Monday, November 8, 2010
Are Online Relationships Real?
Remember when you were a kid, and you had imaginary friends? Remember when grown-ups thought you were crazy?
That’s how I feel sometimes as a blogger.
Last week, I was speaking to a group of intelligent women, trying to explain some of the intangible benefits of my writing.
“The most incredible part of blogging is some of the new friends I’ve met.”
I went on to explain. “I consider many other bloggers dear friends. Some of these friends encourage me on a daily basis.”
I noticed a few blank stares in the audience.
They must think I’m crazy. Maybe I am!
After all, a year ago, I would have told me I was crazy. You can’t have real relationships online, can you? Relationships where people don’t actually meet in person. Where people hide behind computer screens (where they can conveniently hide their faults and annoying personalities).
Other bloggers don’t smell. They don’t show up at my doorstep unexpected. They don’t put demands on my time. They don’t ask me to help with carpool duty or bake cookies for the Election Day bake sale (yeah, I forgot to sign up again this year).
How can a relationship be real when it is completely on my terms? When I’m the one in control? When it doesn’t involve sacrifice?
Maybe online relationships are imaginary after all. After all, I can just turn them off with a power button.
But wait a minute. Smelly or not, my online friendships have stretched me, that's for sure. No one is pointing a gun to my head, yet I’m pushing myself to read other blogs, write encouraging comments, and even meet deadlines. I’m not just pushing myself to write, I’m pushing myself to connect. And while I probably started blogging in search of fans, the wonderful truth is that I’ve found some friends instead.
And friends are worth it. Online or not.