Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Imaginary Friends (Or I See Unreal People)

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Most of us who write or contribute on internet forums and blogs will at some point or another make the ghastly mistake of mentioning something to irl (in real life) friends or family. The conversation may go like this:
Friend: "My friend told me that there is a new therapy for kids with ASD, you inject them with sheep's liver and it clings to the heavy metals and helps purge them from their bodies and will cure them."
MM: "Ah, yes I was discussing this with cybermom just yesterday."
Friend: "Cybermom? That is a cute nickname, do you know her from school?"
MM: "No, we are on a parenting site together, I've known her for a few years now. She is really clued into all the cutting edge developments with ASD. I tend to ask her about anything new I hear on the grapevine."
Friend: "Ooooh. One of your imaginary friends *cue condescending little laugh*. Not a real friend. I've always found people on the internet to be a little strange, don't you?"
MM: "No. Do you think I'm weird?"
*Crickets chirrup in the otherwise dead silence
or the longest conversational pause in history*
Friend makes lamo excuse and leaves, quickly.

I have discussed before how I have made some wonderful friends here in internet world. You may have read of the fantastic night I had a couple of months ago with a friend I had known or known of for several years but had never before spoken to or met in the flesh. She only lives a little away, and I would class her as a new but good friend. Since our initial foray (and after bumping into her at the local shopping centre once) we have now caught up a couple more times, the most recent being last weekend at a local winery. Who leads who astray I am not sure, but I do know we laugh a lot when we are together, and never have those awkward silences that sometimes litter conversations with new people in your life.

Yes, I am the old fat one on the left...

Personally, I think she looks pretty good for an imaginary friend, don't you?

I also have another friend of many years standing. We met irl for the first time in 2007. We have since kept in constant contact (she lives interstate, though I am working on changing that), and I would class her as a very close friend. So close we would happily take on her son for life, should she need us to do so. She has stayed with us, with her wonderful son, and we really click. Our thoughts on our boys, very close in age, and how the world treats them, is on a par. I must admit though, she is the more rational one in on-line arguments and tends to allow reason rather than emotion to flow in her posts. I hope she moves here as she wishes, and we can support each other on a constant physical basis, rather than emotional support over the miles (not to belittle how much it means to have this).

Then there was the amazing coincidence when I stumbled across an irl Mum at our little local school whose photo I recognised in a comment on a blog I follow. After much deliberation I approached her, and have begun to get to know her a little more each time our paths cross. She is a lovely person, and funnily, is a close friend of one of my close friends. Her busy life has taken her away from blog world for a while, but I am hoping it is not for too much longer.
 *Hi Waffler! You are missed!*

And of course I now add the wonderful Ro onto this crossover list. Although she too is many miles away, I can see this long-distance friendship will evolve over phone lines, and hopefully into face to face in the not too distant future.

In  fact, you know what? I think it is my internet connections who have gotten me through the dark days, it is my on-line friends who are my safe haven, the place where I come when life is too damn hard, and my stupid pride won't allow me to let others in. It is you bunch of people commenting, cyberholding my hand, and invisibly patting me on the back as I brokenly spill my guts, who pull me back from the brink time after time. 

So, to all those nay-sayers who think these are not real friendships. You are right. Seriously, you are.




These are unreal friendships! The best there is.



23 comments:

Ratz said...

Amen....

Loved this post.....

Wanderlust said...

Let's raise a glass then to unreal friendships! Hear, hear!! I think you know my position on this, having relied heavily on my unreal friends this past month. My IRL friends are not always available. My bloggy friends are always there. Amazing. Nice rack, btw.

Lisa said...

Back in the bad old days, before the interwebs, finding a circle of friends was soooo geographic. If there wasn't somebody of your particular minority in your neighbourhood, you were home alone. Same for the children - the more of a statistical minority they are, the less likely they will find like-minded people to befriend. Add in the www and the odds get much better.
I love my interwebs.

I've just joined the blogosphere, but spent many years in the realm of email groups, swapping tips and sob stories with some wonder-friends from around the world.

Madmother said...

And the bonus, WL, is when I take my bra off I have not a wrinkle in my face! :-0

Lori @ RRSAHM said...

Damn straight.

PinkPatentMaryJanes said...

How sad that this woman doesn't have access to the amazing range of friends you find on line. And damned straight I consider so many of you friends. What is a friend? Someone you care for, who cares for you, you share giggles and tears, interests... I've done all this with people that I couldn't point out in a line up - yet I still consider some closer than some of my irl friends - mainly because I catch up with them more often. x

That One Mom said...

I love my unreal friends in the blogosphere. They are some of my besties! I feel I've become a part of such a great community here, I even had a button made for it!

Ro said...

Awww, thanks, would love to meet up with you, too! :)
And I wholeheartedly agree with this post, so often my unreal friends have helped me get through a rough patch cos RL friends were busy with their own issues.

Cate P said...

I go through the same thing, I start to say "One of my friends..." then I cringe because I know the next question will be "Who?" or "Where do you know them from?" "Is that a school mum?" etc blah blah. And their response to my "It's someone I met on Twitter" or "it's a blogger buddy" is eerily similar to what you get. Raised eyebrows, shake of the head, rolling of the eyes.... and that's just from my husband.

Thea said...

Excellent post!
If I had a glass (it's only 11:52am, a little early) I'd raise it to online/unreal friends.

Argentum Vulgaris said...

2D friends and 3D friends, often I think the 2D friends are the better.

AV

Fe said...

I hate that chirrupy-silent moment when you try to explain web-friends to irl friends. HATE IT.

I have a good friend who seriously believes that anyone who makes friends on the internet must be a sad sicko who sits in darkened rooms watching kiddy porn.

But I'm with you! YEAH to all the UNreal friends I've made on the internet!! And "boo hoo" to all those condescending irl's who refuse to understand what it's really all about.

Walter Knight said...

No wrinkles? Proove it. I want pictures.

Madmother said...

Ah Walter, don't wanna scare the kids, do we.

Lovely to see you here, how is your frozen ass?

Mothership said...

Awesome, awesome, AWESOME post! (I am feeling a little biased right now, I'll admit...)

There are certain people I just don't even mention my imaginary friends to anymore because frankly, they wouldn't understand.

More and more, however, I am realising that the make-believe buds are the best.


<3

Madmother said...

You - biased? C'mon (in best Leyton Hewitt voice whilst doing turkey beak hand gesture)...

Walter Knight said...

My butt is fine, thank you very much for asking. My imaginary friend helped me to thaw out. How about we both scare the kids?

I don't like to discuss my imaginary friends, for fear of the net people.

Wine tasting? Sometimes I buy wine at a small winery just because I like the pretty label. Have another glass.

Wally

Mistress B said...

Well said. My unreal friends have gotten me through some of the toughest times in my life.

And Ro really is a doll. I met her a few weeks ago after a couple of years of emails and phone calls. I think I'll keep her ;) lol

Madmother said...

Wally/Walter, I actually was refering to your pack mule who carried all the supplies to the Antarctic for you, but hey, if you wish to share...

It is arse here in Oz, asses bray. Cheers!

fiona2107 said...

what a fantastic post!
I absolutely LOVED it.
My Mother in law is always telling me how "concerned" she is about my "imaginary" friends and she freaks out that "the whole world" can potentially read about my life.
yeah.....it's not called the world wide web for nothing! duh!
Fi :)

Walter Knight said...

Yes dear, it is tough being divided by language. I'm still getting used to Mum / Mom.

A Farmer's Wife said...

If you can make contact with like minded people that you "click" with I don't think it matters where you meet them...

I liked this post.

Hi From The Fibro.

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

Oh, yes. I'm hearing you. I have these conversations with my IRL friends all. the. time. When I told my Mum I was going to meet with some blogging friends on a trip to Melb last week, she freaked out. Thought they were going to steal me away and lock me up somewhere, never to be seen again.

Yes - there are dodgy people online...but most of them are not! I've 'met' some great people online that couldn't be more supportive of me. It's a great world.

x