Yes, the Internet has changed the way people interact...sometimes for the worse. But what if, what if that one person you seem to connect with through blogging or email or even Instagram really gets you...and there seems to be so many parallels in your lives that you feel like you could have been the same person.
As some of you may know, my husband and I are traveling around the country in our RV (see our adventure blog here). We've been on the road now almost 11 months and have just crossed our 21st state line. And this past weekend our travels brought us to South Bend, Indiana (well, I'm the navigator so I kinda made sure our paths would cross eventually) home of my all-time favorite blogger, Ellen.
You see, I am a huge introvert and I have a hard time making friends. Don't get me wrong...I am as loyal as the day is long. And I think I'm pretty nice. But I either become a wallflower when it comes to meeting new people or, if I manage to open my mouth, I ramble...and get goofy. Most of the time new people think I am stuck up, but really I am painfully shy. So making a connection, albeit online, is a big deal. And meeting in person...well, that's a sweat inducing, stomach turning, try to find a way to back out it proposition.
But it was different with Ellen.
Other than being worried about utterly ridiculous things...like I should have been working out while on the road, she's going to think I look fat, what if I start to sweat profusely and do I have a booger hanging...it feels like I have a booger hanging...I had no where near the amount of anxiety I normally get in these types of situations. And let me tell you, the moment I saw her I thought I would burst into tears. It honestly felt like I was falling into the arms of one of my closest and dearest friend. I felt this way having never even spoken with her on the phone!
|Ellen and I in front of The Mutiny.|
|The most friendly, interactive fish I've ever met.|
|Enjoying dinner out with the husbands.|
My weekend with Ellen was extraordinary. I am so very fortunate to have a life that has allowed me to meet her in person. Although we already had a great connection, being able to sit and talk has certainly deepened our relationship, especially since both of us are introverts. Honestly, I just can't get over how easily things clicked...obviously our online communication laid down a pretty good foundation.
Being on the road (and an introvert to boot) makes it extremely difficult to make friends. Sure I talk to people occasionally but there is never really enough time to form any kind of bond. And of the few I have exchanged email addresses or friended on Facebook I find myself holding back, afraid to come across 'too aggressive' or needy if I bombard them with messages. Perhaps this experience with Ellen will enable me to take that leap and attempt to form a few more online friendships.
But what I do know...again, after 11 months on the road...is that if a friendship starts out online there seems to be a better likelihood that we will remain in constant contact than the friendships formed in real life. Maybe it's because emailing, texting and interacting online is what we know, whereas IRL friends are used to just coming over and hanging out. It seems much harder for a real life friendship to make the transition to online friend than for an online friend to become a real life friend. I'm sure I am just as guilty at failing to make that transition but it makes me sad nonetheless.
Friends are important no matter how the relationship is born. So take a moment and hug your friends if you can...and if not send them a virtual hug and let them know how important they are in your life.