|Friendships come in different packages;online, offline, all lines|
We meet our friends in all sorts of ways and I love to read or hear about how others met their cherished friends or spouses. Why? Because each story is unique; in a quirky sorta special way. There usually is humor somewhere or an exchange that precipitates more exchanges and then a friendship builds... With the explosion of the internet, social media and online dating sites, we have all become exposed to other ways to connect with people and make friends and so an online connection can create an opportunity for a lifelong friendship.
When I read MamaKat's assignment for this week's Writers Workshop, I was nicely surprised to see the question about meeting online friends offline. It made me smile and I knew I would write about it on both of my blogs. Sure, we all read terrible tales of people meeting online strangers offline to disastrous outcomes and I am not advocating this as a trend or even a habit. We must still be attentive to our instincts and our gut feelings about the people we connect with online.
This week's Prompt: That one time you met your online friend in real life (was it everything you thought it would be?)
So far, the few friends I've made online have been through membership in a community; Triiibes, Problogger 31DBBB group and such. Personally, I would not meet strangers without careful review and, in any case, my advice is to keep it social in a public space.
I met Bronwyn on Seth Godin's Triiibes (a private Ning group with 10,000 members, password-protected, non-anonymous where folk gather to discuss/encourage/connect with likeminded souls) and we connected immediately; we shared something in common - we were transplanted from our place of birth to live/work in entirely new countries... Read the rest below.
On yet another note, before you dive into my online/offline friendship story below, I was the featured blogger via my Wordpress blog - Mirth and Motivation - on SITSGirls on Tuesday; I wrote a piece on 10 Things we can do before sitting down for Thanksgiving Dinner and had a blast responding to all the SITStahs who stopped by to say hello. Thank you all for your comment love and support. If you missed it, do stop by my other blog and check out the tips; very handy as we approach the holiday season... Read on & Thank you!
|Bronwyn, Seth & moi - Photo©|
Bronwyn is projects driven and a terrific administrator who gets things done. She quickly recruited me on a few projects and we became friends. I enjoyed chatting with her and working on writing projects for a couple of e-books we published and her sense of humor kept us all laughing.
In the fall of 2009, Seth announced that he would give a one day conference for the Triiibes and we could come from wherever we lived around the world and attend the conference.There was a lot of excitement and a flurry of activity as groups formed to ensure that Triiibes attendees got to connect and have a wonderful time together.
Some of the events organized were a special dinner with Seth Godin and Jonathan Fields; a fab presentation by Seth at FIT; a luncheon/presentation and dinner at a private club, and a meet and greet luncheon with any members who wanted to connect. I signed up for several as I was excited about meeting everyone I had emailed, chatted with or left comments for on the Triiibes community site. Bronwyn and I agreed that we would meet at the conference and then get together and visit a few Manhattan spots she missed on her last visit here some years back.
The conference date arrived faster than I knew it and soon I was at the FIT conference center looking for Bronwyn. I don't remember who saw whom first but we had a good laugh once we connected and we agreed that we looked exactly as we did online... as you know, that seems to be the problem with people meeting offline from certain sites. :-)
She was exactly the way I imagined her to look, sound and act. Her wit was still sharp and her laughter strong. We joined a group of other friends for lunch and everyone had a great time. On Sunday, I picked her up from her friends home in New Jersey and we visited the New York Public Library (they have an amazing tour of their holdings and rooms --- worth a visit) and The Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art).
We had lunch in the newly refurbished restaurant/cafeteria at The Met and saw a few exhibitions before heading out and back to New Jersey where I dropped her off. She had a flight back to London the next day and her friends wanted to make sure she was back to have dinner and rest before flying back.
Bronwyn was fun in person and a great sport; we drove around quite a bit looking for a place to park so we could hop on the subway and do our city tour... it took a while and she suggested a few spots that made us both chuckle. We even got lost on the return to Jersey and had to ask for directions; each in her own unique way which gave us another reason to laugh. All in all, it was a delight to connect offline and I would do it again. I now have a standing invite to hangout when I visit London again.
Meeting online friends offline can be fun if you connect in a safe environment and have gotten to know each other from projects or events you've both completed online. I would recommend meeting in public and maintaining a clear, respectful exchange... Have you ever met an online friend offline? What was your experience like? Do share.
Friendly Penguins via Picasaweb Photos
Photo of Bronwyn, Seth & me from my collection
Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©