I Met Her…Online

Last week I drove to another town to meet a friend I’d never seen in person.

I made this friend online.

Now let me explain that there’s a little deeper connection than it would seem at first.

Online Tennessee croppedApril has been on the fringes of my world for a long while through our mutual friend, Dianna Love. She’s a fan of Dianna’s books, and I “met” her through correspondence on Dianna’s behalf a few years ago.

And that brings up a whole question of its own, doesn’t it? Have you truly “met” someone, if you’ve only met them online? I still feel the need to put the quote marks around “met” if I have not actually been face-to-human-face with a person.

Maybe we need a whole new word for “meeting” someone online.

So anyway, I knew April’s name, and I could probably have picked out her photo from the avatar on her emails, but I didn’t really know her. Understand?

But as online relationships tend to progress, we ended up as each others’ friends on the twenty-first century’s great social experiment.

Yes, that’s right, I mean facebook.online facebook like

A couple of months ago she commented on one of my facebook posts and we ended up in a conversation. A “comment” conversation, which we then moved to the more personal conversational level of the facebook Instant Messaging. The IM of “I’ll IM you.”

How do you even write that? I’ll I-M you? I’ll I.M. you?

We chatted for a bit, online wineglass imageand there was wine involved—at least on my end.

See there? I can’t say I’ve actually had a glass of wine with April, but from my point of view, I’ve absolutely had a glass of wine with April. I was drinking wine while we “talked.”

And at some point I decided I’d like to meet this girl in person.

We set a date, and last Thursday, I headed west down Kentucky Highway 79, an arrow-straight stretch of asphalt that slices through corn, soybeans, and Amish produce stands on the way to Clarksville Tennessee, the bedroom community of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, home of the 101st Airborne division of the US Army, the Screaming Eagles.Online US 79 in Russellville

We’d figured out that we both like consignment shopping and flea markets, so that was the plan for the day.

April met me in the parking lot of the Cracker Barrel. She climbed into my van and we hugged. It seemed only right, since we’d had so much back and forth online, laughing and getting to know one another.

I’ve gotta tell ya though, the hug at the end of the day was completely different from this one.  At least for me.

I’ve been thinking about this “online relationship” thing since I met April.

My husband, Steve,  and I both  know a number of people who’ve met their spouses or significant others online.

For at least two of these friends, the online dating thing has been an unmitigated disaster. It is easy enough, after all, to pretend you are something you’re not when you are not actually face to face with a person.

But setting those instances aside, for more and more people, it seems to really work.

I had proof that things were changing about two years ago.

online wifi 2Okay, if I’m stuck in my writing, I often take my laptop to a little café or a bar where there’s wifi. There are a few of those around here now.

I’ll have a meal and maybe a glass of wine and work there, surrounded by the energy of other people, most of whom see me focused on the laptop screen and pass by without interrupting. It works for me.

One day I was camped out at a tiny, high-top table in a small town just south of my home. I was in the bar area, up a flight of stairs from the main restaurant, and I was there when the schools let out for the day.  Since this restaurant was a designated “safe spot” where kids could wait for parents, a bunch of middle school and high school kids flooded the restaurant area of the place. From my table in the upper-level bar area I could look down at the main floor and I noticed that the boys were all on one side of the restaurant. The girls were on the other side. I mentioned this to the owner, who happened to be behind the bar at the time.

“Yeah,” he said. “They split off by gender, then they sit there and text each other from online textingfifteen feet away.”

Interesting.

If I were guessing, they probably share the same glances and blushes that kids shared when I was their age, only they do it from a little further away, and they can pass notes with no paper involved at all.

I sat there wondering if I was watching small town romance blossom between kids who might date through high school and then go on to get married and have families of their own, making a new generation to buy ice cream at the walk-up window of the Frosty Freeze  down the street.

Between the two of us, Steve and I know probably twenty people who met their spouses, one way or another, online.

I know a boy from Illinois and a girl from Texas who met on an internet forum and fell in love.

I know a highly-skilled nurse who met her husband online.

In our group of close friends, one couple met through an online dating service. They’d just started dating when we met them. Now they’ve been together for six or seven years and own a house together.

online embarrassedAnd yet, when people ask my friends how they met, they glance down at the floor or look away as they quietly say, “I met him…online.”

There’s a stigma about it I think.

But I sit here, all day long, at a computer. I might take my laptop to a restaurant to work. More often I go out to sit on the deck and use the wifi. But regardless, my butt is glued to a chair in front of a computer for many hours each day.

I hate clubs. If I were single and wanted to meet somebody with my present job, what would I do?

I might be tempted to sign up for some kind of online service.

But I think I might be embarrassed to do it.

And that would be a shame, wouldn’t it?

There are plenty of people who put all of their energy into creating an online image that is totally different from the real-life version.  There are guys (and probably girls) who live in their parents’ basements, spend all day and night playing World Of Warcraft, and never actually see daylight.

Brad Paisley did a song about that.

But times, they are a changin’.

In my lifetime thus far, the world has gone from passing notes the old fashioned way, to most people owning a computer, even if it’s just a phone. And it seems to me that if I look around me and I’m honest, most of us spend a fair bit of time “knowing” people through the internet or the phone, or some other electronic media.

Next month a group of good friends from other states will converge on my house to camp in my back yard for a night or two. They’ve done this for three years now.

And I met every one of them on an internet forum dedicated to a subject we all enjoy—a hobby we have in common.online consignment shop

So last Thursday I spent the day with April. I roamed through some of the best consignment warehouses I’ve ever seen.   We ate lunch and we talked, and I got to know the amazing, beautiful person she is.

And when I dropped her off at her car and we hugged goodbye, I was hugging a true friend. A sister in the real sense of the word, which has nothing to do with blood, but everything to do with love, support, and liking each other for who we are. I hugged a friend and a sister I hope I’ll spend many, many more days with.

And none of it would have happened if I hadn’t met her…online.

So tell me, Bandits and Buddies…what do you think of online relationships?

You know us Bandits, and we know you, because we’re all online, and when I think of never having met you, it breaks my heart a little.

I think of all of you as my real-life friends.

But some of you could be nonexistent!

Do you ever wonder about the people you meet online—about what their lives are really like? If they are really who they say they are?

Have you ever met someone online who turned out to be a fake?

How many onlinonline so embarrassede friends have you gone on to actually meet in person?

In this internet age, why do you think there is still a stigma around meeting a husband, wife, or lover online?

Will it ever become the norm?

Do you know anybody who’s met a life mate online?

Have you ever made a trip—a drive across town, across country, or even taken a flight—to meet a friend you met online?

We are all word lovers here in the lair. What do you think the new word should be for “meeting” somebody online?  Maybe  I “netmet” her?

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Comments

54 Comments

  • Helen Sibbritt says:

    Is he coming to visit me at work
    Have fun
    Helen

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      Helen, he is yours for the day. And I would put him to work for certain, whether you’re at home or on the job. It’ll keep him out of trouble.

      Maybe.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Helen, be careful with the GR at work! He could wreck the whole office. Naughty bird! 😀

  • Jacqui Sue-Ping says:

    Because of Sherrilyn Kenyon, the majority of my closest friends I met initially online, some I’ve known at least 10+ years, some 15+. We met via her BBS, yahoo groups and chat–oh my Lord chat! We’d literally be in the chat room for hours and when chat would close for the night, we’d take it to Yahoo Messenger or some other IM thingy.

    When Sherri decided to do her K-Con convention, I was so excited about finally meeting my friends in person. This was about 5 years after we all got together on her boards, so we knew A LOT about each other–both the good and bad.

    What was great was the majority of peeps I finally met, were exactly how they were online. I already knew what they looked like but I was so happy that most had the same spirit. And yes, I was disappointed that some managed to hide their true colours until we met face to face. I don’t associate with those folks. 🙂

    And while I initially met Cameron at a K-Con convention and not online, we developed a great friendship via the internet with emails and IMs. I truly believe that because of the internet, when we finally decided to get together, our relationship is not just strong but more intimate than most.

    Nowadays I’m grateful for Facebook. While I do have Twitter and Instagram, FB is how I keep up with my friends.

    Jacs

    p.s. April is a great and funny as heck 🙂

    • Jacqui Sue-Ping says:

      Btw it is rare these days that I say ‘my online friends’. They are my friends. That point was truly driven home when my brother passed last fall. The outpouring of love and support truly kept me sane.

      Same when I announced my engagement to Cameron. I swear I could practically hear the shouts of congratulations from them.

      • Cassondra says:

        Aw, Jacs, I can’t tell you how excited I was to see that y’all were together. I was just coming to now the two of you at that point, but I swear I could see the glow all the way from Kentucky.

    • Cassondra says:

      HI Jacquie! *waves*

      What a cool story about how you and all the other fans got to know each other on the forums and boards! I think when a community evolves like that, it forms a bond that is unique–a “we started this thing together” sort of thing that is very special. I’ve been fortunate to be a part of a couple of “communities” like that–ones we created out of nothing–and even if there are great differences in viewpoints, that connection still brings a loyalty that is not found anywhere else in exactly that form.
      I had always wondered how all of you knew one another that well, and am so glad you told that story.

      And yes, April is fantastic. ;0)

  • flchen1 says:

    How neat, Cassondra! I have to say that I’ve more and more friends on FB that I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting offline. I do think that it is easier to conceal yourself online, but I also think that as we become more and more comfortable with socializing online, we will find true friends that way as often as we do in “real” life 😉 I do very much look forward to meeting many of these online friends in person, including you Banditas!

    • Cassondra says:

      Flchen 1, I agree with you.

      I think there may always be a slight hesitation on my part when a relationship first forms online, because I’ve seen some really unfortunate, high-level fakery, and some people I love have been victims of that. They extended their hearts and were taken advantage of because of it.
      But I don’t think we can always assume the worst, not even at first. The world is changing, and the thing I love most is that I can actually keep up with people, and feel connected to them, through the web. It’s not like I’m really there, but it’s so much closer than having to write letters, which I never did, in spite of good intentions.

      The adjustment to this brave new world of long-distance social networks is an interesting time, to me. And it’s interesting to me what works for people and what doesn’t.

  • ki pha says:

    Congrats on finally meeting and hanging out with April!!

    I find that I don’t have a problem with meeting people online, as long as it’s safe and nothing dangerous is involve. And building a relationship with these friends I think is a great way to meet new people from around the world. I have cousins that have met their spouse online and they’re doing great.

    And Facebook is wonderful! I visit it daily just to see what my friends and authors are up to. But I can honestly say that I have many online friends than real life ones, sadly. And I have met some of them when I’ve gone to book events and conventions but there were awkward moments of silences. LOL

    I sometimes wonder if I’m the person they think I am when they meet me in real life. I can be very quiet in person but very conversational online. sighs~

    But I think the reasons why a relationship online is such a stigma is because you might not truly know who that person is and some folks fear that they might be lied too and studs. And if you’re looking for a relationship, many folks might not understand why you have to go online to do it when there are so many single folks in town.

    Will it ever be the norm? I’m not sure. Time is changing but there are still going to be cautions around it and dangers so so it may never be the norm. Might be more common and understood better but there will still be something bad about it.

    But when I talk about my friends online I usually call them my “net-friends”. Or I just say, “my friend from Seattle”. LOL

    • Cassondra says:

      Good thoughts, ki pha.

      I now call my online friends my “friend from Illinois” or “My friend from South Carolina.” Of course, that gets a little awkward when they then say, “Oh…will you introduce me to him?”
      “Uh…well…we’ve actually never met in person.”
      *grin*
      I think you’re right about the stigma, and I think that’s going away with time. As people grow more used to something and see it working, it becomes more acceptable. And I remember when online dating first started, there were all these warnings and early stories about ax murderers disguised as school teachers and mild-mannered accountants didn’t help at all, I’m certain. There’s still some fear of that for sure, but now the services seem to have worked out how to keep people safer, and we’re all a little more educated about internet safety.

  • Jane says:

    Hello Cassondra,
    I haven’t actually met any online friends in person. My cousin and a few of my friends have tried online dating, but I don’t personally know anyone who married someone they met online. I would love to meet all the Banditas someday.

    • Cassondra says:

      Jane, we MUST find a way to make that happen. If we can’t do it as a group, since we’re all so scattered, we need to make an effort to get together when we come up your way. :0)

      I’d actually wondered about your answer to this, since you live in a big city. I wondered if there are just more social opportunities and more people to choose from, or if that really wouldn’t make any difference in how easy or hard it is to connect with the right person.

      I’ve actually said to somebody, “I wouldn’t mind going back to being a young woman again as long as I didn’t have to date.” That’s a LOT of work, and most of it isn’t much fun–or it wasn’t for me. Maybe I just wasn’t very good at it.

  • Amy Conley says:

    I “met” one of my best friends online. She lives oin New Zealand, I live in southern Indiana. We have yet to met in person, but one day we will.

    When chat rooms were all the norm the room my huby went go decided to have a get together. It was great to actually meet all thdse friends we knew. Online. They started having regular get togethers, of which we went to many. Two couples we knew did marry.
    Now I’ve met lots of people I called friends from an authors message board. I even went to her huge parade one year…yeah not so many “friends”. I did make a couple and they are still friends and we still get together.

    • Amy Conley says:

      PS two of the best friends I’ve met online are authors I was lucky enough to meet in person. We just ‘clicked’.

    • Cassondra says:

      Amy I’ve been to a few gatherings of members from a forum we frequent online. These happen all over the country and they call them “hometown forum meet-ups.” We usually go shooting, then go out to dinner since it’s a firearms forum.
      I admit that I haven’t connected with those people really at all. While we have the firearms hobby in common, there’s not much else I’ve found that we share unless it’s politics, and I don’t ever want to talk about that. I want to get away from it. *grin*

      So cool that you met your BFF from New Zealand online!

      And yes, when we find out “crowd” it just sort of clicks, doesn’t it? It was that way with songwriting for me, and then with fiction writing. Before that, I didn’t have a lot of close friends. They’ve all formed through the writing.

  • Cassondra, it’s interesting, isn’t it? I call my online friends just friends – and then I wonder. Except that I’ve had lots of opportunity to meet people I’ve really liked online in person and in 99.9% of cases (in fact, I’m having trouble thinking of a case that doesn’t apply), there wasn’t much difference between their internet selves and their real selves. I’ve definitely picked up character traits, both good and bad, from people I’ve had extensive dealings with online. I think it’s a falsehood to say that the ‘real’ person doesn’t appear in social media. I fell in love with my wonderful Bandita sisters online although I have to say meeting all of you in person at the RWA conference where we’d all finalled in the Golden Heart cemented the bonds.

    • By the way, so glad you had a lovely time with April!

    • Cassondra says:

      Anna, I agree that almost always the real person comes out if you pay attention online–especially when you see them interact with a variety of people. I expect the bad eggs online are about the same percentage of the population as the bad eggs in real life, which makes sense of course, but there is some underlying belief, I think, that makes people think a higher percentage of–say– stalkers, are online than in real life.
      While it might be easier to hide what you look like, your age and weight and such, hiding motive is harder.
      I’ve seen one very good instance of that–an accomplished con artist. That’s enough to make me take a step back, but it’s a very small step–just a reminder that I should give it a little time with any relationship, not just the ones online.

      • Cassondra, as you say, there are definite warning signs online if you pay attention. But I think you should pay attention face to face too. And I think there’s a way the personality comes across online that’s very authentic (for example, anyone would know I like silly jokes – which is true!).

        • Cassondra Murray says:

          Agreed, Anna.

          Lots and lots of people get conned face to face. I think I trust my “in-person” intuition a little more because I’ve got more experience using that.

  • SecretNinja says:

    That’s cool how you met April and developed a real friendship with her!

    For me, I’m part of the group where meeting people online and becoming “friends” is part of our norm. I’ve met a ton of people online in person and made many a new friends. Even some of the friends I have just based on mutual groups or games I find, I think of them as friends.

    I know we’re always warned about people being conned and tricked and how to be careful but as long as someone doesn’t go around telling personal stuff right off the hop left, right and center, I think the internet is a great place to meet people from all over the world!

    Ada

    • Cassondra says:

      Hi SecretNinja-

      It was a really wonderful day, and we both said before we even met that we felt a connection and like it was “meant to be.”

      I think you’re right about being careful with personal details. A lot of people don’t realize that if they put anything on the web, it is not private, and “just your little group” is not necessarily who will see it.

      It was a wake up call for me one day when I was considering moving to online banking. I told the customer service rep at my bank, “I’m just nervous about it being online.” And she said, “Honey, it’s already online. Banking is all online now. You just can’t access it until you sign up. ”
      It was a “duh” *smackhead* moment for me. Might as well use it. A lot of people don’t know that I’m actually a person who holds her privacy very close to her heart–and I’m having to shift my ideas of what privacy is now. If people want to know it about me, they can find it if they’re determined. No getting around that.

  • Helen says:

    Cassondra

    What a great post I have lots of on line friends including all of the Bandits and Bandita Buddies some I have met in person some not but I feel very close to all who visit and I love reading everyones posts. I first met Anna Campbell at the old Avon authors forum and then finally got to meet her in person at the ARRA convention in Melbourne back in 2009 and it was one of the best weekends. I do hope that one day I will get to meet a lot of my online friends fingers crossed I do keep in contact with them as much as possible on facebook as well.

    I do not know anyone that has met their other half via on line dating but I am sure that the stigma will die down as the internet get bigger

    Have Fun
    Helen

    • Caren Crane says:

      Helen, I so hope to meet you in person one day! Still piling up those US Airways miles and keeping my fingers crossed. 😀

      • Helen says:

        Caren

        My fingers are crossed as well it would be just the best if I could meet you all in person 🙂

        Have Fun
        Helen

    • Cassondra says:

      Helen, I know so many people who’ve come to the romance conventions in Australia and tell me what a lovely person you are. I can tell from your facebook posts too. And see….Isn’t that just the thing?
      I always heard you talk here in the lair about your family, but when we connected on facebook, I actually got to see the cutiepies. I feel like I know you to the point that sometimes I forget that you’re half way around the world from me.

      I really hope we get to meet some day too!

      • Helen says:

        Cassondra

        I love facebook for the way it helps me “meet” so many people and I can see their photos and it makes me feel closer to them but yes meeting in person would be so good and I do have my fingers crossed that one day this will happen 🙂

        Have Fun
        Helen

  • Shannon says:

    I met my ex on line through a work-related network. The internet was just starting up. We used letters, the work site, phone, and finally an in person meeting. I’m not sure if it was love at first sight. Because it was at work and unusual, we just said we met through work, without mentioning the computer part.

    I’ve ventured as far as blogs, but I haven’t taken up FaceBook. My life is divided into different parts: work, reading, walking, a social group. If I was to do friends, my social friends would be reading work friends and vice versa. It just seems so weird.

    I am thinking of heading up to Maryland this August to meet some of the Banditas at a signing.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Shannon, I hope you go! I’ll be there accompanying my daughter as she attends the workshop for teens, so I’ll just be hanging out as a fan. E-mail me and we can meet up!

    • Cassondra says:

      Shannon, that’s very interesting, how you met your ex. And I hope he’s not your ex because of the way you met.

      Facebook is the biggest time suck hole in the known universe. I would dare anyone to challenge that. Well, maybe online gaming. I don’t do that, so I don’t know. But it has its positive side. Everybody likes keeping up with the people in their circle, and I think it’s a lot easier to “stay close” when you can see and hear from them in small snippets every few days.

      But honestly, I think whatever works is whatever works. I am with you on needing to keep certain things compartmentalized. Depending on the field you work in, that’s vital.

      • Shannon says:

        Actually, he’s my ex because he met his high school crush on-line after we’d been married eight years. (We were at his high school reunion and a friend gave him her FB site.) I hated gaming, and he loved it. She joined him on two different games, and their relationship grew over two years. By that time, I was so frustrated that he worked 8 hours, gamed 8 hours, and did nothing to help me out. The strangest thing is that he keeps sending me messages to friend him on FaceBook.

        • Cassondra Murray says:

          Oh, Shannon, there’s a whole other blog right there. What’s the proper etiquette for that sort of thing? I certainly don’t know.

          I have only one person I simply refuse to “accept” as a friend. This person has purposely tried to damage me emotionally, and done so repeatedly throughout my whole life. Now that I am old enough to set my boundaries exactly where I want them, the answer to more of that person is as Grumpy Cat would put it. “Nope.”

    • Cassondra says:

      Oh yes! Meant to say, go if you can. I know all the Banditas would love to meet you!

  • Caren Crane says:

    My name is Caren, and I’ve started a lot of relationships online… That is so true! I met all of the Banditas online first and KNEW I would love all of you. And I do! I have also met other author friends online first, long before meeting in person.

    I haven’t made a trip specifically to meet someone I’ve met online, but I’ve certainly made “dates” to connect with people who will be attending the same events. Always a great time! Rarely have I met anyone who gives good screen time, but is a disappointment in person. Sometimes I’m afraid *I* am a bit disappointing in person, because I’m so BORING! LOL

    I do have a good friend I used to work with who met his wife online in a forum for NASCAR fans. They have been married for about 12 years now! We were all skeptical about the in-person first date and one of our friends even went with his wife to the same restaurant and spied on them! But it turned out really well. I’ve also had friends who tried online dating and kissed LOTS of frogs before finding someone nice.

    I’m pretty sure if I were single, I would give it a try. Why not? I was never afraid to kiss a frog, so I think I’d be up for kissing some more. 😀

    • Cassondra says:

      First off…you, boring?
      ROFLMAO!
      You are the least boring person I know. In fact, you’re one of the funniest and most engaging.

      Seriously, one set of your friends went to spy on the other friend? Oh, I’ve got to put that in one of my small town romances. That’s better than fiction, yaknow? I think if I were the spy-ee, I would’ve been really mad! So glad their relationship is working out so well!

  • Mozette says:

    So tell me, Bandits and Buddies…what do you think of online relationships?

    Online relationships can be a love/hate thing. You can either be yourself, or a liar about yourself… and if you choose to be your self, then you can eventually meet up with the other person without feeling as though you have to do anything new with yourself to put across any impression you might have invented previously…

    You know us Bandits, and we know you, because we’re all online, and when I think of never having met you, it breaks my heart a little.

    I often wish I could meet you all in a room or cafe all at once… it’d be fun!

    I think of all of you as my real-life friends.

    But some of you could be nonexistent!

    Do you ever wonder about the people you meet online—about what their lives are really like? If they are really who they say they are?

    Have you ever met someone online who turned out to be a fake?

    I met one guy from online and he turned out to be a real geeky-looking guy. We got along as well in RL as we did online, but he thought I was a hottie… he never asked me out again, because he thought I was out of his league… when really I thought I was out of his. How weird of what we think of ourselves, eh?

    How many onlinonline so embarrassede friends have you gone on to actually meet in person?

    I’ve met some Bookcrossing friends in RL and we’re great friends still. Some of them did a BC meet-up in the city and a few of the ladies didn’t like me because I was decked out in my Bookcrossing t-shirt and had my BC briefcase and tote bag with me… I think they wondered how I got those things, but then, they didn’t want to talk to me about anything. And I was never invited back either.

    In this internet age, why do you think there is still a stigma around meeting a husband, wife, or lover online?

    I tried internet dating a few times… it was unsuccessful. I once got talking to this guy who worked at a hospital…. he was an orderly and he said his job was difficult sometimes. Then, when he asked to see a photo of me, he broke off our friendship telling me that he had met me in the ER only a month or so before and had to hold me down while I was being abusive during one of my seizures…. being anywhere near me put him off. I said that if he can’t separate his work from life, he’s not ready to go and date anyone – and he can’t live with anyone with medical conditions (which I did tell him I had).

    Will it ever become the norm?

    No. I don’t want to ‘meet’ somebody on the net. It’s lazy and no natural. I would rather meet somebody in life… real life… where they can see you in your real clothes, know what you really look like and know how you sound – not over the speakers of their computer.

    Do you know anybody who’s met a life mate online?

    Yes… My brother met his fiance on RSVP. He told me he was surprised how easy it was for him. But then, guys dump me because they can’t stand how my life is with medication all the time… it’s weird. My folks know I may never marry or live in sin with somebody, and they feel sad about that – so does my niece – but I really I want to meet the right person for my life. I don’t want to have to change for somebody just because they don’t like something about me.

    Have you ever made a trip—a drive across town, across country, or even taken a flight—to meet a friend you met online?

    Yes. I traveled to Lismore with Mum to meet up with a Bookcrossing friend on a horribly wet and cold day a few years back. It was great! We had a wonderful time.

    We are all word lovers here in the lair. What do you think the new word should be for “meeting” somebody online? Maybe I “netmet” her?

    Hahahaa… that sounds like a good word to coin. 😀

    • Cassondra says:

      Mozette said:

      I often wish I could meet you all in a room or cafe all at once… it’d be fun!

      Mozette, I agree, it would be a blast! It’s a little nuts, though, when you get all of us in one room. That doesn’t happen very often, and perhaps the world is a safer place because of that. *grin*
      Interesting stories you have about people you’ve met online. Love the story about the rainy day trip to meet the fellow book lover. How frustrating about the guy at the hospital though. You said:
      I really I want to meet the right person for my life. I don’t want to have to change for somebody just because they don’t like something about me.
      Absolutely. Those words are good advice for all of us. Very healthy attitude.

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    I envy you. I would just like to have one friend who loves books as much as I do that I could hang out with, go out to eat, talk books, maybe go shopping. My best friend lives too far away and she doesn’t read. I have no other close friends, just a few acquaintances but we don’t really hang out. I’ve thought about going online to see if I could meet someone like that but not sure how to go about it. So cherish your new friendship. It’s a blessing.

    • Cassondra says:

      Debbie, I’ve been really fortunate since I found the writing community to make close friends. But honestly when we all became finalists in the Golden Heart in ’06, that’s when it came together for me. Some of us just really connected, and the bond that formed is a really cool one.

      I will tell you though that I don’t have a lot of close “girlfriends” here where I live. Our friends are all mostly couple friends, though I do enjoy the occasional jaunt for coffee or a beer with some of them. One of the things that made me write this blog was realizing that some of the best friends of my life I’ve made online.

  • catslady says:

    I do enjoy talking with people online but I guess I’m not adventuresome enough to actually meat anyone. I don’t do a lot of driving and that’s a big part of it. I almost met someone that lives in Yorkshire (she travels a lot) and plans were all set for her to come visit but then 911 happened and although we do still talk some, not as much. I know a brother and sister who met people online. Unfortunately, the girl who was ready to marry the guy, found out some horrible things about him but the brother tried it later and he just got engaged so I guess if you’re a gambler at heart…

    • Cassondra says:

      Catslady, that’s the fear, isn’t it? Just exactly what the girl in your story experienced.

      Without hiring a private investigator, how would you know? I guess if you start a relationship like that, you have to commit to many trips to see or be with that person before you would want to make any kind of commitment. There are predators online, and we have to be aware of that without letting it make us afraid–not always an easy balance. Glad to hear about the brother though. Sounds like that was a good call.

      Yes, not driving much would make it much harder. Our one couple friend who met online did it through a “local search” somehow–they were able to narrow the search to the town where we live. If you don’t find someone local though, that makes the whole thing a little dicier.

  • Deb says:

    Cassondra, I have not met any of my online friends in person, but I truly feel that many of them are close friends. Included are Helen (and who wouldn’t love her?! You know what that sweetheart did? She sent me 3 packages of Tim Tams!), my friend Andrew and his wife Mari from Australia, Sheila (who lived close to me, but moved to Georgia before we could meet for coffee), PJ, and Andrea (who I hope to meet some day), and, by truth, the Lovely Ladies of the Lair. I have shared things here that I don’t share with a lot of people. My online friends pray with me, rejoice in good news with me, and give me heartfelt cyber hugs if I need them.

    My husband and I did not meet online, but we did get to know each other through extensive and personal notes and letters 6 months before we went on our first date. I can understand how people may feel about admitting to meeting someone online because I often do not tell people that Jerry and I shared our inner-most thoughts through letters….besides, some might think it unprofessional because we first corresponded as a teacher-parent communication about his son who was a student in my class. (I really don’t tell many people this because it does seem unprofessional!)

    Kind of a change of topic, but my niece Meghan is 25 and ready to meet someone, and she just isn’t. I have often wondered about her doing the online thing. I can’t understand why she isn’t finding anyone; she’s gorgeous. It would be a scary thing, I think…..

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      Deb I would love it if we could meet some day. And yes, I understand why you don’t tell everyone about how you met your husband, but I honestly don’t feel that it’s unprofessional the way you met. After all you didn’t share all those intimate thoughts in the first correspondence. It sounds like it developed over time. I know a number single parents who’ve ended up marrying their children’s teachers. It’s an opening to meet a person that happens naturally and both adults share the common goal of what’s good for the child, so it makes perfect sense as a way to meet, to me.
      As to Meghan, I bet she will find the perfect person for her. One thing about waiting a little longer to marry or pair off–you get to know yourself better, and that makes you more likely to choose wisely–a person who fits you–without feeling like you have to make yourself over for that person. At least, that’s my take on it.

      • Deb says:

        I agree about the waiting….I didn’t marry until I was 35. I dated someone in my late 20s, but waited for the Right One and met him when I was 33. I keep telling Megs that Mr. Right will come along and to enjoy life and doing her own thing. You are right on about that, Cassondra!! 🙂

  • Heathercm2001 says:

    Great topic Cassondra! I always have a nervous feeling with people and the internet. I have met quite a few online, and sometimes I have met them in person, usually people from the book world. I’ve seriously been thinking about giving the online dating thing a try, but haven’t yet. I’m working on getting up the nerve to do it. 😉

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      Now see, Heather? You’re one of the most awesome people I’ve ever “met” online first. Now I’ve met you in person a few times, and know you’re exactly as warm and fun as you are online. That’s one of the coolest things to me. I’ve met a lot of really wonderful people through my association with Dianna.

      • Heathercm2001 says:

        It’s a great time to be a reader! The internet makes it so easy to connect with fellow book lovers. I had no idea the book world was so big, and full of such amazing people, like you guys!

        • Cassondra Murray says:

          Awww! *gets warm fuzzies* I don’t know any author who doesn’t enjoy meeting readers–either online or in person. It’s just so amazing to us that you all love our stories and want more.

  • Marcy Shuler says:

    This is a great topic! I have a group of friends I met online on the eHarlequin community board. I’ve only met one in person (we call each other ‘identical twins separated at birth by 7 years’ since she’s older – LOL). I’ve spoken to several more of them on the phone and exchange Christmas gifts with a few. I even have a Birthday twin in the group. Two of them have since become published, though most of us are just readers. I fondly refer to them all as my imaginary friends. 😉

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      Marcy, I love that–my “imaginary friends”–that’s how I think of my characters. *grin*

      Cool that you’ve gotten to know them and have become such good friends. Love the gift exchange. I’ve done that–a secret Santa thing on an internet forum. I had to bow low to the person who organized it all and put it together. That took a lot of coordination, as there were 30 or 40 people involved.
      BTW: I love your marshmallow on fire avatar!

  • Cassondra, what a great story! I’m so glad you and April had such a terrific day.

    The main people I’ve met online are the bandits, and that obviously worked out well!

    I made many friends through the mail as part of an amateur press alliance in comic book fandom. It’s sort of like a giant letter swap–everyone sends the central mailer enough copies for each member to get one, then the CM collates them into sets and mails them out. It’s a boatlad of work. Online loops are way easier.

    I eventually met many of those people in person and solidified those friendships.

    I think a lot of people misrepresent themselves online, but I would like to think most don’t. It’s becoming a more accepted way to meet people, and I know several people who met their current spouses that way (and several who did so in the amateur press alliance). Meeting in person, I think we pick up cues, including danger signs, faster.

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      Nancy, that’s my thoughts exactly. Most of us have a lot more experience with letting our intuitions be our guides when we have the in-person clues to follow. The online clues–maybe we need to evolve into that a bit.