There are many places to make new friends. Bars, churches, work, clubs or even the grocery store. Another place is the Internet. The ‘net can be a treasure trove of new friends from all over the world or it can be a scary place where all the creeps find you. When online friends talk of meeting, they will often talk of “in real life” or IRL.
I’ve been “online” for about four years. I’ve been a frequent regular in a variety of Yahoo chatrooms and made lots of friends, lots of people I thought were my friends and even a few enemies. I have always enjoyed the anonymous factor of the net. I can choose who I talk to and what they know about me. The problem becomes when you become too comfortable and share too much of yourself, but that’s another blog.
When I first started getting online I’ve always had a rule about not meeting from online. I didn’t even like chatting with people who live nearby because I didn’t trust them completely. I would talk with a few people about possibly meeting but it never came to fruition, thank god. There was one person I met from online but she was harmless. She’s a 60 year old friend with Spina Bifida.
A lot has changed in the last year, however. I don’t know if I’m being more brave (stupid?) or if I just trust my judgement more. But I’ve met several people from online. Some are from chatrooms, others are from MySpace.
Take a look at me and my friend Teresa who I met yesterday after three years of being online buddies:
For the most part, my IRL meets with online friends have been a positive experience. They all have been a learning experience.