Sunday 2 June 2013


"29 year old female, talking to imaginary friends in a make believe world"

I read a blog today by the wonderful @Eliza_Do_Lots, author of MommaTwo. The post 'Internet Isn't Real Life' really riled me! OK, admittedly, that doesn't take much, but this subject has been the cause of a number of argument in 'real life' so I thought it was time to have my say. You can go read her blog first, but the question being asked, is, are friendships made online any less 'real' than ones formed by meeting in person?

When I get home from work, to unwind, I stick the telly on, sit on the sofa with my laptop or iPad and may write a blog. Or, I may chat to people on Twitter on my phone or whatever. There are so many social networks out there, I use 3 or 4, others use more, others use less. Through twitter, I have made some very real friends. Friends I can confide in, friends I can laugh with and friends I now meet up with. Unfortunately, it's a very big world and it isn't necessarily easy to travel the length of the country for a coffee. It also isn't very cost effective to get on a plane and travel to Australia or Canada to have a chin wag. Does that make these people I consider friends any less so?

If my housemate is to be believed I am a 'sad act'. A 'loser'. I just spend my time speaking to my 'pathetic imaginary friends' or 'tapping away on my stupid blog'. How unsociable of me. I should instead be sitting watching golf, in silence, like he does. He, the 35 year old, single man with only one serious relationship in his past who comes home drunk most nights and only plays golf all weekend. Yes. I'm a sad act! Sad for meeting new people. Sad for having interesting conversations and debates. Sad for not spending money down the pub every night. I love how sad I am! The only reason he is there is because I can't afford a place big enough for me and my boy without his rent!

How do you know most of your 'real life' friends? Did you meet them at school? Where you were put into a class and friendships were then formed? Or do they come from work? Where you happened to work in the same place and attended social events leaving you being friendly with many but very few you'd share your intimate secrets with. Or do they come from friends of friends or chance meetings in public places?! How open are any of you to a stranger striking up a conversation? If train journeys are anything to go by i'd say not very! People don't really meet new people any more. How many of your 'real life' friends have you known less than two years? I bet most, if not all of you are struggling to fill one hand!

Online friendships can be very real. They are formed on common interests and good conversations without the prejudice and snap judgment face to face encounters can be full of. They grow slowly without forever trying to undo that first impression that a face to face encounter has left. They are real. It is 2013 for gods sake, why can't people be friends with who they want and when they want without being judged. I consider some of the people have met, and am yet to meet, through social networking as some of my best friends. They are no less real than someone I went to school with. To belittle these friendships as 'not real life' is like throwing an insult at a friend standing next me. I won't put up with it and I will instantly alienate myself from the person judging me and them.

The people who question these friendships and mock the online world are the same people who laughed at online dating ten years ago. Now online dating is the norm and more relationships are formed by the internet than down the pub, where bravado is in constant supply. It's also the same people who probably make all their calls on their landline, haven't upgraded their mobile since the Nokia 5110 and look up numbers in the phone book. Get with the times people because us losers online (the majority of the population now) are laughing at you.

Rant over. Thank you @Eliza_Do_Lots (2013 real life friend i've never met) for inspiring the rant.


  1. Seriously? Is this still a problem? I keep telling people I internet date friends because apparently that is OK. Yesterday I went to the movies with a pal I met ON THE INTERNET. When I moved to the UK a pal I met on the internet took me to Ikea and helped me find a place to live. It's amazing how the people on the other end of the wire are actually human beings who have similar interests to you and make the nice things better.

  2. I would mention the coffee and or Big Jim but I won't :-). But laughing at other blog and wrong/similar addresses....... I've also got the "dork" t'shirt for doing this...... And still get a good ribbing from it. Hey ho! Anyhow, grasp modern social media as it ain't going away.....! Boom! 🍷

  3. My God, your housemate sounds like he needs your assistance to get him to a hospital. Surely he needs surgery to get that massive chip off his shoulder or get the rod removed from his arse?!

    I have loads of friends - some from school, some from jobs, some from the internet. Often the ones I met in 'real life' aren't there for me, and the ones on the other end of the 'puter are. Friends are always a glorious thing to have (unless they're arseholes, in which case, bin 'em!) and unless a lonely old life is something a person is striving for, who the hell cares where said friends came from?!

    The more the merrier, I say!

  4. I've made some of my very best friends through the internet, and even been lucky enough to meet some of them - they have been exactly as they were on-line, but even more lovely. I don't think I'm a saddo, or you either.

    Let's face it, 30 years ago it was normal to go off to France to stay with a pen-friend that your French teacher had chosen for you and you'd written to for a few weeks. At least these days we have instant messaging and photos to give us more insight into who we are talking to.

  5. Last week I went to a family party (myself, my husband and my brother are all gamers with similar interest). There was approx 15 people there that we have met through playing MMORPG games, some of which we originally 'met' online back in 1999. They have seen our children grow up. We have witnessed others meet and then get married... All because of online gaming. I have friends in Turkey, Belgium, USA, Netherlands, Switzerland and many, many more simply because I talk to people online in the games I play. I love the internetz :)

  6. i have met some very good friends via the internet whom i would NEVER have connected with in any other way. i have also met some very very good friends (if you get my meaning) as being a straight looking (to most people) but very gay lady it takes the guesswork out of that equation for both me and the potential partner, and i'm not talking about internet dating either, just people ive connected to through common interests other than sexuality (just like `real' life. fancy that!) ive met great and deep loves via the internet and truly special friends. i have yet to have a bad experience where someone turned out to not be who i thought they were. the same cannot be said for the real world.

  7. I have a very good friend I met online, whom I have never met, who is right now helping me nurse my father thru his death from prostate cancer. She is there more for me, even tho I'm on the East coast, and she's on the West coast, than some of my family who is only 10 minutes away. God sends us the friends we need, if we are trusting enough to accept them. I'll pray for your housemate. I am really enjoying your blogs, keep up the good medical and literary work :)

  8. I give thanks every single day that the technology to allow me to be "a loser" exists and that my lifetime coincides with it.

    I have a variable health condition which means I am either unable to leave the house at all or if I do leave the house people will be left with the assumption I am drunk or "on something" because my speech is slurred or confused or both.

    The internet means I have contact with people - both those I know from real life and those I have met in the virtual world. In the virtual world I am still "me" (the delete key is essential lol) because I can say what I am trying to say without it getting lost in transmission.

    Call me a loser if you will - at least this loser is not locked up isolated from any human contact but instead can still interact with the world.

  9. I met my husband in an all chat room, half of the ppl that came to our wedding were friends from all. Our wedding cake was made by an internet friend, with the bride and groom sat behind computers. I laugh joke commiserate on fb and twitter as well as put the world to rights. It not for everyone but don't mean I call someone who sits watching tv all day. I love the net :-P

  10. Online or real-life …still nobody loves me.

  11. I just found your blog and I have to say I love my online friends. I have 3 long term friends, one from writing, one from general hospital (soap opera) and one from an adult chat room. Would we be friends rl? No idea especially since two aren't my age but I make the perfect friend online or real life. I remember names, dates, who's sick, who might've had surgery and I remember to ask. I amaze people I'll remember to ask about your dad two months from now if you tell me he's sick or in the hospital. Most ask once or twice then drop it but from personal experience I know it's nice to be thought of often and asked. Online friends are just as great as any other friend.

  12. I don't actually have any real life friends, but just did a search on my own blog to find I have posted way more often than I'd realised in praise of virtual friends - and this despite the fact I am someone who only uses the internet on a "proper" computer, looks up phone numbers in the phone book and only turns on ancient mobile in emergencies! Virtual is good.


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