Internet Friends vs “Real Friends”

As some of you know, this weekend la familia López went into D.C. to meet Claudia, who was visiting the area with her family.

I can’t believe that this was our first time meeting face-to-face. After only one year of knowing each other through Twitter, blogs and E-mail, I felt like I was being reunited with a childhood friend – someone I’ve known for a very long time. Our familias got along so well together all evening that when it was time to part ways and Claudia gave me a special gift, I actually started to cry a little.

It’s funny the reactions I’ve had to these friendships that have been sparked over the internet by people who don’t quite “get it.” These days making friends on the internet is common place in our culture – it’s normal – but a long time ago, it wasn’t seen so favorably. At best you were a social outcast who lacked the skills to make friends the traditional way – and at worst, it was something dangerous because you were befriending potential ax murderers who were going to come chop you to pieces.

In conversation with family, neighbors or co-workers, I would say “my friend” did this, or “my friend” said that – sometimes the person, (knowing of my excessive internet use), would stop me and say, “Is this a real friend or an internet friend?” … I have never been able to make that distinction.

Maybe I can’t bring you a caldo de pollo when you’re sick, but I’ll send you links to home remedies and keep you company online while you spend the day in bed. Maybe I can’t be a literal shoulder to cry on, but I know when the keyboard is dotted with tears just by the tone of your E-mail. Maybe I can’t rush to the hospital when you tell me a loved one has had an emergency, but I will text you and tweet you as you wait nervously in the waiting room. Maybe I can’t come over to your house for un cafecito y chisme, but we can do that almost as well on Skype. Maybe I can’t throw you a real life surprise fiesta on your birthday, but surprise packages in the mail can be just as much fun. Maybe I can’t be there for you, but I am HERE for you.

It might sound crazy, but without all of you, I would be a different person right now – I’ve gained so much encouragement and inspiration from you. Some of you know this because I’ve told you, but there are hundreds more who will never know. I may stumble upon a random blog post or read a comment you left me. You might say something that makes me feel curious or confident. That small moment of curiosity or confidence may lead me to try new things – those new things spark ideas and those ideas become words and actions. Those words and actions are expressed on my blog and in my life in real tangible ways… and my blog, so I’m told, has inspired and encouraged many of you… so around and around we go.

What I’m trying to say is, I have had the honor of meeting many of you face-to-face – and in the years to come, I hope to know many more of you – but whether I ever get the chance to tell you in person or not, know that I thank you from the bottom of mi corazón for being a real friend.

23 thoughts on “Internet Friends vs “Real Friends”

  1. Oye, Tracy! Loved the post. Gracias por tan lindas palabras y te entiendo completamente. And FYI, I may be in D.C. later this summer, jajaja :-)

  2. Amiga!!! Qué lindo post y tus palabras estás llenas de verdad. Mi experiencia es muy parecida a la tuya y gracias a Dios via Internet nunca he conocido un o una loca que haya querido perjudicarme; TODO lo contrario. He conocido gente simplemente maravillosa que usa el Internet para compartir cosas positivas y con la mente abierta a hacer amigos.
    Como bien dices, no estamos “físicamente” cerca, just a click away, para celebrar, aconsejar o simplemente leer tus inquietudes o problemas. Cibernéticos o no, los amigos son tesoros que la vida nos regala!

  3. BEAUTIFUL POST AMIGA!!!
    I feel really lucky (more like, blessed) to have come upon such a wonderful community of bloggeros from whom I´ve learned so much and have come to really LOVE and consider friends.
    Here´s to the day when we can all meet in some international blogging thingy!
    Un abrazo, querida AMIGA. :)

  4. I haven’t been online that long, and I would have been one of those people who think you’re nuts, but for the fact that I’ve recently learned that some of our connections online are just as close to us as any “real” friends or family. Really great post Tracy. I know exactly what you’re talking about here. ♥

  5. This made me cry. A few years ago I would have been one of the skeptical people making distinctions between “real” friends and “internet” friends. Now, I can not imagine my life without all my wonderful friends regardless of where I made them. I had so many worries during my last pregnancy and the beautiful caring human beings I came across online truly helped me get through it, feel supported, and know that I am never truly alone. I have a sense of community that I never had before. I think it has made me a better person offline as well because that sense of community is always with me. My online friends are no less real to me than my offline friends and I carry them with me always.

    Wonderful post. So glad you got to spend time with a friend.

  6. There are people I’ve befriended online that are always THE FIRST to comfort me in my times of need. Like you, I’m truly grateful to have them in my life. Great post!

  7. Exactamente! Everyone says “Your friend? You mean those people you stalk online?” With that raised eyebrow/you must be kidding voice. But you are my friend. We talk often. You inspire me to be a better me, listen when I have troubles, y me das sonrisas cada vez que juntamos. Que mas quieren? I say, no more labels or explanations. From now on, your just “my good friend Tracy” :)

  8. This is so beautiful and so true. I think you have the special ability to help people open up by sharing candidly from your own experience, and I hope you continue to do so!
    Whether you realise it or not, you encourage me and make me laugh everytime I read your writings! I think thats excatly what friends are for.

  9. What a great entry today. I know what you mean about making friends on the internet. I lost, I thought, a good friend once on the internet because of talk by other people. I love your log and read it everyday. I am on the internet everyday spending many hours reading news, playing games, and I am trying to find a job plus I love it when you talk about the soap operas. I am losing two of my favorite soaps at the end of this year and at the begining of next year so I have been watching the soaps on Telemundo and I am quickly becoming a fan. Keep up the great work and keep giving us entries like todays.

  10. I loved your post. Especially the now it’s normal but not before-I actually stumbled upon my husband online..I was not looking nor was we but we exchanged many messages through emails, chats and the forums we met on. We got married 3 years later and now 11 years together and 2 babies later, I have no regrets! To me online and off amigos spn amigos ;) thanks for sharing your experience :)

  11. Beautiful, Tracy. I completely relate to what you’re saying…the friendships I’ve made online are solid ones — with all the closeness and support that any other face-to-face friendship has.

  12. Bellas palabras Tracy! I’m glad we never met fever to face already but since then our friendship had grown so much. I consider you my friend too with no distinctions.
    I can’t get over how well you write… The “maybes” paragraph was the best!
    So glad you guys were able to meet!

  13. Your words are so true… I feel so lucky to have my new found and older friendships I’ve made via the internet. I love how you described all the ways you aren’t there but are here! What an endearing post! I loved it amiga!

  14. Fantastic post! It’s all so true! My real friends are my internet friends! My “real life friends” just don’t get it but you are all one in the same.

  15. I completely understand. Sometimes a “faceless” relationship can be more honest. My husband and I met over the phone thanks to a wrong number and spoke for hours for almost 5 months before we ever saw each other. No pictures or videos or Facebook. Just voices and words. It laid the groundwork for our relationship, which has overcome many obstacles thanks to the strength we get from being there for each other, even when we have been far apart.

  16. Ay, gracias amiga! Tu si me entiendes. Not like some of my in-laws. :P Whenever I’m talking with my in-law’s, I’ll mention a friend of mine and they’ll ask me who I’m taking about. When they realize that it’s not someone in town, but one of my internet friends, they roll their eyes and immediately dismiss it because in their eyes, you can’t trust anyone on the internet, let alone become friends with them.

    Some of my closest friends now are friends I made through my blog. I can’t imagine my life without them. :)

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