Tag Archives: online

I’m Dumping The Labels And Embracing ALL Of My Friends

My grandmother knew how to have friends. She had many. Some were closer than others but she really knew how to nurture the important ones. I loved how she handled the balance.

When I was growing up I wanted to be like her but I couldn’t. I wasn’t the life of the party. I didn’t like being the center of attention. I was picky, I told myself. That’s why I have just a few close friends. I had varied interests in high school that kept me from connecting with just one group. I was an athlete – I had a few close friends there. I sang and was involved in theater – I had about 2 close friends in that group. And I was in some accelerated classes – a bit of a nerd, if you will. Since I was involved in athletics and theater the other “nerds” thought I was cool. Many of them really wanted to be my friend but they were “nerds” and I was an idiot high school student. I stayed on the fringes in my nerd classes.

My daughter is my opposite. She has about 10 best friends at age 17. And then about 50 “close” friends. Her Facebook friends number over 1000. Everyone she meets she considers a friend. I’m not sure this is a good thing.

And now, in my adult life, I have about 5 good, close friends I could call on with any problem, any joy. I’m happy with that. It’s a good number. Not as many as my grandmother and certainly not as many as my daughter – but I’m hoping she’ll become a little more discriminate as she gets older.

What I didn’t count on when I started my blog were the friends I’d meet here. Submom from The Absence of Alternatives, in one of her recent comments here,  pointed us in the direction of a very interesting blog post about internet friends and distinguishing them from “real friends.” Melissa Ford  believes there is no distinction. Friends are friends. Whether you met them in a class, at a party, in the mall or online.

As I revealed in a previous post, I met my husband online. This isn’t anything I was ready to shout from the rooftops. When people would ask how we’d met I’d often say, “At a health seminar” which was partly true. But not the whole truth. And I was ashamed of the whole truth. Meeting online, back then anyway, seemed desperate, unseemly.

When I talk about any of you to my “real-time” friends I preface it with “online friends,” as if, somehow, you are all less than or “un-real.” My real-time friends (who don’t blog or converse online with people they’ve never met in real-time) don’t get the level of intimacy we bloggers are able to achieve with one another. They don’t understand how I feel like I can truly “know” any of you. But reading Melissa’s article has me thinking – and I’m thinking that I know some of you better than I know my real-time friends.

And the more I write about this the more I am ready to abandon these labels of “real-time” and “online” when it comes to my friends. Quite honestly, there are days when I spend more time with you here than I do with my other friends.

The beauty of the internet is that it strips away pretension. Here we are basically the same. Sure, we can decorate our blogs to reveal certain things about ourselves. We can pick and choose what we want others to see. But for the most part, the ability to make judgements about others based on income level and appearances is more difficult.

Our writing reveals our true selves. Good, honest writing is what I’m drawn to. And good, honest friends are what I’ve made here. Real friends. In real-time. Oh, we haven’t met face to face but the time I spend with them – reading their posts or emails, commenting back – is very real and takes a good bit of my time.

So, like my grandmother I am nurturing the relationships that are important to me. And I want all of you to know, every minute spent here in Blog World has been worth it.

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You Met Your Husband Where? Online, Of Course

What’s more embarrassing than saying that you met at a bar? Admitting you met online.

Aidan at Ivy League Insecurities wrote a post the other day about where she and her husband met. And she is finally comfortable admitting that they met at the neighborhood bar. She wasn’t always comfortable. Vague references were often used, “Oh, we met in the neighborhood.” Which reminded me of myself. Only I’d say, “Oh, we met at a health seminar.”

Which was true.

Honest!

Cross my heart and hope to…..ok, well…..it’s sort of true.

I was married before. Quite young. To a man 10 years older than me. In my “oh so wise” early twenties I thought I knew myself, what I wanted, who I needed. I was so wrong. He was 31. Comfortable with who he was, what he wanted, what he needed. I was a baby – merely 21 years old. What did I know of love, life, marriage, myself? Nothing, as it turns out.

I grew. He didn’t. He had already grown. We were nothing more than roommates by the end of our 10 year marriage. With infertility testing and a beautiful baby girl adopted from Korea between us. We weren’t good for each other anymore and we were a horrible model of what marriage should be for our daughter. So we divorced.

Enter the internet.

What an amazing place! Chock full of interesting facts, figures and people. I enjoyed my online “friends.” But I like that they stayed, well, online. I had no desire to meet people face-to-face. I was a single mom. A teacher. Surrounded by students and colleagues all day long. Somewhat introverted, I LOVED my downtime. The peace and quiet of home. I dated a little but my primary focus was my daughter and my job. In fact, when my daughter was home I did not enjoy an active social life. Except for my Junior League responsibilities I rarely hired a babysitter for her. If she was visiting her dad, only then would I go out.

But my health – my gynecological health – had never been formerly diagnosed. Because I always knew I wanted to adopt, former-husband and I never pursued the whys of my infertility. I’d had troubles with my periods, tipped uterus, endometriosis since my teen years. I’d already been told I may have difficulty getting and staying pregnant. So, not a surprise when the difficulties began. But now I was a 32-year-old single mom. I still had irregular periods. Pain. I wanted to stay healthy to be able to raise my daughter. But the doctors could only suggest more tests and surgery. The tests and surgery required to find the answers, I wanted to avoid.

I poured over the internet. Absorbing information. Joining message boards. And I found an online chat regarding infertility. A panel of “experts” to answer your questions. I signed on at the appointed date and time. The rest, as they say, is history.

Interesting “speakers.” Interesting questions. Interesting answers. But none that really pertained to maintaining health. Just about all of the questions related to how to get pregnant. The questions I posed were largely ignored because the audience wasn’t really interested in my questions. My future-husband noticed this and private messaged me. He told me he had some information I might be interested in and to email him with specific questions. He’d get back to me.

And he did.

So our email friendship began. Writing about health. Writing about wellness. Then writing about books, movies and current events. Soon we were just writing. Every day.

This went on for about a year. And then there was a “live” health seminar in Atlanta. He was going to be there and would I join him for dinner? My heart went pitter-patter.

When I first laid eyes on him, when I first saw his beautiful blue eyes, I got this feeling in my heart that I was meeting my dearest, best friend from kindergarten and was just now seeing him all grown up. I don’t believe in love at first sight but there was definitely something to this first meeting in real-time. Something wonderful.

After our dates (we also went hiking – one of our favorite pastimes) he left to go back west where he lived. We went back to emails and now phone calls across the time zones. We made the effort to date long distance with visits back and forth. It wasn’t enough.

And since I wouldn’t tear my daughter away from her father, my future husband moved here.

So we DID meet at a health seminar.

Twice. Once online. Once at a convention center.

I met my husband online. And I can now proudly say, I’m so glad I did.

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