Monday, April 27, 2009

Online Friends - Real or illusion?

A very frequent question that I encounter is "How do you spend your time alone?". For many people it is very difficult to digest and keep pestering me to get a roommate. I admit I have enjoyed each and every bit when I was staying with roommates. But they were my friends and we all knew each other quite well. Somehow I am not ready to share my space with a totally new person or someone I hardly know. And strangely now I am so used to staying alone that if someone else comes n stays with me for long I feel they are intruding into my personal space.(he he am I turning to an anti-social animal?)

Some days back I was talking with my friend who was home alone since his wife had gone home for delivery. He was saying it's too boring and he is not able to cope with that loneliness. He was wondering how I manage and I told him that I mostly spend time blog hopping and being online gives me a feeling that there are many people around me just a window away :P It doesn't really matter whether it is a chat window or a comment window in a blog. But he feels I'm addicted and having online friends is like an illusion - just an escape route. He thinks that it's only the common interests and things that we relate to and life is not just that. According to him online people are always nice to you, somehow not close to reality. I am not sure of this. I do have lot of good blog friends most of whom I haven't met or heard,some living in far off places, but feel very close to my heart. In fact I guess many of my online friends know much more about me and my feelings than someone I interact regularly in real world.

I would like to know your take on this? Do you share a good rapport with your online friends? Do you think it's an illusion?

Updated after Preeti's Comment : check her related post here


Mahalingesh said...

Its a like evening walk not harm in going around... you will find many interesting people around, sometime you may meet up yourself too!

mathew said...

I very much agree to it..i feel a lot of synergy with many fellow bloggers of mine and feel they are quite good friends of mine with whom i can talk and share thoughts...but at the same time i have felt there are many who are completely different personalities outside the blog it cant be generalised...

Amal Bose said...

i agree with Mathew. these things cannot be generalised.. i know of some who have an entirely different face online with no similarity with the real person, but i think most others are really good friends.

~mE said...

YEs and No...if you have nothing emotionally attached then yes a good rapport..You will know only what you need to know..even if you DONT know its ok.

I have made some really good friends online, and they are just very good friends..

DPhatsez said...

how real is real? Does it really matter whether your cyberpals are their same selves in the real world? You bloghop,chat and network with online personas and do your thing. They don't affect your real life so no worries.

I've got online pals too whom i haven't even met but we have a good rapport owing to shared interests[blogging :)]

My real and virtual lives are clearly demarcated so i'm genuinely happy.
As for your friend who's missing his wife, its his illusion that he's bored. Only he is responsible for what he feels not anyone else. Its withdrawal symptoms from not having company around.

Please note that these are my views. No offence intended.

Nalla charchavishayam! :)

Preeti Shenoy said...

Thanks so much for the award! Much appreciate it and each time i get it the joy is the same.
I had blogged on a very similar topic--how real is online friends on my blog some time back.
Here is a link.
I must tell you that one of my closest friends is a person i 'met' online. Later after an year of exchanging mails we met 'for real ' too. Where you take these virtual friendships depends entirely on you. You can expand your world sooooo much by choosing what to do with online friends. For me it has made my life richer and happier.

Sreejith Panickar said...

Friends must be selected wisely, no doubt. I have genuine virtual friends. At the same time, there are people (virtual) that I don't trust. I like to avoid such fellas. Sometimes it is good to have even virtual friends online so that you can chat and get out of any boring mood that you are in. But the subject matter of the conversation should not be too personal. :-D

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan said...

i agree with Preeti on this. the advantage of blog hopping is you get a glimpse of the person in advance - his thoughts and his mentality.. but whether you prefer to keep him/her in ur virtual life or real life is upto you in the end.

Dhanya said...

@ Mahalingesh : Yeh true :) In fact I have met up with one blogger and she is a good companion for many of my crazy attempts now :)

@ mathew : Yeh it's true that it can't be generalized. But even in real world it is like that right? Not everyone can't be our friends, but definitely there are many whom we connect instantly.

@ Amal Bose : If a person consciously tries to project a different image it is difficult. But I thought when u write spontaneously, it's always the real "you" that comes out.

@ ~mE : Yes I'm not talking about emotional attachments. Just normal friendships.

@ DPhatsez : Yeh that's true. I also have found many friends here and I like it that way.

@ Preeti Shenoy : You truly deserve it :) Yeh I have linked your article :) And I have read about your friend in UK. You just stole my words - it makes our life much richer and happier.

@ Sreejith Kumar : I guess we need to filter good from bad just like in real world. Yeh mostly it's common interests that takes a conversation forward with online friends.

@ Dr Roshan R : Exactly. We get to know that person more through his blog and if you feel the connection you tend to go back to their blog :)

~mE said...

Judging a person from blog i dont know if its the right medium. In a blog you always tell things that you think is RIGHT to tell, or things that is OK for people to know.

One will never talk about their failed relationship,lost child or a marriage that has gone sour ( The real story) its always said on a passing note or indirectly blog is a place where people will only tell what they want to tell and its consciously done.

To know a real personl REALLY, you need to be with him/her..thats the best and tested medium :)

and dhanya if its just friends i dont think we need to put online friends to this test..let them be and take it at face value :)

sandeep said...

i guess online friends are fine as long as u r ready to accept them as it is. the moment u start having expectations, things may go wrong. i've made so many friends online (including my wife!) and still luv getting to know new people. but, at the same time, there were occasions when people pretended to be something else (its very easy when online) ... so i am usually careful when dealing with people online, until i am convinced about (atleast) their identity.

Usha said...

wow! i missed out on all the action in here.. and cheers to the 'Topic of Discusion', coming from the only blogger friend (or for that matter, only online friend) whom I've ever met in person.. and I'm glad we did meet up! :)

For me, how it works is: you make online friends just the way you make friends in real life. similar interests and view-points help, and then when you have fun talking and being together, it cements a friendship further.

there are fakes everywhere.. if it's easy to do it online, it's very easy for people to do it in real life too.. some people know each other well for ages, and still not realise how real/ unreal they are.

yes, bloggers only write what they feel like writing about themselves, so there's no guaranteeing the fact that you'd find exactly what you thought the person would be, and for that matter,you might realise that there's much more to the person (better/ worse) that what you knew of them. but then,isnt it the way in real life too? dont we all just put our best foot forward, and show everyone our best face ever, when we just meet anyone the first time?

i feel good interacting with blogfriends, because I've been reading their blogs for a long time and being a part of their reallife events thru their comment boxes, and vice versa. I'd feel much more comfortable with them, if I meet them anyday, than meeting a stranger. Having said that, that's only as far as it takes it. The advantage is just the comfort level for the 1st meeting, after which it's just like making friends with a new person altogether. one should be open to finding a new person in this online friend, and not be taken aback (which happens only when there are expectations)

If you're the kind who makes friends with people, and just accept them for what they are, without being nosy about their personal lives, without being judgemental, and give them and yourselves good breathing space, then I'd say that it's one of the best ways of making good friends! :)

Jayashankar said...

I wrote something like this way back when i was alone

Nice to know all feel the same.

BHATTA said...

Everyone have their own opinions here .. :-)

Here is mine:
It is tough to have a real friendship as there is a firewall in between :-)

On a serious note, I havent cherished a good online friend(e) and am a bit more comfy talking face to face. P picture says a thousand words some said..? ;)

sumanth said...

Online friends and in person friends fall to different category I believe. Online friends are for building a simple social networks when compared to real friends who can be there when ever we want to be.

Timeless Memories - My Bygone ! said...

Its very true, blog frnds r like real frnds, though we may never meet them in real.. sme of the frnds i met through blog, knws me better than my real fnrds, may b coz in blog i am able to express myself, smething i was never able to do in real life...

Jina said...

I do..If u read my honest scrap, you would find it..:)
I have got a lot of friends thru online and so far my experince had been great...

Arunima said...

I have a lot of online friends and they are real people with real emotions. Yes, It is bad if we have only online friends is my take.

Bindhu Unny said...

Online friends are good; Offline ones are better.
As Arunima said, having only online friends is bad.

hope and love said...

having online friends is great..!!

Shafi said...

yeah what ever :), so far i have no trouble with online friends.. and at the same time had enough troble with 'offline' friends. Here its a public talk, u know.. if meet someone, strager from a party or function.

some time i get nice ideas and lessons from online friends which are totaly different. thats what i like it in here..

Manoj said...


Dont know which one is better. On the flip side,since friendship/human relationship is a function of 'expectations',online friends might fare better as the burden of expectaion is much lower.

Dhanush | ധനുഷ് said...

I am not much of an online person. Apart from blogging I am never online.

But I do share your same thoughts on staying alone. I stay alone now after all of my roommates got married :). But then as you say I am not ready to share my space with some one new. I believe its really hard to get a new friendship up once you are past 25.

"How do you spend time alone?" is the same question even I receive. But then I have various ways for it:) May be I have to post about it.

Rajesh said...

It is difficult to be alone.But once starts being alone, they start creating their own world an they are happy in that. Any time away from that world feels like the world has been intruded or loss of one's space.

Cris said...

I have had different takes on this at different times in life. But now, yes you sure can rely on your online friends, just as much as you can on your real life friends. And just like sometimes you are more hurt and other times happy with real life pals, the same could happen with the online buddies. Only the medium is different.

There could be fakers, but I believe there is always a way to identify your real friends - anywhere you are.

Dhanya said...

@ ~mE : I don't know.. May be coz I am an impulsive writer I have more details about me in the blog rather than somehow who interacts with me in real life. Yeh I do agree that being with someone is the best way to know about them but they writings also portray a good part of them..

@ sandeep : Don't you think expectations will be a problem even with a real friend ? In fact all relations tend to fail when it comes with some expectations. I felt in online friendship you tend not to have that since you are definitely not looking for a relationship there..Yeh in some cases in might mature in to a relationship, but that's a conscious decision that we take right?

@ usha : Yeh I'm glad too to get a partner in crime :) I guess expectations and judgments about a person works the same way in both online and real friends. It's up to a person to decide to keep it or not. And as you said it sure gives you a lot of good friends

@ Eashwar : Yeh read it.. All of us think the same :)

@ Ganesh Bhat(ಗಣೇಶ ಭಟ್ಟ ) : Of course real world friends are best coz you know their identity and many a times background too. But don't you think real world also we bump into fakes?

@ BHATTA : Yes face to face is the best way to nurture a friendship but not everyone will have time for that in this busy world. Then you tend to turn to virtual world :)

@ sumanth : Yeh it is true about 'best friends'. But won't we have a category where we are just friends but without too much intimacy-like acquaintances? I guess online friends also fall into that category

@ Devil Incarnate : Can't agree with you more.. I am exactly like you :)

@ ursjina : Yeh read it and sure it's a beautiful world out here :)

@ Arunima : "real people with real emotions" is the key word :) yeh just having only online friends is bad but all of us definitely have real ones too right?

@ Bindhu Unny : he he true :)

@ hope and love : Yeh totally agree :)

@ Shafi : It's always our discretion right?

@ Manoj : Yeh exactly what I told in one of the earlier comments :) All relationships suffer when there is expectations associated with it be it online or offline..

@ Dhanush Gopinath : Wow I would love to know the other ways to spend time without being online :) do post please :)

@ Rajesh : Yes it's true coz I remember I used to go mad initially where as I love it now !!!

@ Cris : Yeh you stole my words :)

Jinu Peyeti said...

I met a blogger friend of mine after months of blog-rapport and we are now almost like best friends. and some friends who were just acquaintances from school/college are now some people I know so well only because of blogs.

so i think it is a fair deal we get online! bt without a speck of doubt friends with whom u spend time face to face are just irreplaceable!

Dhanya said...

@Jinu P : Even I have the same rapport with a blog friend whom I met in person. I think friends are the same everywhere :)

Shaji.k said...

dhanya, it's ok being online and making connections, meeting folks from diff places and diverse cultures. we wouldnt have come in to contact with them other than through the net. meeting online friends in person is also welcome, but its good execising caution in deciding when, where and whom to meet.