Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

Computer Friends are Real Friends

Years ago, a woman told me she’d met her husband online. I was judgmental and horrified. Sure that the two of them must be super-nerds, I wondered why she didn’t meet people in bars or at work like normal folks did.

I tried to be relaxed looking, but am pretty sure that rather than displaying a cool and curious resting face, I was showing a shocked “are you stupid?” face.

It’s funny – the things we remember.

I remember being shocked by her admission of having ventured into a scary online dating world. After all, that’s where thieves and crazy people trolled for friends, right?

I can’t remember the woman’s name, where we were, or what year it was, but it was before internet dating was a thing-thing. Back then, online dating was like admitting to getting into a windowless white van for the promise of free candy.

It was definitely before I’d ever considered blogging. I don’t think I’d even heard the word “blogging” back then.

Today, I’m married to a man I met online. He didn’t run away when I told him I wanted to have a baby on our third date.

I didn’t run away when he said that his then 13-year-old daughter was coming to live with us. We were obviously meant to be.

Somewhere along the way, the years turned the internet from being a windowless white van to being a pretty-well accepted Honda.

Respected. Reliable, even.

So when I began writing a memoir about my little boy and feeling like we lived in the “Middle World,” and read that a publisher would rather shave a cat than read another memoir, I thought “Hey! I’ll blog!”

And so I did.

I began blogging mostly to find and help other moms like me. I felt alone thinking “Well, it’s not autism,” while the short bus picked my son up for Preschool Autism Class. Later, I was sure it was autism.

Now, it’s not autism again but that story isn’t the point of this particular post.

This post is about the fact that somewhere between the beginning and later, I found real friends online.

Over dinner, I’d say “So, my friend Jen said that we should ask the doctors about using sensory input for speech therapy!”

“Who?” he said. “Wait, one of your computer friends?”

I’d feel a little embarrassed, because it was true that these friendships existed only online.

Today, he and I both know that computer friends are real friends. Maybe it’s because writers share so much more on their blogs than we’re able to at happy hours or while waiting at the bus stop with kids, shouting “Get your backpack – it’s coming!”

Maybe it’s because Facebook has made the internet familiar.

Whatever the reason, computer friends are real friends.

That’s not to say that there’s not anxiety in meeting them for the first time. I remember the morning of my first blog conference and how at first, I was totally sure that we’d connect in person the way we did online.

Once I got there, and didn’t find a familiar face from online right away, I was sure I’d be the dork who went home too early. I certainly wasn’t as cool as the rest of these writers.

I was worried about my shoes, for F’s sake.

It’s true that IRL (in real life) or in blogging life, that we can walk into a room and feel less-than. I think that’s happened to all of us and the key is remembering that we all feel that way. Like, we walk into a room and feel like all the people are better than we are. Better dressed, more confident, and just better overall.

Some people know what to wear no matter what.

Except you know what? They don’t know what to wear either, and they lay out outfits on a bed and try things on and send photos to friends saying “which makes me look better?”

And we get to the room, with IRL friends or blog friends, and we start talking and we mention how we didn’t know what to wear and they say “ME TOO!”

All of a sudden, we’re no longer alone as weirdo introverts out on a writer’s evening. We see speech bubbles over other people’s heads. Some say “I wish I were tucking my son into bed right now.”

Others say “Why am I here?” “I should have worked out.”

Or, “I suck,” or even, “This isn’t that bad,” and “I liked talking to her, she was nice.”

We find friends.

Which is the point. We find friends when we need to, even in unexpected places. Sometimes, that place is the internet that’s no longer the same as a windowless white van offering free candy.

Today, it’s about sharing stories and lives and mostly transparency because we know that all of this – the connections and the familiarity is mostly always gone much too soon.

***
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “Somebody that I met changed…” because Kerry of Her Headache said last week that the people we meet should be a series, and I agreed, knowing that I wrote something totally different from what I’d planned on writing. The same happened this week, too, although I don’t think we’ll do another “we meet” sentence next week because well. Because.

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  • JT Walters - The only person I met was you, your husband and wonderful Tucker.
    But I definetly consider you one of my closest friends. And you are a great friend.

    Love,

    JT😘March 31, 2017 – 8:48 amReplyCancel

  • Emily - Oh, how your cartoons make me laugh! And the Metallica t-shirt makes an appearance again — love it!! Yay to computer friends — you are one of my first online buddies. 🙂March 31, 2017 – 9:16 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw thanks, Emily! YAY for Metallica 🙂 and you know what? You were one of my first online buddies too. That was back in the days when Bloppies was like 80 people and really active with sharing (I miss how blogging used to be actually).March 31, 2017 – 5:13 pmReplyCancel

      • Emily Cappo - Yes, I agree – I miss those bloppy days too. Those were the days I was blogging up to 3 times a week sometimes…now I’m lucky if it’s once a month. 🙁 kudos to you for being consistent!!March 31, 2017 – 5:54 pmReplyCancel

  • Kerry - I never did understand that, but I realize you weren’t alone in having that reaction at the time. I hear horror stories of creeps at bars. I’ve avoided them mostly. Not a great place when you can’t see and then, suddenly, you can’t hardly hear either and are yelling at people to speak up.

    🙂

    I’ve really never met a date anywhere but online, not really. I don’t know what I’d have done if online had never existed.

    Also, I am a nerd, just nerd, but not super nerd.

    🙂

    I’m glad I found your blog Kristi. And you and your lovely writing style.March 31, 2017 – 9:59 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - There are creeps at bars for sure and I’d imagine it’s much harder to deal with them when it’s so loud and you can’t see. Wow to all of your dates online! Anybody serious? I’m a nerd too 🙂 by the way.
      I’m glad I found your blog and you and that we’re computer friends.March 31, 2017 – 6:11 pmReplyCancel

  • Dana - You drew me in my favorite green dress! Yes, I’m pretending that I’m the gal in the top left of that last drawing, because you are my computer friend and my real friend. Even though you drew me with no feet. 😉March 31, 2017 – 10:12 amReplyCancel

  • Echo - YAY for computer friends and hell yes, computer friends are REAL friends! I wrote about computer friends too. We are awesome.;)March 31, 2017 – 12:14 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - We are so awesome. We probably deserve some whiskey in a jar while riding the lightning. And maybe for Lars to come over and play the drums for us because I could use a pick-me-up today.March 31, 2017 – 6:13 pmReplyCancel

  • April Grant - I met my husband online and the beginning of our relationship, he would fudge the truth and tell people about the first time we met face-to-face. LOL! Now, 14 years later, we’re still good as day one… even better.March 31, 2017 – 5:03 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - That’s funny, April! I love that he fudged the truth and told people about the face-to-face instead.March 31, 2017 – 6:14 pmReplyCancel

  • Marcia @ Menopausal Mother - I can honestly say that my online friends are my BEST friends. It was a dream come true when I met many of them at my first blog conference (ERMA 2014). We connected on a deeper level as friends, and I was lucky enough to see them again at ERMA 2016. The connection is real, and my family finally understands that these writers are my tribe. Which, by the way, I would LOVE to meet you at the next ERMA in 2018, Kristi!!March 31, 2017 – 11:31 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I’d love to meet you at ERMA too, Marcia! I haven’t tried to go in the past because I don’t really think of myself as a humor writer but honestly, every good book should have some humor in it right? SO now you’ve got me thinking 🙂April 1, 2017 – 5:57 pmReplyCancel

  • Louise - I love the comparison of early Internet to the white van promising candy 🙂 So very true. I remember similar conversations about online dating when it was a “new thing”.

    Now, yes, the Internet is just one more way to connect. I often think how odd blogging would seem if you tried to explain it to someone in the 1980s. “Like a diary, that everyone can read.” or “Like coffee with friends or a community meeting, but you don’t have to leave your house.” It’s an odd shift when I think about it.April 1, 2017 – 10:30 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - It was way scary back then, right? Like for real scary!!! Loving your descriptions of describing blogging in the 80’s because awesome. Especially the not leaving your house part, right? HA! But also spot on!!! It’s definitely odd… it’ll be interesting to see what the history books write about it later, this shift in spying/showing/stalking… weird. I’m not even sure if I think it’s mostly good or bad – it’s both, I think.April 1, 2017 – 11:10 pmReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - I loved your “fat” lady and the barbie looking ladies with the wine. I think I’m finally getting over comparing my blogs success to others who have been around just as long. In the end each of us are unique which makes us individually special.April 1, 2017 – 12:55 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Exactly and also what is blog’s success? Having to comment on 1,006 blogs every week? Nope, not for me. We’re all awesome, just as we care to be, I think.April 1, 2017 – 11:11 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ TheGoldenSpoons - Online friends are real, indeed! With my lack of blogging lately, I miss my online friends a oat, too!April 1, 2017 – 8:16 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I miss you too, Lisa! But yeah, online friends are so real. I’m glad I got to meet you IRL!April 2, 2017 – 5:24 pmReplyCancel

  • Lux G. - I wish I can meet up with some bloggers I’ve known online too. It would be fun. And I understand how you’re feeling. I think it’s human nature.April 5, 2017 – 9:52 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I think you’re right. I hope you can meet the ones you want to most. Maybe a blog conference?April 6, 2017 – 10:53 pmReplyCancel

  • Just J - Internet friends are most definitely real friends, and I find that I am far more real with my Internet friends than I am with people I know in “real life” including members of my family. Online is the one place I can be myself and know that someone out there is likely to say “me too”. I can find my tribe, and I have. My husband is used to me referring to one online friend or another in our daily conversations, he knows where they live and what their lives are like, he knows when they are struggling and in need of prayers. I can honestly say that had it not been for my initial group of online blog friends, I wouldn’t have made it through a really dark time to be alive and here commenting today. They were my support system and I try to pay that forward. Oh, and by the way, I met Papa Bear online too, a little over nine years ago, and my “real life” friends were aghast at that, until they met him. He turned out to be the best web-surf results I’ve ever had, no recycle bin needed! 🙂April 12, 2017 – 5:49 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - The whole “me too” thing is HUGE when it comes to internet friends, I think. I guess we just share so much more through writing than we’re able to in gatherings in real life… I turn to this group too, when I need people. It’s really hard to make friends here and I’ve struggled with that a lot. But it’s not hard to make friends online as much, and I’m glad I know you.
      I love love love that you met PPB online too!!!! I didn’t know that. It makes me happy!April 12, 2017 – 11:45 pmReplyCancel

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