Looking at Friends

I wrote a post and indicated that I had visited in person with an online friend. I also stated that I had met several bloggers in person and that everyone is wonderfully interesting, kind, and yes – very REAL! Michelle (Michnavs) told me that she would like to hear about meeting my internet friends. So here goes:

As soon as internet chat rooms appeared, the debate on what constituted a friend started. Are the people you interact with online really friends? Or can you only count them as friends if you have met IRL (in real life)? I’m not sure about you, but I’m convinced that the people behind the avatars and profile photos who I interact with on a regular basis are indeed friends. I’ve come to the conclusion that reading another’s blog gives you a window into their world and their lives. Just like meeting face to face, it is the give and take and sharing who you are that starts the process of becoming friends. Over time, as you learn more you develop a relationship that deepens to friendship.

Xanga was a wonderful blogosphere. I had lots of people who I interacted with. My first online friends just so happened to be family members: Old Dog Sparky (husband), Gma_Joyce (mother), alibeshall and slccole (sisters), Viola4Money and Crispix_Fiend (sons), Napolean_Bean & Mr_Share (niece and nephew). Of course I already had met them.

The next friends from Xanga I met were at a Xanga Meet at the home of ZSA_MD. There I met her daughter SaadiaOnline, and several others including Harpos_Mark, Adventofreason, and Macphoto. It was a highlight of my time on Xanga. The connection with ZSA_MD (Zakiah) extended to her recommendation of a vascular surgeon, which I’m convinced saved my mother’s life! Out of that meeting I got to know Sandra aka Harpos_Mark and we visited her in VT during one of our travels.

Then I met saintvi. We live within the same area and decided to meet. I consider her my BFF. Who knew that I’d find someone who is like a sister through the internet! I then met joyouswind (her daughter) and BookMark61 (her now ex-husband). Saintvi and I get together all the time and even go on vacations together (with or without Sparky). She held a xanga meet at her house (many years ago) and I met Seedsower, Angie1972, Hereliesnelsonthegreat, and a multitude of her relatives that were online! We’ve gotten together with Nelson and his wife almost every 3rd of July, and on Halloween too. We visited their home when their daughter was born, went to her 1st birthday party, and even made a hospital visit when his wife was recovering from surgery. I’ve gone on a road trip with saintvi and Seedsower to visit Angi. Saintvi and I stayed with Angi’s parents. On a trip to visit my sister and mother in PA, we dropped saintvi off at Seedsower’s home. When we came back to pick her up, we got a tour of the greenhouse and her home. She gifted me with a “Lazarus” Daylily. I’d say that qualifies as friends….

When Sparky and I were traveling east in NY, we arranged to meet with Passionflwr86 and her new husband Ro_ad808 (who met through Xanga!) and had dinner together. On another trip we stopped in SC and had lunch with arnatmom! Later saintvi and I travelled to NY for a surprise birthday party for Seedsower. It was hosted by Aloysius-son and his wife lorilily. His family was there (Thankyee, dingdondingbat) and a bunch of friends from xanga: DreadPirate, Flashfosgitt, and Donkey-guy-10. We had so much fun. Although most are no longer blogging I’ve kept in touch on FB.

After I started geocaching I met some cachers that were also on Xanga: GeoPunk7242, PunksGF, Karhu_Kasha, TimWalshMI. We geocached in Winona Lake and met ata_grandma. She invited us to her home and even fed us! It isn’t too far from where son#2 now lives so I’m thinking we will visit her again soon!

When RighteousBruin9 was travelling across the state I invited him to stop by. I gave a tour of campus, made dinner and we put him up for the night. He has stopped by again and knows that he is always welcome! Some people are just easy to talk to and Gary is one of them!

Once my sister had her house in Florida, I arranged to meet Crystalinne. Our first meeting was at a mall. After that we have gotten together several times at my sister’s home and had so much fun – eating, playing board games and just having a ball! I’ve met her sons and even a boyfriend!

And lastly, saintvi has a friend from Xanga who was one of the Xanga celebrities – The Theologian’s CafΓ© (Theologian Dan) whose parents live not far from saintvi in MI. When he travels from TX, they always get together for a meal – I’ve been along several times.

So there you have it 36 that I’ve named and there were several others whose names have slipped my mind… I’ve met so many online friends who became in real life friends. And not a bad one in the bunch!

If you read this whole long post – thanks. Perhaps someday, when travel is possible, I’ll get to add your name to this list!!

110 thoughts on “Looking at Friends

  1. What wonderful expeiences for you … and I have had the good fortune to meet Gina ( alifelesslived_), when she visiting a family friend in Melbourne 2 years ago ..

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    1. Yay! I’d love to meet Gina and so many others! I’m glad to see you comment here and I’m honored! Perhaps if this pandemic ever loosens its grip I will finally be able to visit your country and meet some of the WP people I’ve only met online…

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  2. Most all the the names you quote , Val, are known from me from the Xangatime
    I started Xanga in 2001 suggested by Canadian friend but at the beginning i was disoriented because of the language . I had to learn again and quite poorly the English language ! πŸ™‚
    Then I got many and faithful online friends
    Love ❀
    Michel

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    1. Yes Michel! Even though we have not met in person I feel as though we are known to each other as friends should be. I started in 2007 and started following you at some point after that – it has been so much fun watching your family grow! My Xanga friends persist either here on WP or on FB…

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        1. Thanks Michel! I haven’t written a story in a long time. Perhaps I need to think about doing another one! It is quite the compliment that you thought they were fact instead of fiction!!! ❀

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  3. One day I will tell you a really funny experience of meeting an online friend. It is the only one I ever met and it honestly was hilarious. It was not a WordPress friend but somebody from a different forum. I was told a story sometime because it is so funny. Interesting to read about your experiences Val

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  4. I really like that you use their online names, which tell so much about who they are.
    I’m also in awe of the time you have for all these activities. I can barely get through the necessities of staying alive.
    But I do consider some of my WordPress acquaintances to be real friends. (K)

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    1. We make time for those things that are important to us! Yes many of the people had very telling online names. And some people would change their names. That always threw me for a loop (at least for a few moments). The give and take online, especially with poetry and art do allow a more intimate picture of the individuals I interact with regularly. I feel I have friends here who know me better than some of the people I call friends who I only see in person….

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  5. I remember so vividly and with such fondness, our get together here, in a small town along the banks of the River Mississippi. Loved having you, mom, Hanady, Reenie Mac and Sandra. I have also met Chris Schultz, who lives in Thailand, Janet Waters (slmrt) and Carlos ( I cannot remember his xanga id. He had two or three different ones)I have met a couple of other friends and also members of the family who used to be on Xanga.

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    1. Yes Dodi there have been so many who have disappeared or died. I still wonder what ever happened to Frank. And there were some who I know who died and yet FB still reminds me of their birthdays (like John Childress). It is sad. Yet I’m thrilled to still have many of the connections on WP!!!

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  6. Wow, as everyone is saying! I love that you met so many of the Xangans, and that you ended up with some good friends, too. Life is amazing. We are blessed. Thank you for sharing all of this!!!

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    1. Kim I followed you way back on Xanga and am so pleased that your are on WP! Xanga had a good run and I met wonderful souls there, WP is what we make of it and I’m trying to make connections and forge friendships – even when it is less cozy than Xanga it is possible to find kindred spirits! Indeed we are blessed!

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                    1. I can understand. I hope you and Wrangler can come to some agreement with your current employer. It would seem that your satisfaction would be important to them since there’s a shortage of truckers. I’d think they wouldn’t want to lose you as part of their business!

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                    2. We are on the middle of setting things up to be our own boss. It just is taking a lot of time and now we have to wait until February for the next step. There is constantly new drivers for the company and we all know why.

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                    3. Yes. They can somehow tell when they are going to lose someone – and then they push them hard knowing that they can’t quit just yet. It is a devilish situation to be sure!

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  7. You’ve reminded me how much I miss Xanga. Somehow that platform made it easier to find kindred spirits and interesting content. I’ve only met one Xanga friend IRL, Janet from the beach area and while she is friend material, she’s geographically undesirable, since I hate to drive. I can’t remember what it was about Xanga that was so inclusive and maybe I just don’t know my way around WordPress as well. Maybe others could teach me how to find good blogs, other than looking at the sites of people whose comments I like. WordPress seems to have a lot of sites that are designed to sell something and some are just so slick and professional looking that they lack the intimate feel of Xanga. I remain your fan and will follow you wherever you blog!

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    1. I always enjoy seeing your posts, but it’s been a long time since I’ve ventured into the Inland Empire! It was fun meeting you and getting together with you and Babs — as I regain my strength this year, I may try a visit in your direction during the spring. It would be fun to see you again.

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      1. Janet, If you do come this way, let me know, or have Val let me know. I live about an hour south of her. I don’t drive out of town anymore, but I might be able to get my daughter to drive me up there. I have a WP acc’t but I’ve never posted anything. I have no idea how to use it. I get Val’s entries and Michel’s on email.

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        1. I will definitely add you to the list of people in the midwest that I’d like to meet if I get that direction! It’s likely not to be very soon, as I will be waiting for Covid=19 to behave, and for my own strength to rebuild after the last year.

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    2. Judy I know how you feel – Xanga was a magical place. I’ve “found” people here doing just exactly that – looking at the friends of friends who comment, looking at the “suggested blogs” that pop up now and then, and searching key words. It was kind of that way on Xanga though it was easier to search and the “top blogs” and “featured bloggers” on the front page made it easier to find your tribe. Janet is another person I’m anxious to meet. You are right about the large number of “monetized” blogs but there are also a huge number of regular blogs too… you just have to do a little more sifting! I’m so tickled that you would read my posts no matter where I go! If this pandemic ever ends I want to head west again (a meeting would be a real highlight)!

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  8. I, too, have met a number of wonderful people through Xanga, and have kept ini touch with several through WP. It’s not as easy on WP, but I have also met several here as well. I do hope to meet you as well — perhaps as part of a trip eastward, or if you and Sparky should come out to California for a visit — I was sorry you weren’t along when saintvi and seedsower did their Rte 66 trek and met several of us in Santa Monica. I hope to begin traveling again soon, and possibly will expand my range as I regain my strength!

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    1. Janet I’m still sad that I couldn’t go on the Xanga Chick Trip with saintvi and seedsower. If only I’d been able to retire earlier! I’d have definitely gone with them!! If the pandemic ever lets go of the country, I definitely want to head west again! There are so many places and people that I want to see and meet – you are on the top of the list!! I hope your strength is returning and you can avoid the coronavirus in all its variants!

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      1. I hope the virus settles down in the not too distant future! I would love to show you some of my favorite beach places when you get out this way — yes, my strength is returning gradually, with lots of rest and more activity each day — and so far so good with the virus. I ordered free tests last night, hoping I’ll not have to use them!

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    1. It is amazing how much you feel like old friends when you’ve been reading someone’s blog – especially after years! To meet in person is a real treat and hopefully there will be more of that in the near future!

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    1. Thanks Janet. She is missed but we have confidence in heaven and a never ceasing memory. With my mother gone it is just us girls so we have grown closer even in the few weeks since she passed. I can’t imagine being an only child…

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  9. Don’t know if you ever heard of Old Hat, I follow him now on FB. I don’t expect to ever me him, he’s up in Flint TX way far from San Antonio. Some of the people you named rang a bell but that’s about all for my memory.

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    1. Yes I followed Old Hat on Xanga and still read his FB posts too. We had such a wide circle of friends on Xanga… I’m just pleased that you are able to come to WP and read and comment!

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    1. Gosh thanks! I try to put some positivity into WP. I feel that there are so many wonderful blogs and I’ve been lucky to find a lot of them! Your posts are among the ones that I stumbled onto and I’m so glad I did!!

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  10. Oh, I do hope you will come visit me again. I would love that! You are right; the people I have met from Xanga are all great and just like I expected. I feel like I know some of them better than I know people in my church that I saw every Sunday for years (pre Covid days, as I watch services online now.)

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    1. As soon as the danger from COVID abates I want to come visit (and I’ll drag saintvi along too)! Perhaps in the spring once the roads are in better shape and we can sit outside!!

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  11. wow that is a mass of online and RLFs! I’ve only met Miriam of “Out and About”, a very special lady with her hubby and son … Brian of “Bushboy” lives nearby but seems most reluctant to meet up. Would love to meet more πŸ™‚

    Enjoyed our brief eleven days of summer, now pelting rain again, weather is crazy! Hope to catch up with your other posts but have over 70 comments to attend to first so no guarantees πŸ˜‰

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    1. No worries Kate – I’m just thrilled to call you a friend. I hope to someday make my way to your country and do some geocaching in between meeting some of the WP bloggers like you and Brizzy Mays, and Ivor too!

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        1. It took me awhile to figure it out but yes, from the Brisbane area. It would be grand to meet all of my WP friends but until this stupid pandemic is over it doesn’t look like I’m going anywhere!

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                1. Yes it is very serious. But with the continuing mutations I can only hope that as the infectivity factor increases the virulence will decrease. That of course is a best case scenario. I do not want to entertain the worst case…

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  12. Wow! I can’t believe how many you’ve met from Xanga. It’s wonderful how many became good friends. That’s awesome. A lot of the names I recognize of course though some I was never a regular with. If I remember correctly I’ve met 5 in person and they were all exactly as they appeared to be on Xanga. I think I was limited in meeting a few others simply because I don’t travel much.

    I think many people may even be more open about their thoughts and certain aspects of their lives on a blog given the protection of a certain anonymity. I felt that way to an extent on Xanga even though in the beginning a few of Kendra’s friends had a blog there. I often felt I could talk about things and post poems that I would not have shown people I knew IRL. … Peace& smiles

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    1. That is entirely true about revealing ourselves online more fully than we do in person. My mother said she felt that she knew me better having read my blog! I probably wouldn’t have ever shared my poetry with my coworkers and family but with the Xanga (and now WP) friends I’m very willing to share. I think having met 5 online friends puts you ahead of the game as there are many who have never met any of the people they interact with online!
      Peace to you!

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  13. Wow! You sure have meant a good percentage of your online network! I remember many of the names you mentioned from xanga days and am a little envious that you know them and are friends with them! I have meant two xangans, one in NYC and one here in Cali. I have meant a friend from a HelloTalk app while traveling HK. I am on Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz trying to find friends too. Socializing is so difficult during pandemic! I have not met the majority of my online network and consider most of them network until we meet IRL and if we continue developing the relationship even after meeting because sometimes we don’t end up continuing developing the relationship. I have had many online friends tell me they consider me friends but would honestly prefer to invest my time together relationships IRL and tend to distance myself from online friends and texting buddies in hopes of gaining friends IRL.

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    1. There are those however whom I interact with online whom I can’t help but trust including you and Zakiah whose even exchanged snail mail with me. I hope we will all be able to makes friends readily again when pandemic ends!

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      1. I’m honored that I’m in the same category as Zakiah! She is one of my all time favorite people! I hope you continue to blog and expand your friendship network. Perhaps we will manage to travel again after the pandemic subsides. And who knows I may manage to make it to CA in the not too distant future!

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    2. I don’t differentiate between the friends – but having online friends has enriched my life beyond measure. The fact that I’ve met many in person and remain friends with them is a bonus! I have never felt that having xanga or WP friends has prevented or hindered me from forming friendship in person… If anything it has made me better at meeting people. Xanga was a special place and I do miss it but WP is starting to feel like home and the people on WP have been every bit as friendly and welcoming!

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  14. Hi
    I visited your site. I read some post. Beautiful written you. Beautiful write up friendship. I like. Iam so glad!βœοΈπŸ™

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      1. I thought I already commented, but I don’t see to see it. I do hope you will come and see me again. I would Love that!

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    1. I haven’t seen John posting on FB or WP – I’ve lost touch after Xanga folded… When you see him next let him know I’ve re-read his book of poems “A Year in the Life of Lonely” again and enjoyed it even more!

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    1. Xanga was a special place for sure… I loved that I got to meet so many of my online friends. I wish I’d have been able to meet more of them! But as this pandemic slowly dissipates I hope to travel and perhaps meet more of the people from WP… Dreams can come true!

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