The Nature of Friendship

I just got done a bit ago reading a post written by someone whose blogging and viewpoints I’ve enjoyed and admired a lot over the last couple of years or more (don’t really remember when I found her). This post lays out her thoughts on Twitter and on cyber friendships in general, and after I read it, I found myself feeling a little depressed.

Why? Because I know that, while I love Twitter and enjoy the friendly nature of it – and really wish she’d come there too – she’s right. She is, you know. But I’m of two minds about this. I felt depressed because she’s right, and I don’t “really” know most of the people who I follow on Twitter, or whose blogs I read, even though I’d like to. Which is why I follow them, or read their thoughts. And why I write mine here. I’d like to know and be known.

On the other hand, I do feel like I *am* known, at least a little, through Twitter, and Blip.fm (checking out folks’ musical tastes there is really fun!) and through blogging. So that helps ease up the depression a little.

Of all the people I follow on Twitter, and of all who follow me, you could count on fewer than ten fingers the ones I know in real life. And some of those are co-workers whom I enjoy a lot and am very friendly toward, but who I never see outside of work. Experience tells me that no matter how much I like my co-workers and get on with them now, it’s unlikely I’d keep up much friendship with them if I left my job. That’s partly because I don’t live anywhere near any of them; our central point of connection is the workplace.

So are they “real” friends? What IS a real friend? Well, for me, my real friends are the ones who will go out of their way for me (come to pick me up for an errand when I’m carless, for instance), and, equally important, who let me go out of my way for them, let me “do” for them. They’re the people who share their lives with me, in other words.

Which brings us back to Twitter. The people I follow actually do that exact thing. They share their lives in little bursts with me and with all the other people who follow them. I respond to those little bursts when I can, and so do others. So, maybe it’s not “friendship” as defined by …who? Webster? BlogAntagonist? You? But I like it. There is a connection of some sort.

And, one other little thing. I disagree with BA when she says “For nobody can relate to another person in a way that is other than inane when one is confined to 140 characters.” I disagree because over time you can find out about and share quite a lot with someone in many bursts of 140 characters. Plus? It teaches one to be succinct. Which I haven’t been here, but hey, what are blogs for? 😉

And, oh, by the way? I’m grateful! for friends, online and off, and for the fact spring is coming…
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One thought on “The Nature of Friendship

  1. I totally get it. I had a comment about the number of people I have as “friends” on Facebook. The truth is in nearly 40 years, I have met a lot of people- do I know the favorite color of each of those friends? No, but I do know them all, just in varying degrees and this is really the only way I can keep in touch. We now have so many tools to reach out and isn’t that the point? To reach out?

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