Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How do you define a friend?

 Don't feel bad if you're a friend and you don't see your pic - I have very few pics of friends who read the blog!!!

With the whole Facebook/ Twitter/ blog thing, my definition of friends has broadened a lot.

Except for Twitter because I still hate it.

Moving on.

I said to my boss the other day about a girl who used to work at our company, "we're Facebook friends and lunch friends" meaning we chat on Facebook a bit and now and again, like once every 9 months or so (sadly, because we were good work friends before she left), we have lunch.

I have friends I used to go to school with, friends from university, friends from each place I worked at, friends from church, a friend from the NICU, friends from the infertility group and of course, you, my blog friends.

I'm not unobservant so I noticed how people's eyes narrowed in suspicion when I first mentioned the phrase blog friends so now I say, "my friend in Kentucky" or "my friend in Cape Town".

My definition of friends has widened and yet, in some ways it has stayed the same.

I have always been about reciprocity, connection and about quality of relationship.

There's not much of a difference (for me) whether I see you in person or whether we email, but rather in how we connect.

There are some real life friends that I know squat about because they don't share anything with me but the stuff everybody can see on Facebook and then there are some blog friends who I really get because I know you so well, either through your blogs or... my favourite, through the back and forth emails after the comment is posted, either by me or by you. Love it!

I think this may be because I value connection.

I say things like "oh, I know her through __________" or "we have a friend in common" or "I used to work with her at X-company" or "we used to be close like this but now we just chat on Facebook".

What do you think?

Do you see all your friends as the same, or do you make subtle distinctions and what are those distinctions based on?

PS Remember my preferred way of engaging is ALWAYS face to face over a coffee/ lunch. But since we can't do that here, let's just pretend we're talking heart to heart.

Just as I was about to click publish, I had a funny feeling so I checked back and see I wrote a post like this 18 months ago. It's here if you feel like reading it.


  1. Reading what you say about blog friends vs real friends, I do get what you say. I know more "real things" and more things about my blog friends, than what I know about my real friend/s. Come to think about it, isn't it sad? Makes one think or reconsider one's "IRL" friends, doesn't it?

  2. My definition of friendship has really broadened over the last year or so, too.

    I have a few "in real life" truly close friends. Two or three of them I talk to every few days / at least once a week. And there are a couple of others I don't get to talk to / see as often but who are still very dear.

    I have a handful of mommy friends I've made since the girls were born. I'm so thankful for them, as our kiddos are about the same age, and it's so great to be able to relate to someone in the same boat, face to face. (And I love that my girls consider their kiddos to be their "friends"!)

    And of course there are my blog friends. I agree...there can be eye rolls when I mention "blog" to those outside our little world...but my hubby is very used to me saying "my friend in South Africa"...and so are the girls, too! :) :)

    While the use of technology today can certainly distance relationships, there's proof in my mind that it can create them / strengthen them, too. Without a doubt I consider several of my blogger connections true friends...we know each other really well, and we support each others' joys and challenges.

    And sadly, I agree with blackhuff in that sometimes the connections we have online can call into question the actions of IRL friends, too.

  3. I love having lunch with my friends, but that doesn't happen as often as I like due to our conflicting schedules. I'm not a telephone chatter, but I do love to make a card for them and send it with a note, or e-mail and of course, by blogging friends. Only certain friends inspire the confidence that what I tell them will be kept confidential, so they are my bbf's

  4. Isn't it sad that we tend to know our blog pals better than our IRL friends? It is as if we share so much easier, are less worried about what people would think or say. I love it that many of my blog buddies have become IRL friends. I am IRL friends with many of them now. Blogging have enriched my life a lot.

  5. For me, a friend is someone I can confide in. I'm a pretty open person, so for me, that could be a lot of people even if we aren't so close in a see-you-all-the-time kind of way. "Blog friends" can certainly be confidantes, despite not meeting face-to-face, so haven't changed how define friends because of my internet relationships.

  6. How do I define a friend?
    Very simple: For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. This is probably very black and white and even rather corny, but for me it really is that simple.

    I don’t see all my friends as the same. Like you, I have FB friends (only recently as I’ve always been conscious about friending people who are not in my real life), twitter friends, blog friends and VERY FEW IRL friends.

    My IRL friends consist of acquaintances and tea-drinking (or wine-drinking) friends, movie friends, Mommy friends, knitting/crafting friends, deep connection friends and party friends. They are not the same at all and the criteria would depend on various things.
    I tend to look at what is lacking in my life and how they could add to that. I tend to look at a need (specifically a need like deep connection which is essentially what I’m about) and based on that I would decide which category of friend someone falls into. SO yes, there are subtle distinctions. Yes, this does occasionally complicate things because I would sometimes prefer a “one-size-fits-all” friend, and yes, this is also OK because variety is the spice of life and all that.

    I am rather sad that my online friends “know” me better than my irl friends and that I feel more free and at ease with them. I am working on certain real-life relationships to try to change this.
    Great post!

  7. I have been thinking about this too lately...over time, as we have gotten older...our circle of friends has gotten smaller...but closer. I value them more than anything.
    I agree with you and everyone else...I feel like i know my blogging friends more than some of my real life friends...

  8. I must say that I LOVE the blatant honest I find in the blog world. Both giving and receiving. Also, being a not-so-social butterfly, I almost prefer this virtual friendship. I'm horrible to keeping dates and tearing myself away from the house.

    While I don't think my definition of friend has broadened as I was never really social IRL, I do find myself censoring myself. I never say "blog friend" unless I'm talking to DH. Instead I have "a friend down south" or "from SA" or one of my regulars starts off "my friend with twins..."

    IRL and online I keep my friends circle small. It's too much trouble to stay in touch and keep up with heaps of people for me. If I see my best friend once a month outside of work it's a small miracle. My time is valuable to me, as I'm a home body, so IRL people have to literally schedule me. Not a let's get coffee, but a Tuesday the 12th at 7pm for coffee at the Avenue. I think that makes me a bad IRL friend. But online I can post and read at my leisure which suits me so much better-and I don't feel like a bad friend for not following up on a vague date!

  9. Just Sunday I had a rather crappy friend day and ended up in tears about it all. Then I said to hubby how sad it is that some of my best friends are people I have only met once or never IRL. I count you as one of them.

    I do think that the SA diaspora is certainly not helping.

  10. I define a friend by someone who is always there for me, no matter what. Someone who I have a lot in common with and someone who I can be myself with and chat about anything and everything! A face to face friendship is always the best type of friendship!

  11. I always talk about 'my blog friend' this or that LOL
    I'm sure people think I'm a dork but most of my local friends I've met online, so they already know that LOL

  12. I have blog friends, gym friends, preschool mom friends, college friends, high school friends, and all sorts of things in between...it's my stupid little way of organizing things.


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