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The Nature of Friendship

February 2, 2010

A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be.

〜 Douglas Pagels

I have been pondering the nature of friendship lately.  I’m not sure why, but for some reason I have been thinking about it a lot, so I decided to blog it in the hope that maybe that would sort my ideas out a little!

Without friends, no-one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.

〜 Aristotle (384B.C. – 322B.C.)

The thing that I am pondering is this:  Are online friendships as valid as ‘real-life’ ones?  Can you ever really know someone if you have only ever met via a computer monitor?  Are virtual friendships real?

Friendship is the golden thread that ties the heart of all the world.

〜 John Evelyn

The answer to all the above questions, I have concluded, is yes.  Obviously I love and care about my real-life friends.  That goes without saying.  But I love and care about some of my online friends, too.  Some of the people that I have met through the wonders of the internet are as special to me as any friends that I have elsewhere.  Of course, you have to be more careful, more selective, when you can’t see the person on the other end of the conversation.  But, in my opinion, as long as you are fairly perceptive and keep your wits about you, there is no reason that real friendships cannot blossom online.

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.

〜 Albert Schweitzer

I know that there are people that I have never met face-to-face, that I would do absolutely anything for.  That I would lay myself on the line for.  That I would go to the ends of the Earth for if they were in trouble and needed me.  Yes, they are a select few of the many, many friends and acquaintances that I have made in my last few years online – but they are as real as either of the BFFs who live in my town.  And let’s face it:  How many of us have been hurt by real-life people that we have known for years, that we trusted, that we loved?  People are capable of hurting each other regardless of location or communication medium.  Often, I find it is those people that I have only ever talked to online, who are the first – or even the only ones – to offer congratulations or commiserations on life’s great events.  In fact, sometimes they are the only ones to do so…those that are close physically may not be the ones who are close emotionally.

One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives.

〜 Euripides (408B.C.)

It is my belief that friendship can cross boundaries, countries and continents.  You can’t be friends with everyone, but when you find someone you really connect with, don’t dismiss them because they happen to be on the wrong end of a broadband connection.  All true friends, regardless of where they may be, should be celebrated, cherished and loved.

There is magic in long-distance friendships.  They let you relate to other human beings in a way that goes beyond being physically together and is often more profound.

〜 Diana Cortes

Image courtesy Patrick Q
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8 Comments leave one →
  1. February 2, 2010 20:37

    Another beautiful post, Hannah… and very, very true from my own experience, too. I’ve been online for almost ⅔ of my life and I’ve developed some intense, deep, and abiding friendships online—many have spilled over into “real life,” but some have also transitioned into the online world and been kept alive that way, too. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings (and quotes!) on this subject.

  2. February 2, 2010 20:43

    So beautiful and true!

  3. February 2, 2010 21:36

    Very well put.
    My best friendships developed from online friendships.
    I treasure each and every one of them.

  4. February 2, 2010 21:37

    That is so true! I think being online gives us the chance to get to know more people we normally don’t get the chance to know. Although now that I think of it, back then there were such thing called pen pals? Now with Plurk, Facebook, Twitter, chat, blog,… it become easier :).

    Thank you for being my friend :)

  5. Gina Watson permalink
    February 2, 2010 21:54

    Another one of your brilliant blogs. How right you are about friends it is not always those nearest physically, I count you as a friend and I am very privileged to be able to.

  6. melissamashburns permalink
    February 7, 2010 18:48

    I really enjoyed reading this and even buzzed about it. Thank you for making me think about this topic.

    • bubbleboo permalink
      February 8, 2010 16:59

      Thanks, Melissa – for reading and then taking the time to buzz, I really appreciate it. It is a topic that means a lot to me, and has been on my mind for a while. And I guess it’s a way of letting my online friends know just how important they are to me!

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