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The inherent value of online relationships

Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
edited December 2007 in Debate and/or Discourse
This is a topic which I’m pretty sure must have been discussed to a certain extent here before but, having been affected by its ramifications in recent times, I thought it apt to bring it up once again.

To whit:

Many (if not all) of us have been introduced to the boards here at Penny-Arcade thanks to an overarching interest in video games and technology.

Many of us, thanks to these games, and the technologies related to them (which includes, in no small part, the Internet itself), may have formed certain relationships through their use. It might be in the form of a Guild of like-minded individuals on WoW, or a corp on EVE. Maybe we’ve stayed up late at night discussing and debating the finer points of politics or horticulture or comic books on these very forums. Maybe you’ve met a whole new group of friends you might otherwise never have had the opportunity to interact with had it not been for you Facebook page.

The fact is, in the pursuit of our interests, we find ourselves interacting with other human beings in ways that were not possible a mere 20 or even 10 years ago.

And as this technology develops, society is finding itself struggling with how to interpret this new style of relationship. Are online relationships important at the same level as real-life relationships are? Do I have more of an obligation to the person I chat with every morning on the bus than I do to the new member of my guild on WoW? Am I somehow neglecting my social obligations if I opt out of a company dinner one night so that I can stay at home and partake in a discussion with people I’ve never met in real life?

Personal Anecdote (i.e. why am I bringing this up?):

Last Thursday night, I had committed to joining some fellow forumites in a friendly roleplaying session over IRC. I had cleared my schedule for that express purpose and was looking forward to the experience. However, during that day, some Real Life (RL) friends of mine called me up to ask what I was up to. I told them that “I had plans” that night, and would not be able to join them on whatever venture they had planned. When pressed as to whom I had plans with, I tried to evade the question. I couldn’t just answer “I’m meeting some friends online to roleplay with them”.

Eventually my friends, disappointed, relented and I had a fun time online with some people I didn’t even now. But the turn of events from earlier that day left me a little perplexed. Why was I embarrassed that I had chosen to forgo my friends for a commitment I had made to ostensible strangers? Why did I feel guilty for neglecting my “real” friends in preference for “fake” friends. Had I met my fellow role-players in person, I wouldn’t have batted an eye. I made a commitment and that would be that, but the mere fact that it was “online” somehow made it feel… disingenuous.

Surely some of you out there in cyber-land must know what I’m talking about.
Have any of you ever felt guilty by making a commitment to people you “don’t really know”? Is there some merit to the argument that face-to-face relationships are, inherently, more valuable than any relationship one can forge online? Or are people that argue as such simply short-sighted to the possibilities of online relationships? What is it about online communication that makes people feel like any relationship formed in that medium is inherently “not real”? Share your experiences related to online relationships!

3DS FC: 1547-5210-6531
Romantic Undead on
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    zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Are online relationships important at the same level as real-life relationships are?

    It depends on the individual. If you don't have stable real life relationships, no friends but just acquaintances that you call friends, they could be. However, is any online relationship more important than somebody you know since you were five? Hell no.

    zeeny on
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    MalkorMalkor Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I think of having e-friends sort of in the same way as my parents and the letters they wrote to people oversees back in the day. You look forward to corresponding with people differently from the people you see everyday. It's like a supplement to what you already have. I can think of a few times when I cancelled something IRL to do something on a MUD or maybe a clan match or something. As long as you're not always online and completely ignore other friends I see nothing wrong with it.

    Malkor on
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    GreeperGreeper Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I have never met my best friend in real life.

    There's certain advantages to this. I've moved three times in the last couple of years, he's stayed with me.

    There's certain disadvantages, too. He'll drop off for a week or two because of work or something and I'll feel kind of lost.

    Relying on someone over the internet is hard but it is by no means bad.

    Greeper on
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    SithDrummerSithDrummer Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Malkor wrote: »
    It's like a supplement to what you already have.
    That's my estimation. I think real life relationships are more "real", but I have a number of friends online that I wouldn't have met in real life.

    SithDrummer on
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    Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Greeper wrote: »
    I have never met my best friend in real life.

    There's certain advantages to this. I've moved three times in the last couple of years, he's stayed with me.

    There's certain disadvantages, too. He'll drop off for a week or two because of work or something and I'll feel kind of lost.

    Relying on someone over the internet is hard but it is by no means bad.

    Hi Greeper,

    Can I ask you a few personal questions in light of this?
    Do you face any challenges that might affect your ability to meet people in real life, outside of moving a lot? Did you feel able to connect with this person better thanks to the veil of anonymity that the Internet offers?
    Or do you consider this person your best friend in spite of the fact that you have, what you would consider, a normal social life?

    I hope you don't misunderstand me, I'm not trying to expose anything you don't feel comfortable talking about. I'm just curious about discussing the phenomenon around online relationships and am genuinely interested in what motivates people in forming such relationships and how they feel towards them in comparison to "real-life" relationships.

    Romantic Undead on
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    amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I don't really have a problem with the concept of e-friends, because I play some tabletop, and it's scarce in my part of town, so IRC or OpenRPG is pretty much all I have to get that fill. It's the same way with my 360. I'll sign on and see a message from a friend on the list telling me to be online at seven for a game, and if I've got no other plans then I'll be there, but if a real life friend, even one who was lower on my preference of friends, wanted to hang out and watch a movie or drink a few beers I'd do that over the internet socialization.

    My one gripe with e-friends is that with anonymity comes overabundance of unwanted information. It seems that my close friends I've known since High school tell me about some of their personal problems, but e-friends like to tell me about every single thing they do in their life, and their families mental history, and how they like to "give it" to their girlfriends, etc. That gets a little tiring.

    Overall I agree with Sith and Malkor that it's a supplement to what is already possesed.

    amateurhour on
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    KungFuKungFu Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Back when I raided a lot in WoW (this is when 40 players would set a time block usually in the evening of a week and work together to accomplish large game dungeons) I would skip out on hanging out with real life friends on those nights. Most of my friends knew what I was doing, but with new acquaintances or girls I would meet on the weekends, they would ask what I was doing on such and such night. My answer was pretty much that I was busy or something. Tried to shrug it off and pass the question.

    After a long break from the game and I have returned, I am doing a lot less hardcore stuff and making a point of it to not miss out on friends in real life.

    Though, I did technically meet these WoW people in real life though too. We had a guild meetup over the summer. That was pretty cool.

    KungFu on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Online relationships, I think, tend to feel like reading fiction... it's hard to get your brain to fully accept that this is in fact a real person you are talking with even though they aren't anywhere near you, and this is especially true if you do a lot of roleplaying such that you're rarely actually talking with the person's real self.

    Personally, I have put effort into negating this issue by, when possible, meeting online friends. I spent some time with some of the cool fun people here at PAX earlier this year, which was awesome, and I've met two of my three very very close friends from the internet who I met online back in the late 90s, with a third coming over to visit in January...

    In between, though, I've found that things like webcams and phone calls and gift exchange deeply enhance the ability to accept someone as real, and make the relationship far easier to place with those where you can Hi5.

    Incenjucar on
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    Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Online relationships, I think, tend to feel like reading fiction... it's hard to get your brain to fully accept that this is in fact a real person you are talking with even though they aren't anywhere near you, and this is especially true if you do a lot of roleplaying such that you're rarely actually talking with the person's real self.

    Personally, I have put effort into negating this issue by, when possible, meeting online friends. I spent some time with some of the cool fun people here at PAX earlier this year, which was awesome, and I've met two of my three very very close friends from the internet who I met online back in the late 90s, with a third coming over to visit in January...

    In between, though, I've found that things like webcams and phone calls and gift exchange deeply enhance the ability to accept someone as real, and make the relationship far easier to place with those where you can Hi5.

    This is a good example that I want to address.
    About a year ago, I was "dating" someone I met online (and posted about it exhaustively in H/A).
    I have no doubt that my feelings for this girl were real. We chatted online, both in IM and via webcam.

    Yet I still found myself having a hard time "justifying" my feelings towards my friends, and they found it difficult to relate to my situation. My assertions that "I thought I loved her" were met with worried glances, like something wasn't right.

    Eventually, things didn't work out and we went our separate ways, but my friend's reactions last year were certainly a cause for concern.
    Were they right to give me those worrying looks? Is it a hopeless endeavor to cultivate real relationships online, or was I deluding myself back then by creating for myself and idealized version of this girl which could only end up dissapointing me?

    Romantic Undead on
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    amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I don't think that it's hopeless to think that a relationship online would never work out, but it's definately a tough road. I don't see how an online relationship is any crazier than an arranged marrige, or even the dating standards in the days of yore where a knight would write to his lady, that being their sole source of communication for years. Crazier shit has transpired in the world of relationships. It's definately harder though, because most of the time at least some distance/obstacle is involved in the relationship, and I think that sometimes that distance, or obstacle is what gives an online relationship a sense of false security, because you can not quite be your exact self, since the other person doesn't have to see you on a daily basis.

    amateurhour on
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    GreeperGreeper Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Greeper wrote: »
    I have never met my best friend in real life.

    There's certain advantages to this. I've moved three times in the last couple of years, he's stayed with me.

    There's certain disadvantages, too. He'll drop off for a week or two because of work or something and I'll feel kind of lost.

    Relying on someone over the internet is hard but it is by no means bad.

    Hi Greeper,

    Can I ask you a few personal questions in light of this?
    Do you face any challenges that might affect your ability to meet people in real life, outside of moving a lot? Did you feel able to connect with this person better thanks to the veil of anonymity that the Internet offers?
    Or do you consider this person your best friend in spite of the fact that you have, what you would consider, a normal social life?

    I hope you don't misunderstand me, I'm not trying to expose anything you don't feel comfortable talking about. I'm just curious about discussing the phenomenon around online relationships and am genuinely interested in what motivates people in forming such relationships and how they feel towards them in comparison to "real-life" relationships.

    I'll give it a shot:

    There were a few challenges that affected my ability to meet people in real life. Uh, homeschooled and more than slightly a prick were two of them. So I guess you could rate an affirmative on that.

    Uh, I'm not sure about this question really. There wasn't any particular veil of anonymity, it wasn't really any different from meeting someone who lives nearby in real life. We met through a very tight-knit community, so there would always be social ramifications. No more or less than a 'real' friendship. There's no such thing as a 'normal' social life. And I certainly don't have one, if it does exist. I'm a massive introvert but I'm ok with that too.

    So, basically, the only reason my best friend happens to be from the internet is because of how much we connected, immediately. Him and I are almost the same person. It's strange how much our thought processes ran parralel even before we met each other. Just one of those miraculous things that can happen when you put enough people in the same place I guess.

    Greeper on
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    Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Uh, I'm not sure about this question really. There wasn't any particular veil of anonymity, it wasn't really any different from meeting someone who lives nearby in real life.

    I find it interesting you feel this way. I think some people would disagree with you on those points.
    When I was "dating" this girl last year, people continuously alerted me to the dangers of meaningful interaction over an electronic medium.

    People would say how, when we speak to someone online, we project, and, as a result perceive, an idealized version of ourselves and other people. According to some, this is a fallacy in online relationships which can only be overcome once you meet and spend a significant amount of time with someone in person.

    What say you guys to that?

    Romantic Undead on
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    DodgeBlanDodgeBlan PSN: dodgeblanRegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I'll preface this by saying that I've never had an e-friend. When I was younger and played UO i guess I had some things that might be considered an e-friend, but in hindsight not really. Actually now that I think about it I did have e-friends- Girls that I met at various parties, would exchange emails and chat. And its easy to chat with someone for hours (if you want to) and then curiously when you meet them in person you realize you don't actually have very much in common.

    I think an online friend (using text based communication) is basically a fiction because of the nature of the communication. Typing is both so limited and romantic. You get complete control over your inflection and the time needed to repackage what you are saying until it fits your meaning much better than spoken word ever would. Also it does away with the akward realities of actually sharing a space with someone.

    DodgeBlan on
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    GreeperGreeper Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Uh, I'm not sure about this question really. There wasn't any particular veil of anonymity, it wasn't really any different from meeting someone who lives nearby in real life.

    I find it interesting you feel this way. I think some people would disagree with you on those points.
    When I was "dating" this girl last year, people continuously alerted me to the dangers of meaningful interaction over an electronic medium.

    People would say how, when we speak to someone online, we project, and, as a result perceive, an idealized version of ourselves and other people. According to some, this is a fallacy in online relationships which can only be overcome once you meet and spend a significant amount of time with someone in person.

    What say you guys to that?

    There's nothing wrong with that.

    This friend of mine, for example: He's very insightful, he's downright hilarious, he's almost always got the right thing to say, etc. etc.

    I really doubt a lot of these characteristics carry over to real life, in real life you don't have enough time to think up the right thing to say. You have to respond pretty quickly and also, like he put it:

    "It's hard to be profound in real life without sounding kind of gay."

    Does this mean I'm getting a 'fictional' version of him?

    More the opposite, I think, I'm getting the real version, unfettered by a lot of restrictions, it's easier to just write down how you really feel about things and send them off.

    edit: Internet friends are like that diary from Harry Potter, you get to say how you really feel but it'll also talk back and maybe try and kill you.

    Greeper on
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    Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Greeper wrote: »
    Uh, I'm not sure about this question really. There wasn't any particular veil of anonymity, it wasn't really any different from meeting someone who lives nearby in real life.

    I find it interesting you feel this way. I think some people would disagree with you on those points.
    When I was "dating" this girl last year, people continuously alerted me to the dangers of meaningful interaction over an electronic medium.

    People would say how, when we speak to someone online, we project, and, as a result perceive, an idealized version of ourselves and other people. According to some, this is a fallacy in online relationships which can only be overcome once you meet and spend a significant amount of time with someone in person.

    What say you guys to that?

    There's nothing wrong with that.

    This friend of mine, for example: He's very insightful, he's downright hilarious, he's almost always got the right thing to say, etc. etc.

    I really doubt a lot of these characteristics carry over to real life, in real life you don't have enough time to think up the right thing to say. You have to respond pretty quickly and also, like he put it:

    "It's hard to be profound in real life without sounding kind of gay."

    Does this mean I'm getting a 'fictional' version of him?

    More the opposite, I think, I'm getting the real version, unfettered by a lot of restrictions, it's easier to just write down how you really feel about things and send them off.

    So would it be fair to say then, that, in your opinion, an online relationship can actually enhance our perception of our friends?

    Do you not worry that people might use this "romantic" version of themselves to project a false image?

    Romantic Undead on
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    ege02ege02 __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2007
    Online relationships should be treated as a supplement for real-life relationships, not as a replacement for them.

    ege02 on
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    GreeperGreeper Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Greeper wrote: »
    Uh, I'm not sure about this question really. There wasn't any particular veil of anonymity, it wasn't really any different from meeting someone who lives nearby in real life.

    I find it interesting you feel this way. I think some people would disagree with you on those points.
    When I was "dating" this girl last year, people continuously alerted me to the dangers of meaningful interaction over an electronic medium.

    People would say how, when we speak to someone online, we project, and, as a result perceive, an idealized version of ourselves and other people. According to some, this is a fallacy in online relationships which can only be overcome once you meet and spend a significant amount of time with someone in person.

    What say you guys to that?

    There's nothing wrong with that.

    This friend of mine, for example: He's very insightful, he's downright hilarious, he's almost always got the right thing to say, etc. etc.

    I really doubt a lot of these characteristics carry over to real life, in real life you don't have enough time to think up the right thing to say. You have to respond pretty quickly and also, like he put it:

    "It's hard to be profound in real life without sounding kind of gay."

    Does this mean I'm getting a 'fictional' version of him?

    More the opposite, I think, I'm getting the real version, unfettered by a lot of restrictions, it's easier to just write down how you really feel about things and send them off.

    So would it be fair to say then, that, in your opinion, an online relationship can actually enhance our perception of our friends?

    Do you not worry that people might use this "romantic" version of themselves to project a false image?

    It can enhance your perception. If they don't use chatspeek.

    As for false images. Well, all I know for a good deal of my life I identified with two different personalities: the real life me and the internet me. Neither one was more 'real' than the other. On the internet I was wittier, slightly more abrasive, honest, meaner but probably a better person overall.

    I've mostly mellowed into one guy now if you're wondering.

    If people are going to project a false image they're gonna do it. In the real world or in the internet I don't think it matters.

    I dunno, maybe it's bad. I know it's worked out for me though.

    Greeper on
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    TeeManTeeMan BrainSpoon Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    DodgeBlan wrote: »
    I think an online friend (using text based communication) is basically a fiction because of the nature of the communication. Typing is both so limited and romantic. You get complete control over your inflection and the time needed to repackage what you are saying until it fits your meaning much better than spoken word ever would. Also it does away with the akward realities of actually sharing a space with someone.

    I've gotta agree with that to an extent. Personally though, I find text based communication an excellent 'gateway' into conversation. It gives you a basic insight on what makes that person tick even if it doesn't give you the whole picture; just enough to gauge whether it warrants going further (ie; phoning then meeting in person).

    Many of the friends I have today are a result from chatting to randoms in IRC when I was younger then meeting them later at parties. They're good people and I don't consider them 'internet friends' anymore.

    But in terms of being embarrassed about discussing online relationships, you bet your arse I am haha! Especially with my non-tech-savy family.

    I met a girl who was traveling through Kalgoorlie while I was living there a few years ago. She was only there for about a week but we caught on like a kerosene-soaked hay bale. She lived in Brisbane though (other side of the country) so we just exchanged emails and numbers. Fast forward 2.5 years to the present and we're still talking pretty much on a daily basis and I've booked off some holidays to travel over east and catch up with her.
    Explaining to my traditional-values parents who still think my heavy metal addition and long hair is a 'phase' after 7 years that I'm going to Brisbane for 2 weeks to meet with a girl who I haven't spoken to in RL for nearly 3 years... Yeah, thats going to be a fun conversation. I'm also considering moving to Brisbane for a change of scenery and work, but not because of the girl. That'll be fun to explain too:lol:


    But in short I don't give a crap what my family and RL friends think about my internet mates. In my history internet relationships have played a role in my personal development, so I'm not going to ignore them because its publically taboo.

    TeeMan on
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    PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Greeper, what you're talking about circles around the philosophical notion of reality, perception, and simulacra. In life, everyone we meet is wearing a mask. It's how we interact with people. The internet is no different than real life in this.

    However, there is a distinct reality that the internet will never be able to tell about people. We realize who people are when they aren't at there best. The people we know best are the people whose bad sides we have been exposed to and like them regardless. In real life, you can tell when someone is truly entertained or when someone is lying or ashamed, even when they don't want you to know that. The internet generally gives people a chance to be what they wish they were.

    I think if someone were to say that their best friend had never been met with in real life, this person does not have a very healthy relationship with the real world. What they have is some intellectual-platonic relationships of intellects. This is not a bad thing. I've met some people that I consider pretty close friends online, and if I were to meet these people in real life, I could become very very good friends with them. But I don't know them.

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    roastghostroastghost Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I think that writing to somebody and being with them are completely different things. There's so much communication that can't be put into an IM. On the other hand, sometimes you can write things that you'd never have the courage to say in real life.

    I've never had a meaningful relationship exclusively online. I do respect that it's a valid way to communicate, but I think that human beings need to be around others. I don't understand how some people can ignore everyone around them day in day out, pass on going to the bar and then get their social fix on the internet. It just wouldn't work for me. I probably have more in common with people in internet communities, but I still prefer to hang out physically.

    I agree with the fiction interpretation. I check a couple of message boards twice a day and post once or twice. I'm not invested in the people posting there, but I like to watch the "story" unfold.

    roastghost on
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    GreeperGreeper Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Podly wrote: »
    Greeper, what you're talking about circles around the philosophical notion of reality, perception, and simulacra. In life, everyone we meet is wearing a mask. It's how we interact with people. The internet is no different than real life in this.

    However, there is a distinct reality that the internet will never be able to tell about people. We realize who people are when they aren't at there best. The people we know best are the people whose bad sides we have been exposed to and like them regardless. In real life, you can tell when someone is truly entertained or when someone is lying or ashamed, even when they don't want you to know that. The internet generally gives people a chance to be what they wish they were.

    I think if someone were to say that there best friend had never been met with in real life, this person does not have a very healthy relationship with the real world. What they have is some intellectual-platonic relationships of intellects. This is not a bad thing. I've met some people that I consider pretty close friends online, and if I were to meet these people in real life, I could become very very good friends with them. But I don't know them.

    yeah I'm not disagreeing with any of that.

    I guess you're right, especially about the seeing people at their worst!

    So there's some things you can never know about internet people, I guess that's true.

    Still I'll take what I can get, because dammit, I don't have any real friends.

    it's better to have a not-very-healthy relationship with the real world than to be all alone for reals.

    The thing is though, he has seen the worst of me, after a few months you forget to be your ideal self and just kinda show up however you are. He's seen the worst of me but he's never judged me.

    No one has never judged me. That alone propels him to pretty-high-up-there status.

    Greeper on
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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2007
    If you meet someone on the internet and start hanging out with them in real-life as a result, sure. Otherwise you're basically setting yourself to over-invest emotionally in what ends up really being a fantasy more than an actual relationship, since there's too much control over what you do and do not express/let slip about yourself in an all-text format, or even after accounting for things like vent and video iChat.

    ViolentChemistry on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    The issue, as with any relationship, is distance. Distance is hell. Horrible, gut-wrenching, mind-raping hell.

    Especially if you're talking about romantic relationships, but even simple friendships are deeply strained by distance.

    Never underestimate the value of silently hanging out in the same room not interacting in the slightest.

    Incenjucar on
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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2007
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    The issue, as with any relationship, is distance.

    No it isn't. It's disembodiment.

    ViolentChemistry on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    The issue, as with any relationship, is distance.

    No it isn't. It's disembodiment.

    This presumes that you never meet them. If someone is, say, living in the same city, and you don't visit them once in awhile, you aren't friends.

    Incenjucar on
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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2007
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    The issue, as with any relationship, is distance.

    No it isn't. It's disembodiment.

    This presumes that you never meet them. If someone is, say, living in the same city, and you don't visit them once in awhile, you aren't friends.

    Indeed. The problem goes away when you're no longer disembodied.

    ViolentChemistry on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Indeed. The problem goes away when you're no longer disembodied.

    Then it becomes a matter of longing, which is worse. :P

    Incenjucar on
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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2007
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Indeed. The problem goes away when you're no longer disembodied.

    Then it becomes a matter of longing, which is worse. :P

    No I like my sanity, longing is better than the consequences of disembodiment.

    ViolentChemistry on
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    Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    The issue, as with any relationship, is distance.

    No it isn't. It's disembodiment.

    This presumes that you never meet them. If someone is, say, living in the same city, and you don't visit them once in awhile, you aren't friends.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems Greeper would disagree with you on that point. As would some others. How do you react to people who think like that? Are they deluded?

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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems Greeper would disagree with you on that point. As would some others. How do you react to people who think like that? Are they deluded?

    Generally speaking, I consider a friend someone who I trust, care for, and, on average, have a desire to spend time with. If they are within visitable distance, I am going to visit them at least once in awhile, once things like cost and danger and timing have been worked out.

    Unless there is some crazy circumstance, like you're afraid of cooties, or you're too young for the risk, you're going to want to eventually MEET your friend in person so you can hang out in a more physical sense.

    If you have no desire to meet them in person at all ever, then you're just associates. Or friggin weird.

    Incenjucar on
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    GreeperGreeper Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems Greeper would disagree with you on that point. As would some others. How do you react to people who think like that? Are they deluded?

    Generally speaking, I consider a friend someone who I trust, care for, and, on average, have a desire to spend time with. If they are within visitable distance, I am going to visit them at least once in awhile, once things like cost and danger and timing have been worked out.

    Unless there is some crazy circumstance, like you're afraid of cooties, or you're too young for the risk, you're going to want to eventually MEET your friend in person so you can hang out in a more physical sense.

    If you have no desire to meet them in person at all ever, then you're just associates. Or friggin weird.

    Yeah no, if you live in the same city as someone and don't go and visit them once and a while, you aren't friends.

    That's just weird.

    Greeper on
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    SamSam Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I don't think anyone is the same person that they are online.

    Also, no one has seen the best or worst of you until there's a situation that involves actual trust/responsibility.
    Which means more than being someone to talk to because you were online anyway. There are all kinds of things that factor in to evolve and test bonds between people.

    Sam on
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    HacksawHacksaw J. Duggan Esq. Wrestler at LawRegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Sam wrote: »
    I don't think anyone is the same person that they are online.
    You haven't met me in real life. :P

    Hacksaw on
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    amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    Sam wrote: »
    I don't think anyone is the same person that they are online.
    You haven't met me in real life. :P

    Are you Nathan Fillion?

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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2007
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    Sam wrote: »
    I don't think anyone is the same person that they are online.
    You haven't met me in real life. :P

    Are you Nathan Fillion?

    No. He's Malcolm Reynolds. Nathan Fillion is just an actor, silly.

    ViolentChemistry on
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    amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    Sam wrote: »
    I don't think anyone is the same person that they are online.
    You haven't met me in real life. :P

    Are you Nathan Fillion?

    No. He's Malcolm Reynolds. Nathan Fillion is just an actor, silly.

    Touche'

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    stestaggstestagg Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    It's not about 'real friends' or 'fake friends', you had made a comitement to other people, who had also probably cleared a time to play with you, and you shouldn't renege on that if you can help it.

    stestagg on
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    Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    stestagg wrote: »
    It's not about 'real friends' or 'fake friends', you had made a comitement to other people, who had also probably cleared a time to play with you, and you shouldn't renege on that if you can help it.

    I agree to an extent, but the question I'm posing is, does it embarrass you, or do you feel guilty, when you turn away your "real" friends in preferance to a "fake" online acquaintance.

    For instance, if you're sitting at home paying Mass Effect and a bunch of friends call you up and ask you to come out, would you tell them "no sorry, i've got plans"? Probably not, right? But, if, instead, you're in the middle of a Raid in WoW and your friends call you up, what do you say? You Raided with your guild just last Monday, and you don't really know any of these people. Is it ok to dissapoint your "real" friends for their sake? Do you tell your "real" friends what it is you're doing and why you're doing it, or do you make up an excuse? Are you embarrassed by being "stuck" with your guild?

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    SilverWindSilverWind Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I have a few friends online that I consider amongst my 'best' and 'closest'. I agree with whoever said here that talking online makes people talk more about their feelings, backgrounds and circumstances and... I think I'm the kind of person that enjoys that extra detail. :P

    I do personally believe in the possibility of online relationships working out, though it's definitely not for everyone. I personally met my boyfriend on a Zelda discussion forum. We started out casually chatting on the forums and then over AIM, but then we both felt something more. We went five years without coming into actual physical contact (due to our ages and the distance between us), but traded letters and gifts, talked using mic and camera chat, and talked, talked, talked.

    Funny thing, though, is that when I met him for the first time five years later, we both felt like we genuinely had been in each other's company for years; I didn't feel awkward at all.

    We're in the sixth year of our relationship, and he's up here for university. <3


    So yes, I'm a firm believer in the value of online relationships. It does require effort to cultivate, and also requires that both parties be genuine and themselves if you want that relationship to carry over to "real life", but it can work out. <3

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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2007
    stestagg wrote: »
    It's not about 'real friends' or 'fake friends', you had made a comitement to other people, who had also probably cleared a time to play with you, and you shouldn't renege on that if you can help it.

    Of course, which doesn't answer the question of whether you should make hard-and-fast commitments to people online. If I were to arrange for a bunch of us to all play Halo on Tuesday nights and one week Hacksaw doesn't show up for the game, if I go and flip out at him for it I need some fucking therapy.

    ViolentChemistry on
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