :)

I think that too many people don't understand the amazing friendships that can take place in front of the computer monitor. The way I see it, the internet is no less valid a way to make friends than having a next door neighbor that you really like. In fact, because you have so many more options, it is possibly more valid! :)

Kazzy said...

Over 18 months after my foray into blogging and I am still completely blown away by the connections I have made.

I do understand Kim's point of being able to hide a bit behind our posts, but I see your point too. I like your contrast of friends by convenience (circumstance) and friends by choice. So so true.

I wouldn't mind hanging out with you. :) Now go enjoy some chocolate!

Annette Lyon said...

I SO relate. The good news: my kids are old enough that I have built-in babysitters now, so I'd never need to ask you to tend them. But I'd totally make you brownies or chocolate chip cookies or bring you a meal if you were sick--and I know you'd do the same for me. I loved hanging out with you even for the few minutes we had at the Storymakers conference.

It's an odd thing that I really do consider some of my best friends people I've never laid eyes on. And when I have met blog friends in "real" life, it's not weird--there might a "wow--you're taller than I expected" or something like that, but then we move on talking as if we've known each other forever, because we DO know each other well.

Blogging does that. It's funky but wonderful animal.

Terresa said...

Blog friends are great. While I pretty new to the blog world, it's a passionate bunch and I'm all for that. I also agree with you that ward friends can be friends of circumstance/geographic area where blog friends by choice. So true.

MommyJ said...

I have a lovely list of blog friends that I trust completely. That I've never ever met, but know that I absolutely love. The relationships are real. The connections are real.

I agree with Denae. It's hard to understand that it's real until you experience it.

L.T. Elliot said...

So am I that last one, then? =]

I agree with you on this one, Melanie. Some of the deepest friendships I've made, I made with people I connected with through the blogosphere. That isn't to say I don't have outside, meaningful relationships, but I have found kindred souls here and that's a jewel without measure.

In some ways, I feel like I don't have to hide behind my blog. I feel like I get to be myself in the way I most want to be. I don't have to worry if I stumble over my words because that's not an issue. At the same time, I trust my blog friends and take them at their face values where I sometimes question it IRL. And when I meet these people in person? It feels like I've already known them in person forever.

I can honestly say though, having met you IRL, my impressions/thoughts/feelings toward you only got better. You exceeded the expectations and a deeper respect grew. I was humbled by how amazing you were. Here was this gorgeous, talented woman and she got even better.

Jami said...

I circled both yeses because I am a bit of a rebel.

I love both kinds of friends, but one of my sorrows about real friends who don't blog is that they're so crazy busy and I'm so crazy busy that we don't have time to connect. Blog friendships can develop even if one of us is only available from 4-5 in the morning and the other is busy except on Tuesdays at 10 at night.

Jessica G. said...

I'm with Sue. Please move to Utah.

April said...

I think that there are two types of people out there in the world. The ones that put their best foot forward ALL the time so you really can't connect with them because they never appear to have any vices. Then there are those like me, who just say it how it is in my life. Some people like that, others don't. That's how I know I will mesh with someone. See? I just rambled! LOL! And I circled yes as I was rambling!

The Crash Test Dummy said...

I totally totally totally totally agree with every word you said.

Did I say totally?

And I totally totally totally totally disagree with Kimberly. Reality is definitely found in front of the computer screen.

And so is fantasy!

Anonymous said...

Both in real life and on the internet, there are more people that I like and care about than I could possibly maintain intense friendships with, which is actually something that's always frustrated me about mortality; I really look forward to the eternities for getting to know and spend time with all the people I care about. I try to balance my ideal (lots of very close friends!) versus real life exigencies (church/family responsibilities, and my penchant for having quite a bit of privacy and time spent in solitary pursuits like reading or sewing) by being friendly whenever I have the opportunity to be (in life or online) but not feeling too committed or guilty if it gets hard to keep up--especially online. (And ESPECIALLY when it comes to things like tags and memes and blog carnivals, etc.)

I do think that my blog friends share certain types of interests more than most of my ward/neighborhood friends and I enjoy that a lot. Also, since I'm definitely in a stage of life where I'm often a captive to my kids, internet friends have met a need that real life just couldn't meet, and it has made a big difference in my quality of life--of just not feeling so alone when I'm in the thick of the grittiest stages of parenting.

I was also thinking, the other day, about online personae, and I've never liked it when I thought people presented a too-perfect persona, but I also don't enjoy it when someone always rants or whines. I decided what I like best is when a blog writer is frank enough to let you see their humanity, but self-disciplined enough to also allow you to feel safe with them. I guess we all have different comfort levels, but I don't think anyone feels very safe around someone with a huge chip on their shoulder and no brain-to-mouth filter. But we do feel safe with people who aren't shy to let us know when they do a stupid thing (or two or three.)

Another thing I've noticed is that having a source to express myself in the form of a blog alleviates a lot of my need to talk about myself in real life--which I suppose can make me a little more enigmatic in real life and keep people from knowing me as well (not everyone knows I have a blog, a lot of people don't know I sew or speak French, etc.--not that I talk about those interests very much time on my blog, but I COULD any time I wanted to,) so in my real-life interactions I think I'm becoming a better listener.

(Or maybe not. I still talk a lot. Maybe having a blog has just given me one more outlet to talk and talk and talk and talk.)

Anonymous said...

Oh, and anyone who sends me fudge gets a big circled TRIPLE yes. (Not that you had to send me fudge to earn my friendship, though.)

Becca said...

Yes. Yes. You got it. I told Husband this sort of thing not too long ago, and I was worried that he'd think I was... weird. But he got it, too. He understood my need to be occasionally connected and validated by people who care about the things I care about, and not just out of geographical convenience.

(My kids are too old for babysitters, but they can *be* babysitters, you know, just in case...)

Amber Lynae said...

I completely relate to this situation.. I actually don't know many people in my ward. We are just different. I haven't been active in blogland for long, but I have felt a void in my life being filled as I've met people who I can relate to on levels that I have not found here around me. I would totally bake your brownies, or any other chocolate treat if you were sad.

Virginia is a far distance from many of the Utah Bloggers but I feel their friendly nature even here. So I circle yes even if no wasn't an option.

Eowyn said...

Oh crap. Nopw I'm going to wonder if I'm just a "chat buddy". Although if I have to judge by how often you comment on my blog, maybe we are more than that.

I'm with wonder woman though. I'll always take the brownies.

Charette and I had this conversation once, where we felt that we were better friends in person because of blogging and that we looked at the people around us who were irl friends and felt like they didn't know us as well as our blogging buddies do.

I was struck by the woman who said that we tend to take each other at face value more on the blog than we do it real life. I don't know why it struck me, but it did.

I'm going to be pondering this the rest of the day, just so you know!

Emily said...

Perfectly worded.

Reality CAN be found in front of the monitor. Some of my closest friends are online because we chat asynchronously through out the week. And when we DO actually see each other every few years, it's great. It doesn't feel like months or years have passed since the last time was saw each other.

You made a great point about friends by choice and not circumstance. I resonate with that on so many levels. In my family, I several siblings (nine to be exact) and my favorite sister (who is 10 years my senior) is my best friend by choice and sister by circumstance. I can count on my other siblings to be there for me to go to the movie, make me brownies, and watch my kids, but if we weren't born to the same parents, we wouldn't have a relationship.

Totally understand the "won't watch your kid" concept. I believe there are two types of children:

Other people's children and your own children.

No matter how cute your kid is, they sill fall into the "other people's children" category."

I don't babysit either. EVER. For anyone.

But, I do like it when people babysit for me. I don't think this makes me selfish. I pay you know. :)

Everyone has talents. I was not blessed with exceptional patience. :)

Great post.

Carolyn V. said...

I think as writers, we put alot of ourselves down in our writing. We are more exposed this way, but it also opens us up to new friendships, too. I sit in front of my computer most days and must the alone time, but the girls in my ward are, well, not writers. I guess that says it all. =)

CaJoh said...

I really like the fact you say there are friends through circumstance and those through choice. Perhaps I tend to forget that there are these two different types. I guess I tend to treat any friendships as the same no matter if they are face to face or not. But what is difficult for me to verify is if any friend has chosen me as a friend.

kelberology 101 said...

I don't blog. I should, but I can't seem to get it from my head to the screen. So, since I watched you birth your firstborn and did tend that first born on plenty of occasions, can we still be friends. We did share many Krispy Kremes and yummy meals too. If we lived near to each other I would want to hang out with you!

Debbie said...

I definitely think I have made some true friends in front of this screen. If I could get to them to help them, I would in a heartbeat.

Ginette said...

I like what you had to say here. I think I'm like some others, I can agree that I've made some "blogging friends". I think sometimes getting to know someone through the "blog world" can introduce you to their creative side, thoughful side, etc a lot quicker than in real life. A different way of expressing and sharing can open up a different kind of friendship.

Kimberly said...

I totally agree with this, though you may be expecting me to come in here and defend my original point and all. There's a difference between real life and real people, is the thing. If it weren't for the stark reality of the people met through blogging, the amazingly genuine friendships, there wouldn't be so much danger in it for me. People can be addictive, you know? And it's hard to convince myself that the laundry and housework or even the friend down the street, matter as much as the people here.

I haven't got it figured out at ALL, but all the talk of moderation figures in somewhere, I'm sure. I feel like I have two lives and getting them to mesh can be a bit tricky some days.

Willow Tree said...

I love this post because it's true. Some of the best connections God has given me are in the blogosphere. He does work in mysterious ways after all.


charrette said...

Hm. Not sure how I missed this post. Must have appeared during one of my many disappearances.

But I love, love, love what you said here. I am convinced that you get to know someone better through writing. (Like Sue said about real life friends becoming closer after they also read her blog.) My husband and I dated long-distance, and most of our courtship was writing. I think we got to know each other better this way than if we spent the same nine months going to movies and buying milkshakes.

I can't begin to express how grateful I am for my blog friends. I don't think I'm an easy person to get to know in real life. Don't get me wrong -- I'm all perky and friendly and usually a little bit loud and funny -- but nobody sees the deep side of me unless they READ me. (Or come to my Sunday School Class!) And that is so important to me. My blog friends are treasures.

I can't tell you how flattered I was when you emailed me to get together in person. meeting and having an actual conversation adds yet another dimension to the blogging foundation.

Now. How did you just manage to say in 1/3 as many words and with twice the laughs exactly what I was trying to say in MY post today?

charrette said...

Okay, so yeah. That would be YES. Circled. And then if I were in elementary school I would also put stars and smiley faces all around your name.