Friends...online and real life

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I remember when friends were made in neighborhoods, at school, at church and eventually at work. It was so simple. Some friendships were short term, some long term. Some came and went while others never strayed. A good friend was one you could be apart from for years, meet up with again and chat like you had never been apart.

The Internet has changed the dynamics and definition of friendship. I was dumped into the online relationship life early on. What is now About.com was originally The Mining Company. I was in the first group of guides, guiding the topic of "Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia", then later adding the topic of "RV Travel".

I learned about web sites, I learned about chat rooms, I learned about forums, I wrote articles, I searched and found the best links, I started a newsletter that grew to over 1000 readers including doctors and researchers. This was my second job...done evenings and weekends and I loved it.

I learned about online relationships, forming a close bond with several dozen other women guides. We struggled together, we grew together both personally and professionally. To this day I maintain an online friendship with at least a half dozen of them...several now on Facebook.

When I decided to learn to ride a motorcycle, I turned to the forums for guidance and input. Women learn to ride very differently from men, I soon realized. So a women's only motorcycle forum was a good place to start. That grew into my co-hosting a forum and eventually turned into an online sisterhood of women riders, Rumble Sisters Biker Sisterhood. Seven years later and I have met over 100 sisters in states across the US. We have been through births, deaths, marriages, divorces, medical issues, job crises, problems with kids and grandkids. We've laughed, cried, ranted, raved, hugged and more. Many of us have never met but we are friends for life.

Once I decided to go full-time RVing, I headed back into the RV forums that had been a staple in my previous RV life with my husband. Once again, the friendships formed. People like Nick Russell came into my life, becoming a friend for life. My blog brought more friends. Strangers would walk up to me, introduce themselves and say the magic words, "I read your blog".

Once I went full-time I became a member of the Escapees Class of 2007. Once again I had a new group of friends...found online and eventually met in person. We all still stay in touch via blogs, Facebook and email. We try to meet up whenever we can.

What defines a friend? I think each of us has their own definition. But I do know what defines a good friend...someone with whom I can share my thoughts without judgment, someone who will be there when I need a shoulder, someone who will offer constructive help when needed (and when not). Someone I can count on in some way at any time.

I have been fortunate to find most of my good friends via my online connections. Online connections that have turned into real life connections. Life is good!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

11 comments:

Sam&Donna Weibel said...

My wife Donna still laughs when I tell her. a true friend will be sitting on the bench next to you in the County Holdover saying,"yeah she did't look like a cop to me neither". Your right though the blogs bring friendship to a new level. be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

Jerry and Suzy said...

Donna, you and we know Nick Russell for a good friend. So you know what he wrote the other day about a friend: "A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when memory fails." We just absolutely fell in love with that definition, and plan to add it to our blog format.

Happytrails said...

Great post!!! I so agree with everything you said and I LOVE the quote by Jerry and Suzy in their comment, "A friend knows the song in y heart and sings it to me when memory fails." That is priceless!!!

THE BAYFIELD BUNCH said...

It is the line, "someone with whom I can share my thoughts without judgment" that stood out for me in your post. It's quite a chance we bloggers take out here in Blog Land when 'some of us' reveal our thoughts, feelings & emotions. Most fellow bloggers are respectful of that, but not all, & that is where the 'friends' definition really begins to define itself. I had many friends years ago but am now quite content with a much less stressful & quieter lifestyle .

Jim and Sandie said...

I have found such wonderful on line friends and I hope someday to eventually meet each of them in person. Before I started RVing I had never really used the internet except for looking up a few things. Wow, had no idea what I was missing. Love your blog - I've learned so much and I love the links you post. I'm still a novice at finding things so I rely on you and others to help me out. Thanks so much.

Lynilu said...

You said it well, Donna. Some of the friends I've made online have become close friends .... even though we've never met in person. And the ones I've been able to meet, even more so. The world today is just so different than the "growing up world" of my childhood and young adulthood. That's OK. Friends is friends is friends!

Good post, friend!

Rod and Loyce Ivers said...

I couldn't have written the "What defines a friend" paragraph as well as you did, but you have hit it right on the head. I think the online written word allows us to almost be more open than we could be in person. And perhaps that cements personal relationships that become stronger yet. Thank you for your insights.
Rod

Dennis and Donna said...

A good thing to remember..."A friend is one who walks in when all others walk out"...I love that one! Great blog, thanks!

Dave and Susie said...

I love your line of a good friend was one you could be apart from for years, meet up with again and chat like you had never been apart. Hopefully we will get to meet and become fulltime friends.

A new friend :)

Cyndi said...

I agree with Dave and Susie. We WILL meet some day - and until then, we'll be blogging and Facebook friends!

Nick Russell said...

Friendship isn’t a big thing, it’s a million little things. I treasure the friendship I have with both you and Stu.

Post a Comment

We're waiting.....