When I began my blog nearly 4 years ago, I never thought it would have such an impact on my friendships. Back then, I thought of my blog as a separate world and that my relationships were created, developed, nurtured and occasionally dissolved only in my everyday life. Never did it occur to me that people I interact with online could also become part of that everyday life.
Wednesday morning I styled my hair and put on makeup. I threw on my favorite new blouse and a pair of jeans and darted around the house looking for sunglasses, lip gloss and my phone.
It was obvious to Tori, my 19-year-old stepdaughter that I was going out. The first clue being that I wasn’t in my typical uniform of yoga pants and a sweatshirt.
She asked me where I was off to. I told her I was going to Sonoma for lunch. “Who with?” she asked. “Her name is Barbie,” I said, “I’ve never met her. We follow each other on Instagram.”
“Oh. Are you nervous?”
“Nope. Not at all.” And I meant it.
On my drive to Sonoma, I reflected on that conversation. I didn’t have the slightest twinge of nervousness, which is interesting because in the past I didn’t relish meeting strangers.
When I first started meeting people in person through my blog, I was terrified. I worried about how I would be perceived in person versus my online persona. I worried I might not click with them and would have to endure sitting through a meal, making forced conversation. But that never happened.
I have had so many wonderful, rewarding and fun experiences over the years meeting people through my blog or Facebook or some other social platform that I no longer find it weird, scary, or awkward. It’s part of my life now and I like it.
Some of my closest friendships are with women I met this way. Several I have met in person, a few on more than one occasion.
At first these friends were relegated to a “blog friend” category. I couldn’t bring myself to just call them “friends”. I had to add a qualifying word to it, as if there was something unseemly or suspect about it. Over the years, that has changed. I don’t care how we met, they are my friends just like my friends I met the old fashioned way.
I see the world of modern friendships and meeting new people evolving and given more value and acceptance. It makes our world smaller but also expands our network and our life experiences.
That I can call Jill, who lives 3,000 miles away in Brooklyn, and chat about fashion and blogging and planking challenges as though we had had many in-person interactions is pretty cool! I am confident in saying Jill and I would never know one another were it not for blogging. And not knowing Jill would be a real shame.
By the way, my lunch in Sonoma with my new friend, Barbie was lots of fun. We plan on staying in touch and are seeing each other again in April.
Barbie, who just moved to San Francisco from South Carolina only one week ago, is making her transition a little easier by meeting local people she interacted with online. If you’ve ever relocated to another city, state or country, you know how hard it is to make new friends as an adult. I wish I had had these resources available to me when I moved to Sonoma County.
What’s your experience making friends through blogs or social media?
How deep and genuine would you say those friendships are?
Do you see your friends who you’ve met online in person or is it strictly online?