Do you have lots of friends/acquaintances?

MariposaTraicioneraJanuary 4, 2007

I was on another forum (travel related) and there is a section where people chat about anything and everything much like it is here.

Anyway, this one person wrote a very sad thread about being friendless. She said that most of the people she knows these days are online! She has never met these people but have spoken to a few on the phone. I thought it very sad because I have lots of 'real' friends and of course family, so I don't depend heavily for 'friendship' online.

My main reason for being on GW is to help with my remodelling and considering we'll be moving to the bathrooms next and then the rest of house, I will be around for awhile. Nevertheless, as friendly or kindly as some have been here, I still need to communicate with my 'real' friends in person.

So do you depend heavily for support and friendship online? Do you have friends in your neighbourhood/city/state? I guess online 'friendships' are better than nothing, but how sad for some to be so dependent on friendships in cyberworld. Is this a trend? Maybe online communication is stopping some from reaching out to those around them?

I think it is sad though, but that's just me.

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I think it would be easy to fall into the online world head on.. teens do it all the time. For myself it's a fun distraction and there are people I care about but I have a rather extensive collection of people I know *in the flesh*..uhhhh ok that sort of sounds wrong .. but you know what I mean. Most are like extended family and through my homeschool group. We have parented together for 17+ years now so we are all quite close. In fact this weekend I am hosting a baby shower for 30+ "flesh people" and am looking quite forward to it.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 5:58PM
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"flesh people?" that sounds like something from a horror movie.

As for me, I don't think we have a lot of flesh people friendships. My husband and I both moved a lot after college and all our college friends moved away after college too. I spent quite a bit of time out of the country for my work, and my husband is a computer nerd so his friends aren't really friends in the old fashioned sense. We have aquaintances and friends through our daughters school but the chaos of modern life means that we don't socialize with them that much. I have lots of family and old family friends and we see them. But as for lots of friends, couples friends, people we go out with or have over to our house a lot? no.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 7:06PM
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A lot of Christmas-card-only friends I've lost touch with, yeah. Friends that I could count on TODAY in a crisis? No. I'm trying to change that.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 7:30PM
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Then I must be very lucky considering we have moved quite a bit and that's three countries, not just in the States.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 8:14PM
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Yes, I am lucky to have many close friends. I have 2 main groups of friends- my neighborhood friends and my work friends.

We have lived in the same wonderful community for 23 years. My children grew up here, and I am close friends with about 8 couples and friendly with a few others. We all get together as a big group for holidays and special occasions, and in smaller groups for shared vacations, golf outings, movies, dinners, ball games, poker for the guys, shopping for the girls, and endless phone calls, etc.

I have been teaching in a small private school for over 20 years, too. I have 5 close girlfriends there, and we go out to eat together every week. On weekends and holidays we go shopping and to shows. Occasionally, we go out with husbands, and we try to vacation together- with or without husbands- once a year.

When I have a party, I invite both of my crowds of friends, and everyone knows each other very well by now.

I, also, have one close friend from HS, one from college, and a few from where I used to live over 20 years ago. I speak to them on the phone VERY regularly, and see them a few times a year.

And then there's my family.... love them, too!

I'm very lucky.....but I must say that it takes a concerted effort to maintain good friendships. You must MAKE the time.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 8:18PM
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Artteacher, I was about to say the same thing you did about effort and friendship. It was very nice reading about your friends and all the things you all do together. Put a great big smile on my face :-).

Online is interesting and helpful at times, but nothing can beat the 'real' thing for me.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 11:56PM
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I have an amazing group of friends. In my neighborhood! On my street!! I have 6-7 people on my street that I could call on in one of those middle-of the night emergencies. There are 4 other people I could call on too, who live in town, but a bit further away.

I am soooo Lucky! We've been on this street almost 3 years. We moved in-town from a another neighborhood that didn't "click" as much for us....the kids run rampant, but almost all of us have the same values--moms expect all the kids to use manners and check in, and you know that your kid will be fed snacks if needed and disciplined and sent home if needed, too!

we have a pool and all the neighbors know it is "open". I get calls all the time "can we come over for a swim??" "answer is always YES"

In Dec, we started Moms night Out and hope to continue it monthly...

As to acquaintances--yes, to that too...can't go to the local grocery store without seeing at least 5 people I know...

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 8:01AM
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I think the cyberworld can take up a lot of your time and that could be where you neglect your rl friends; I personally have a lot of people I could call acquaintances more than friends; there's a big difference between the two, imo.

Between family and work, I don't have that much time to spend with friends so it can be a once a year lunch or dinner, and touching base once in a while by phone. I like to do things by myself and if I find myself with a free day or half day, I won't think of calling a friend; I prefer to take off on my own, have lunch and shop, on my own schedule.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 8:02AM
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Nope. Dh and I were just discussing this the other day. We have *no* friends to speak of; only acquaintances. We've had a devil of a time making friends who actually stay married, etc. Seems that when we do get close to someone, they end up splitting up, moving, or something else.

We're now quite gun-shy, and don't make friends easily because of this. We're really really trying to get out more and interact with people, but I find that we're very guarded, and it's dreadfully uncomfortable.

Also, since DH and I were quite the "wild youths" (Or youtz, if you've seen My Cousin Vinnie), we don't have a lot in common with the football-loving, collegiate crowd that we live around. It's all about which college/fraternity/sorority you went to, etc.

I find myself literally squirming in some social situations, because it seems that everyone knows everyone else from "way back when", and all of their kids know each other, and they've vacationed with each other, etc. I feel DH and I are very much "outsiders" looking in. Even if we're friendly, and can have fun at a party, we're not "in" a group a friends who hang out together or vacation together.

Makes me very sad sometimes.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 8:48AM
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Before I met DH I had a lot of "girlfriends" and a group of people I hung out with (I was in my late 20s). I also had my old high school and college friends who are scattered far and wide. I didn't really stay friendly with anyone from law school. Once I was with DH and going to Maine every weekend things sort of changed. The girlfriend group was always evolving, based on people moving, getting married, etc. Once I was not tied in to the group as much I was evolved out of the group, so to speak. One day I realized I wasn't invited to the annual Vermont skiing weekend. I shouldn't have been surprised, it was a "singles only" group (not stated, but that was the way it worked).

I was friendly with some Boston neighbors (one couple we've kept in touch with), but our Maine neighbors all have different lives than us. We are childless and in our late 30s and late 40s. We both work. All the women in my neighborhood are stay at home moms with kids under 12. My life if just different from theirs.

One of my college friends married one of DH's friends, so we see them quite a bit. She is my "go to" friend. We tell each other everything (which drives our DH's nuts). Now she is having a baby, so I know things will change. I am really happy for her though. I actually cried when she told me.

I still keep in tough with a few friends from high school. One is my oldest friend, since grammer school. But right now there is a wierd rift between us because her mother got in an argument with my DH, and it got ugly (very, very ugly). Long, hideous story. We are speaking, but barely.

I have lots of sort-of friends. People I talk to, etc., but I wouldn't really tell deep secrets to. Work friends, old friends through the family, newer friends.

And I have my sister. My mother used to say to us (when we would fight), "someday I'll be gone and all you will have is each other. Husbands can come and go. Children eventually move out. But you always have your sister". And how right she was. As a matter of fact, I think I'll call her today!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 10:32AM
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Actually, one of my newer friends suggested we start a 'girls night out' for the New Year and we're going to do so sometime this month. That's another way to make other friends or at least add some more acquaintances to your life.

Mitch, I too have my moments where I go out alone. I remember a neighbour's son who was very shy and spent all his time online. He kept saying that he had lots of friends and people who cared about him but they were all over the country, so he had no one to really hang out with. His mum eventually got him to join a chess club and now he spends less time online. Sometimes people get hooked into their online friendships/communities and forget the world outside.

Sue, my parents always say the same to me and my siblings :-).

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 10:59AM
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Thanks for asking, Mari! I have been fortunate because my parish church/school has been an on-going source of great friendships with people that we have a lot in common with. We didn't know anyone in Texas before we moved here, but we have found a wonderful community of families at our church. Though most friendships do not last forever, having a close friend or two or three over the long run has been vital to me, (like 10-15 years) and probably has helped my marriage as well. As fun as on-line acquaintances are (and are great for support and information), I think that the internet can sabotage the work necessary to form friendships because it's so easy to spend a lot of time online. But I am grateful for all the help I've received here on the many topics I've asked about over the years. Thanks to all of you for taking the time to help me when I've needed it.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 11:50AM
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Much as I find this kind of forum interesting, I have to say I don't really think of having online friends. I'm also not one of those people with lots of "girlfriends". I have a number of friends that range back to junior high and several that I've met over the years in college and at various jobs. One thing I have found is that as I've risen to a higher level in my company, I no longer have as many peers that I would be "friends" with like I did when I was younger. I try to stay in touch with the friends I've made over the years but it's hard.

Like sue36, we don't have kids and most of our friends do -so they've been busy with a different lifestyle for the last 20-25 years. The closer friends I've made over the years who are career people without kids like me are now located all over the country - so not like you can just go out for coffee or a movie. But it is fun to visit them or have them visit me - which we try to do at least once a year if not more.

I also work alot in a demanding job and when I'm not working I like to spend time with DH or sometimes just get away from it all and decompress. I'm seeing more of some of my friends now that their kids are off to college and this has been nice. I will say that DH and I are very close and do lots of things together. However if I have free time just to myself I'm often quite happy to do something alone - probably a symptom of a Myers Briggs I person doing an E job every day.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2007 at 12:18AM
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I spend a lot of time on this board and others similar. It really depends on what I am looking for...decorating/kitchen advice, parenting, running etc. I actually have a very close group of women that I have met online. I have known them for about 4 years. There are 80 of us that post on a private parenting board together. We are spread across the US, Canada, Portugal, England, Northern Ireland and Switzerland. I have met over 60 of them but I am just as close to the ones I have yet to meet. Yes we have our squabbles as any online friendship might but we are friends and how we met doesn't change that.

In this case my online friends have become my IRL friends and we have transcended the reason we met. We do several get togethers every year that just strengthens our friendships and confirms that it is possible to form very lasting friendships online. I do have other, neighbors etc but it is actually easier to keep up with a friend online via a post. IRL it seems like everyone is always busy and we mean to get together but never quite do. You know the conversation..."oh it has been such a long time" "We should get together" "Lets plan something" but somehow it never really happens.

At any rate I hope this makes sense.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2007 at 3:38AM
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sugarbreak--I have a group like that. except I've been on the same list for 11 years. Mostly US and Canada, but England, Germany, Australia, and Sweden as well...I've met about 2/3 of the women IRL and even attended the birth of one of the kids (and got to cut the cord!) That was so amazing to me. When my mom died, the first people I ran to my was my list...We've gone through births and deaths and divorces together, seen kids go off to college and graduate and get married and have their own kids....

I have another book discussion group on-line that I've been part of for about 4-5 years and have met a few of the women...I'm not as close to them as my other closed group, but I love to hang out there and get opinions and just chat about stuff...

I also post on another board that has to do with a sport I compete in. I've become really good friends with one of the women who I see at competitions, but she lives an hour away or I'm sure we'd hang out more...

On-line friends are always "there" if you know what I mean. You can type something as soon as you think of it...even if they won't see it for a while, instead of trying to track down busy RL friends....

I also have a few lasting friendships with people that I don't see often, but when we do see each other, the years just slip from HS and 2 from college...

I think all kinds of friendships have a place

    Bookmark   January 6, 2007 at 9:09AM
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I did read a response by someone on another forum where she mentioned having difficulty cultivating friends in person, but found it easier to spend months online forming these friendships.

I have belonged to various forums over the years dealing with whatever I was interested in at the time (knee injury, travelling, language study, GW for kitchen remodelling) but never thought to go beyond sharing online with meeting in person. Then again, it has a lot to do with having so many friends in real life coupled with family and my home life that I never had the interest.

But if it works for you then that's a good thing.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2007 at 11:46AM
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I don't think I'd ever limit myself to meeting new people and experiencing that joy. Some of my most dearest, long term friendships have been through meeting these people in bizarre or untraditional type ways.

Different people find support & friendship in different ways depending on their needs and lifestyle and really online communicating & subsequent bonds formed is a new world.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2007 at 12:22PM
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Let me elaborate as I'm not sure I've relayed my feelings very well. The Cooking Forum has many folks on it that have become dear & treasured friends, initiated through the internet. Through their common interests, respect for and availability to one another wonderful 'real life' friendships have been born.

Another example is my friendship with Mindstorm (I hope I'm not being presumptious). Prior to meeting her, I had admired her intelligence, thoughtfulness & compassion on board. Much more than likely, we would not have encountered one another in our daily life, but through our remodeling experience & common interests & goals, we were able to first have exposure to one another. Taking the step to actually meet, came easy (for me anyway). It would have been so sad, not to know her had I felt too busy or too 'complete' to make that step.

Like I said, the internet is just a new tool, a new way for folks that want to, to come together.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2007 at 1:38PM
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I think many more people "know of me" than know me.
It seems like everyone knows my kids, so I have many connections just by being a mom.
I work in a job where there are not many females, so everybody seems to know my name, but it takes me a long time to connect a name with a face.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2007 at 12:32PM
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Hmmm, lets see ... when I was a child, my great GREAT friends were: Robin Hood when I was very young, then later Sherlock Holmes, and then after that Mr. Spock (Star Trek, not the kid doctor). I had loads of kid friends I used to play with both at school and then at home in the evenings, but I had to make sure that I left enough time from playing to both (a) do homework and (b) read these favorite books. ;-)

I've made great friends online ever since the first days of blogs and fora and never felt that anything was lacking because of my online associations. The book friendships are perhaps a bit more onesided than others ;-) but otherwise my friendships are my friendships: online or real-life. I'm very close to my sisters - one is half a coast away and the other is a continent away - so our in-the-flesh meetings are not that frequent. Like abfab, others that I was great friends with in college have also moved as I did, and so we correspond by email and cards and the occasional cards. So, in that spirit, online friendships are not that different than many of my "flesh" ones. I have some local friends but it isn't like we see each other even every week.

As Pauline has mentioned, we became great friends online while doing our remodel and transitioned that to the 'phone friendship and even the occasional "flesh friendship" (god that sounds ... either libidinous or macabre I can't tell which) :-) . It came very easy to talk and laugh and joke together and even occasionally to lock-horns. But I respect both her integrity and cherish just how genuine and unambiguously sincere both she and Mr. PaulineS are. As far as I can tell, they is the sort of people you want to call "friend" - it doesn't make a difference to me where the friendship starts - online or in your neighbourhood. It only matters what sort of people you have in your circle.

How does your friend with the online circle of friends feel about her/his situation? Do they feel sorry for themselves?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 3:21PM
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I joined GW to get advice about my kitchen remodel. I never expected to make a connection with the other forum members. This is my first online forum experience.
On GW I have found laughter, tears and so much support from everyone on this forum. I discovered I am better at expressing myself with words that I write than words that I speak. There are vulnerabilities I have disclosed to all of you that I would not be able to speak about in person.
I have a lifestyle that is very different from many of you. This month I work Sat.& Sun. and have Mon-Fri. off. Two of my good friends work 5 day weeks and have husbands and children. Not many people are available during the week. My ex husband lives in my building and we are very close friends. We usually hang out a lot together but he has been staying with his girlfriend in Florida for the winter. (please don't ask, it works for us).
I love to take really long walks all over the city and wish I had someone to walk with more often. The older you get the less friendships you usually have. I had martial arts class buddies, but they were all men. I just signed up for ballet, maybe I'll meet people there.
I think having cyber friends is nice. As long as it doesn't keep you in the house and locked away from the outside world.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 3:57PM
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Fascinating question. I have what feels like--and may well be--hundreds of friends, and deep, dependable, meaningful friendships. Some from high school; several from college; many through my field of work; many through my children's schools and activities; many through friends of friends or activities. The older I get, the more friendships I have--I seldom lose touch with people. And I am very close to my family and my husband's family, as well.

My husband also is very social and has many friends, and many of those friendships do not overlap with mine. We find it more difficult to make friends as couples--often one or the other of another couple does not appeal to one or the other of us.

My problem sometimes seems to be that I have too many friends! I correspond with all of those who are not local (I used to live on the West Coast; I have friends in Europe; family in the Midwest) via email. A handful do not have email, and we correspond or talk by phone often. A friend of mine today said her dance card is full: she has no more room for more friends. I cannot imagine saying that, but sometimes I wonder if it is possible to have too many?

I don't have cyber friends, per se. For me, getting to know someone face-to-face is essential. After a friendship is established, it's easy to maintain in cyberspace, of course. But I have never made a meaningful friendship electronically.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 7:26PM
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GW has been my first foray into message boards, and now I feel I can understand my teenager better. It is a double-edged sword. I have a few times, had to consciously tell myself not to allow the electronic world to satisfy my socialization needs (used to do that with books as a lonely only as a child). It is fun to be able to have the instant group gatherings and conversations on one topic, and you do get to feel a sense of friendship. For the elderly and isolated, it's a godsend, I imagine.

My church friends are scattered over a 40 mile radius, my neighbors and myself keep very busy, so online is a nice adjunct. After all, who else can you talk to at 2 a.m.? :)

But my closest group is a local prayer group since we are united in purpose, share the same town and schools for our kids, and take once a month brunches after our prayer time. It is a branch of Moms In Touch, for anyone interested.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 8:31PM
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Awww Mindstorm, I just caught up reading this thread. Thank you and the feelings are most mutual. Ummm...flesh friendship?, lolol

Having a common interest in something so trivial as a kitchen remodel (comparatively, in a scheme of life way) allows folks to find other, more substantial commonalities, that wouldn't be discovered otherwise. Ok, too much deep thinking, my brain hurts.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 1:02PM
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I really like all the friends I have met on-line but they sure dont help when it comes to getting me off the couch to exercise. Luckily I have two really close girlfriends that are waiting for me right now for our weekend coffee and walk on the beach!
All my friends met different needs. You guys are all great!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 1:05PM
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Justadncr, I have met so many new people (in my city)because of our kitchen remodel. Was thinking about that last night. They all want to come to my kitchen party when we're finished :-). I still prefer this manner of making new friends.

As for exercising...DH and I go all the time to the gym. It's something we have always done together since we got married. I have always been slender and never had to work hard at keeping weight off, but exercising is good for everyone. Did you say "walk on the beach?" That's the best way to exercise!! May I join you? :-)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 1:24PM
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Sure come on over Mari. i live right in the middle of the state of Oregon on the coast. I suppose I would have to get on a plane to make it to your kitchen party. For some reason I think you are on the east coast. Am I right.
I have always been thin but each decade I gain 10 more pounds. I have always many benefits to exercise. I dance, do yoga, walk and go to the gym.
i do have to admit that with my remodel it cut into my time for those fun things. I seem to have something to paint or stain every night I come home.
i am finishing up painting the trim and I think I will be done. (Did I just say done?) I am sure there is always something.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 9:57PM
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Oh sure, here I am on the east coast, with no parties to go to....LOL!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 9:58PM
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cat mom - you can come to a party at my house. I live on the east coast. Everyone can come.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2007 at 11:33PM
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dancefit---Yay!!!! If we're ever finished here, I'll make something in my new kitchen to bring!!!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 9:58PM
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Interesting question. I have such different groups of friends. Some are very close work friends and we can talk about anything- but we don't socialize out of work, some are friends I have had for 30 years, know I can count on-we would always be there for each other-but don't up with too much or have much fun with. My best friend lives 3 hours away and we can talk about anything, would always be there for each other, and have fun together. I yearn for a group of close couples where we can all talk together, have fun together, and be there for each other. My friends are often not friends with each other and are too different from each other. My mom is also one of my closest friends. I guess I have to work harder to have a better social life...

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 5:17PM
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I live in a rural area. Most of the people I work with are men. Making in-person and local friends is hard. I have one very close friend that I used to spend a lot of time with, but she is dying of cancer right now. She will probably not last more than another month at best. I will miss her terribly. I am spending every Sunday with her and also visiting during the week. She is on such strong pain meds right now that I am not sure she knows I am there....but I know I am there so that's enough.

I have lots of internet friends that I have met through various internet boards. We have actually had several face-to-face get-togethers at koi shows in the past couple of years. I consider many of them to be real friends that I could count on in a crisis. None of them are local, the closest being 3 hours away.

I do wish I had more local friends though. My grown daughter and DIL are probably the closest things I have to local friends. They are both wonderful to be with.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 12:06PM
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