Long distance root growth.
Today I awakened worried. And very much so. Worried about a man I have only spent a few days with. But a good friend none the less. It amazes me the friendships that can grow out of internet interaction. I once dismissed the idea of making a good friend online. I mean, there are many of the normal friendship moments you just can’t have with someone you have not met. But over the last 10 years or so, I have become close friends with someone. And until this year we had not even spoken face to face. Though we have talked with typing, and our voices on ventrilo, and skype and other voice programs, seen pictures of each other. Our friendship grew online. This year we invited him to our city, to spend the weekend. Cautious as I am, my wife and I met him in a public place, with another friend of ours. After spending the day making sure he was in fact the guy we had gotten to know over a decade, we invited him to our home for the weekend, with our kids. Not a trust I give lightly. Very few are the people who I would invite into my home, with my kids, while I sleep. So this morning I woke a little after 5am, afraid that I might lose a friend. Granted the surgery he was scheduled for is an outpatient one, but things happen. He just sent me a text saying he is alright. So I can move along in my day without that worry.
I start to think about the other friendships I have nurtured with people I have not met. And realize that making friends online, while some think unacceptable, seems rather natural to me. Friendships are not about location, they are about shared interests and ideals. About wanting to spend time with someone, and caring about how they are. Yes, being “in person” is better then online. But making a friend online should not be dismissed.
Now that we have met him, we hope to have him visit once or twice a year, if life permits. And my wife and I have even considered moving to where he lives. As there is a house next door to him that is available. It is a slim chance, as many other factors in life need to be considered. Her job, our families, the fact that the house is one room to short of what we want. hehe
The next time you are chatting with someone online, remember, they are real people. Sure, people put on masks online, but the truth is they do that to your face as well. Treat everyone online with the same respect you would if they were inches from your face. Who knows, maybe you will make a real friend, maybe even fall in love.