I have some really interesting Internet friends, ie. those I’ve meet online first, that have come to be really good friends in real life. Some I’ve only meet once or twice in my life, yet we chat online for hours typically about business, but later we always seem to get into innuendo, off beat humour, and personal issues. You know the sort of conversation you’d have with a mate down at the pub after work.
The strange thing is with Internet friends, which tend to be separated by great distances, you just get a sense of who they are and their character through email, instant messaging, and/or VoIP communications (try Skype or Gtalk). What I find very odd and weird at times when I read email or IM chats from such friends, is I get a sense of the person’s state of mind, like their messages have been imbued with their emotional energy at the time of writing. Some might call it a psychic link, past life connection, instinct, or overly active imagination, but I can’t help think that there might be an extra something there that makes us sensitive to what they have written.
One such friend is April L. who initially contacted me by email about 6 years ago asking me to write her a Sendmail milter for a service she was offering her clients. We communicated by various means email, AIM, ICQ, IRC and over time got into some interesting conversations. A couple of years ago I had occasion to go to San Francisco on business and April L. made a special trip out from the east coast to meet me for the first time. Now there was nothing sexual in the encounter, but the bond of friendship felt between us was like we’d know each other since childhood.
April came to Europe for a business conference in Germany earlier this month with some other friends of hers in tow. Being in Europe, they decided to make a whirl wind tour of Greece, Italy, with a brief two night detour to Golfe Juan, 10m from Cannes, just so that April could renew our friendship and spend a day in Cannes to catch up with me. Must say the hugs we shared spoke volumes.
I have other friends local and far away that are just as well developed and some just starting. Regardless of whether they are new or old, lost or found, virtual or real life, all of them have been a source of good conversation, joy, sadness, and comfort at various times in my life and that I’m proud to call true friends.