Bookish Life: Do You Really Know Me?

Do You Really Know Me?

Do You Really Know Me?

This is a topic I’ve been meaning to write about for a while now. A while back I was talking to my one good friend I made at university about the friendships I made through blogging. I had told her about my postcard bulletin board and how bloggers from around the world were sending me mail. And I even told her how I thought it was amazing that so many people thought highly of me and that some were even willing to open up about their lives to me online.

Her response: “But they don’t really know you! Why would they send that stuff to a stranger?”

That sort of caught me off guard. And ever since then, I haven’t been able to get it off my mind. I’ve talked to both my mom and Dave about it. I’ve thought on it. And I think I’ve finally come to a conclusion that I thought I would share with you all.

You Know Me As Well As Anyone Else Knows Me

Okay, you don’t know me as well as my family does, or as well as Dave. (I think the only person who can really say that in the blogosphere is Kelley, and that’s only because we’ve been emailing each other ridiculously long and personal emails for over a year now. Speaking of which, Kelley, what the heck happened to those?!) But I would say you know me just as well as those people I meet and interact with in my daily life. You know little things about me here and there.

You know that I met my favorite author ever (Patrick Ness) at my first ever author event (for a different author). You know that I left home in the States to come to London to study for a Publishing MA (and be with my long-distance boyfriend). You also know that I’ve struggled with depression (both in the past and sometimes even now).

I don’t quite see how that’s any different from others who I interact with on a daily basis who tend to only know bits and pieces of me like you do. Sure, your knowledge of me may be a bit more on the bookish side of things, but that’s the same as most friendships. You bond over your common interests.

I think there’s a tendency for people who are not comfortable with the internet to distrust everything that comes with it. They don’t trust the people they talk to. They don’t trust the sites they visit. The don’t trust it’s ability to replicate real life. And while I think many of their fears are reasonable, especially when a majority of the information you hear online is news about unhealthy addictions or Catfish-esque situations where people are lying about their identity, I do think they are forgetting how the same issues occur in real life.

People trust that the person they’re talking to is who they say they are, even when it’s highly possible that person isn’t telling the truth. People build relationships with other people in person, even when they don’t really know much about them. Their are places that people visit, even when there are warning signs that some shady stuff might happen there. To me, it is two sides of the same coin.

The difference is people’s willingness to try it. For many of us who have joined online communities, whether through games, blogs, forums, social media sites, etc., we have come to the realization that just because our communication is occurring through a computer it does not mean it is any less real than what we see in real life. It does not make the relationships less strong and it does not make the feelings less real. Sure, we may have times to process our thoughts before sharing something, and maybe our words are sometimes chosen with more care than in real life, but sometimes that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

That’s not to say we share ourselves with reckless abandon. No, just like in real life, it is always best to be cautious. Whether it’s using pseudonyms, or keeping your personal life completely private, or looking into the person you’re getting close to to make sure they’re real, it’s good to sometimes to be aware and check for warning signs. Even in a community as amazing as the book blogosphere, there can be some individuals who just hang out to cause trouble. Sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry.

But for me, I will never regret my decision to be myself online. While you may not know every single thing about me, you know just as much as anyone else in my real life. You are growing up with me just as much as the people in my daily life. And in some ways, I think you know more about me because this mediated communication makes it easier for me to share myself.

To me, the relationships I build with people online are real. To me, there is nothing wrong with people opening up to me or considering me their best friend, even though we have never met in person. To me, this online world is a part of my real world, and I find it harder and harder to separate the two.

I can’t imagine it’s surprising to any of you that I feel this way. I mean, I am currently in a different country due to meeting and falling in love with a guy I met online. But even though it’s sort of become a normal part of my life, I had never truly thought about whether people actually know me through it or if my life is any less real through it. And now that I have, I’ve decided no. If the things I build online aren’t real, neither are the things I build offline. To me they’re one and the same.

So if you’re a person who has reached out to me in any way, whether sending me postcards or writing me letters or tweeting or commenting or any of that, I want you to know that I truly consider you a friend. Not an “online” friend. But a true friend, and one that I value and appreciate. You may not know a lot about me, but what you do know is real. I am me, and I think you all know that.

It’s funny because when I started writing this post, I originally planned on including some things that I didn’t think you knew about me. I’ve decided that I will make it a Twitter thing instead. So every couple of days, I will share something that I think you might not know about me, and put it under the #TheQuirksofAsti hashtag created by Josephine. But, before that begins, let me just share a couple of things that I think are a little different about how I act online versus in person:

  • I am a very emotional person. I shut down inside myself when feeling upset. I get really giddy and silly when happy. I storm off in a rage when angry. I just really can’t help but feel the feels when they’re happening. So while online I tend to generally always seem like this happy, positive person, that’s not always the case in person. I go through so many emotions in a day and while I can hide them effectively in professional settings like work, everywhere else I just don’t care and it’s all out there.
  • I’m a bit cynical. I have little faith in people around me. I don’t trust people readily, and the smallest thing can easily put me off of a person. While I can be friendly with people and hang out, I have a hard time moving people from that acquaintance box into the friendship box because I generally just feel like they don’t really want to be my friend, they’ll only hurt me, and that’s it not worth the effort. I just expect the worse when it comes to people.
  • I can have a cruel sense of humor. I grew up in a family where we always made fun of each other. So when I’m hanging out with friends and I feel comfortable with them, I tend to make fun of them. I never mean it in a cruel way, it’s just how I know how to be humorous. I usually try to only let this out when I know the person can handle it. And I always still try to make sure I’m respectful. But still, sometimes I’m sure it can go too far. It has when my family has made fun of me!

Now it’s your turn! What do you think? Do the people you interact with online know you? Do you think it’s possible to build real relationships online? Is the real world that different from the one we live in here? Tell me what you’re thinking!

Read 51 comments

  1. OMG YESSSS I AM SO GLAD YOU WROTE THIS POST. I’m always being told “online friends aren’t real” and it’s just…not true. I have met so many awesome people online that I wouldn’t hesitate to say are REAL friends. I have one online friend I’ve been chatting to for nearly 3 years now…and we talk nearly every day.
    I find the internet awesome because…well, somehow it’s easier for me to shed my shyness and just jump in and have fun. Whereas IRL I kind of stammer and stumble and am awkward with a capital A. So, in that respect, I guess I’m not 100% true to myself online.
    (I also have a very cruel sense of humour…hehe, I grew up in a big family and we’re ALL seriously sarcastic. I have to keep myself in check, though, sometimes for strangers, because omg, what if they thought I was being legitimately mean??)
    I loved this post, Asti! x)

    • Oh yes, that is such a pet peeve of mine. When people think that online friendships aren’t real or valuable. Those who usually say such things have never experienced friendships online themselves though, so I guess they don’t know any better. Still, doesn’t mean they should judge us!

      And hey, just because you don’t stammer and stumble and are awkward with a capital A online like you are in person, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not 100% true to yourself. Maybe it IS the real you and the you in person isn’t as true because it’s caught up by all the shyness and stuff. Or maybe they’re both the real you and you’re just a multifaceted person who is different in different situations. There’s nothing wrong with that!

      (And yes! I’m one of those that once I like a person I tend to make fun of them, as in it’s sort of my way of showing affection as odd as it is, but I always tread carefully because I don’t want to upset them! Usually by then though they have known me long enough to tell I’m joking so it’s okay… Usually. :P)

  2. Asti, you’re on a different continent from me right now, and yet it seems you’ve read my mind! :O This topic has been at the back of my mind the past few weeks, and I’ve been meaning to write a post on that in the coming weeks as well. Though more from a sociological perspective and the change of my mindset.

    I took a course on subcultures and youth cultures in my final uni semester and during that time I too was incredulous at how easily people who’ve never met face-to-face can consider each other as friends. I could appreciate the concept of mutual support and all but my heart couldn’t believe in the connection. It’s funny how much my perception has changed since then.

    Reading through your post resonated with me today in a way it couldn’t have just a year ago. And I’m immensely glad that that is the case because there are so many wonderful people I’ve met through the blogsophere, which is amazing.

    Also, I think it’s gonna be fun watching #TheQuirksofAsti expand ;)

    • Wait, did I not tell you that I read your mind sometimes? Whoops ;)

      I look forward to your post on the topic! (My posts tend to be rambly. Yours always sound so much more academic and professional!)

      I do think it’s pretty amazing that you flipped from one end of this experience to another. For me, it’s something I’ve always sort of just believed in, but I think that has a lot to do with the fact that the Internet came during a time in my life when I was looking for social interaction and I found it through the games and websites I visited, moreso than the people around me at school. There was really no news or warnings about predators or anything like that, so I just sort of trusted people (maybe too much sometimes) and had no problems building relationships online. It’s just been a part of my life, I guess!

      And haha, yes, #TheQuirksofAsti will be growing – except they’ll be a little less book focused now :P

  3. This is so important to me because I have this conversation so much with other friends. The irony, some of these friends I know through the internet and they say that friends I make through blogging aren’t the same. Pot Kettle really isn’t it? I feel so strongly about this though, I’ve made some wonderful friendships through blogging, genuine friendships that I can turn to and be confided with and that’s so important to me, I can’t imagine things any differently. Beautiful post Asti, really! :)

  4. Wow, I think I know more about you with this post alone. I’m struggling sharing personal things but I’m getting there. And yes, you can build a real relationship online. Behind those avatars are real people, if you’re sincere on establishing relationship with these people then it’s very possible. RL is a lot different though; the internet helps me to be sociable and to have friends that share the same passion that I do. It’s not that easy to do that offline. But being an online friend is one step, when your bond is strong it can transpire to RL.

    • Yes! We are all real people. And I think a lot of us do have some issues when it comes to communicating in person. It’s nice how communicating online breaks down some of those barriers that holds us back in person.

      And definitely on the last bit. While I know the friends I make online are real and I am happy with our friendships, I would always prefer to carry that friendship over to in-person instead. Meeting friends in real life and being able to build memories together just makes it that much better!

  5. Well you already know what I think of this. Online friends are absolutely real friends, and who I am online is pretty much who I am in real life, minus the anxiety (well, most of it).

    I think the people who “don’t get it” aren’t only the ones who don’t trust the internet, never order things online, think everyone’s lying about who they are, etc… but also the people who just see the internet as a tool, rather than a gateway to the world. They might be perfectly comfortable online, but they keep it at a distance. Or they only use it to keep in contact with people they already know… not realizing how much more is out there.

    I guess if the real world offers everything you need, there’s no reason to reach out online… just like you probably wouldn’t go out of your way to make new friends if you’ve already got a full social calendar. But if you’re thinking, “Hmm, I wish more of my friends were interested in X” (reading being just one example…) hey, there are tons of people out there that are interested in it… and the internet brings them all within reach!

    I know I’m preaching to the choir here. And I think as time passes, a lot more people do embrace the possibility of online friendships. It just doesn’t always seem that way if you’re surrounded by people who give you the side-eye about your “online friends.”

    • I agree. There are people who are totally comfortable with the online world, but don’t see it as a new opportunity for social interaction, just a tool to keep in touch with those friends they already have and to do whatever other business they need to get done. And if that’s all they need from the internet, that’s perfectly okay. (But they still shouldn’t judge those of us who want more!)

      And yes, I do think as time goes on it’s becoming more of a regular thing, just like online dating seems to be. I used to sort of hesitate telling anyone I met my boyfriend online in a game just because some people would give me the side eye, but now I find people aren’t as surprised by it, whether they’ve done online dating themselves or at least know of people who do.

  6. Hey, I don’t remember quite saying that (I assume it’s me you are talking about) lol. I think I said how well do they know you? I don’t remember using the word stranger, but may have, don’t worry I’m not calling you a liar lol.
    I think you can make friends online as long as you are open and comfortable enough talking online. It can also be easier talking online if you are socially awkward like I am.
    Glad to have been inspiration for a post lol.

    • How dare you call me a liar?! WE CAN NEVER BE FRIENDS AGAIN! (/end dramatics)

      Yes, I think in the end the internet is a sort of like a second chance for many people who struggle to communicate in person. I may not be as shy as you, but I’m still socially awkward, as you surely know :P

      And yes, thank you for being so inspiring, haha.

  7. Asti, I love this post so much! You and Leanne are on a roll this week with this theme — I feel like I should have written something too, lol. But anyway… Seriously, you are RIGHT ON. I basically grew up with the internet — we had it in my house since I was 13 — but my parents NEVER understood it and they certainly didn’t trust any of the friendships I made online. I think they finally started relenting a bit when I went off and eloped with my ex and they realized that he wasn’t bad and that they weren’t going to be able to stop me. I think they were disappointed, though, when I left him and still maintained a larger online group of friends. They were excited for me when I went to Canada (twice) to visit a guy I started dating from my guild, but they’re still wary every time I talk about an online friendship or mention that I’m meeting a friend in person whom I’ve only known online up to that point.

    Maybe they’re finally getting over it now that I have Chris and he’s the best. But anyway. I’m just like you. My online friends ARE my real friends. In so many ways, you guys know me much better than any of my offline friends, because it feels like a safe place to bare my soul, lol. Again, I’m so glad that I met you and that we started emailing each other and became so close! (By the way, I’m working on that email, I swear!) <3

    • Haha I laughed when I saw Leanne’s post because I was like hey, that’s sort of like my post! But different! It’s just another reason why us three are so good as co-bloggers. We seems to share our thoughts!

      I guess your parents WOULD have to start relenting once you go to meet these people and, you know, have actual relationships with them. Especially when you marry them and they can see they’re not ax murderers or anything! haha. I’m sure it’ll still always be strange for them, just because they didn’t grow up with it, but for us it’s just a normal part of our lives.

      I guess I’m just lucky that my parents have never really cared about it. I’m sure they must have thought it was weird that I talked to people online growing up, and I know it was a bit shocking to them when I wanted to up and fly to London to meet Dave, but they’ve always been supportive of me. It’s a shame not everyone has that kind of support.

      And yes! Love having you as a best friend Kelley! Don’t feel bad about taking so long to respond to emails. There are only so many hours in a day, and it’s not like we don’t talk anymore – it’s usually just blog-related! :P

  8. I want to write a BOOK of a comment here but this post is so perfect, and I relate to it SO much, I’d just be reiterating everything you said. Every time I type “IRL” on twitter or on my blog, to differentiate between the offline/online world, I feel WEIRD, because to me, it’s all real life. On twitter we talk about real stuff. It’s not cut off from reality! I especially love your point about people connecting over shared interests. Are “IRL” friends in a book club any more “real” than book blogging friends? I’d argue, emphatically, no.

    Ugh, just. big YES to everything here. Wonderful, relevant post, Asti. <33333

    • Thanks Nikki!

      You know, it’s funny you mentioned the “IRL” thing, because I’ve been having issues with that lately too! I used to type it no problem but now it always puts me off and I end up saying “in person” instead. Because to me they’re both real life!

  9. Such a perfect post. Two of my “online friends” are bridesmaids in my wedding. And the people I text and talk to on a DAILY basis. I can’t even say about my “IRL” friends who I hardly see or talk to. It may start as online friends but you form real bonds and really STRONG bonds because it’s not just people you’ve been lumped with since elementary school or high school. These are people you found and sought out and chose based on common interests and STRONG common interests so you have that very strong bond over books, for example, instead of a lot of smaller interests and I think that one strong bond really solidifies a friendship in a way that smaller common interests might not. It makes those people the ones you turn to in times of excitement or frustration because THEY GET IT.
    Anyway. Loved the post! (Of course) I do the same thing. These are my best friends, not just my online friends. They’re real people and they’re not crazies or weirdos (well, we’re weird for sure but not in THAT sense haha!) and we’ve formed real bonds that are stronger than the ones of some of my childhood friendships. I LOVE seeing best friendships form from things like blogging and books. I’ve met so many people that are so much more like me, especially since I’ve changed a lot since high school and college. We all have. We’re just not the same people anymore and we’ve found ways to make new friendships based off of the new things in life that we hold dear to us. (Or things we always have but only just found out that other people love these things as much as we do!)
    ANYWAY, I could go on forever. But love the post and thank you for sharing this!!!

    • Yes, I think that’s huge! You’re not friends just because of circumstances, which can be quite limiting when making friends in person, but because you actually have sought each other and bonded over shared interests. You may be able to find great friends in person due to circumstances, but you can find even more when online in a community like this!

      Thanks Brittany :)

  10. Asti, you’re so fabulous at writing posts like these I cannot even. I know I don’t comment so much but it’s because you have already said everything that needs to be said. Really, Asti, you’re probably one of the ‘realest’ person I’ve met online. Your personality jumps off your tweets and posts and I’m sure each and everyone of us here on your blog and everyone else pretty much adore you.

    Sometimes I think you guys know me better than the people I meet in real life, actually. So yeah, I think it’s possible to build true friendships online. :)

  11. I think the people I chat with regularly, the ones who always comment on my blog/Instagram and tweet me, probably know me better than most of my classmates. I’m not big on sharing personal issues online (I really admire you for being so open about your depression), but I talk about stress from school, random occurrences in my life, etc. When I was recovering from oral surgery, quite a few people online offered their sympathy. Many people online know that I’m an editor for my school newspaper, I love photography, and I’m captain of my varsity tennis team. They also know my favorite books and characters. They care enough to talk to me about my interests/our mutual interests. Most of my classmates don’t do that.

    • Yes! I do think you don’t have to get super personal (like I sometimes do) to still make friends and have real friendships online. It’s just like it is in person. Friendships can be made through talking about daily life and sharing common interests. The only difference is its mediated through a computer and that their is no geographical boundaries! :)

  12. This is such a great post, Asti! You are totally right…online friendships ARE real friendships. I don’t have a ton of online friends that I’m super close with, but I’m working on it. I love having such a big interest of mine — reading — in common with other people. I don’t have that at all with my not-online friends, so it’s nice to be able to connect with others about something that’s really important to me.

    Just because not everybody understands that a community like this one (with REAL friendships) can actually exist and flourish online, doesn’t make it any less real for those of us that are in it. I don’t think of the people I meet through blogging as strangers, I think of them as friends! And I think that most bloggers feel that way.

    I’m so glad you wrote this post…it’s just perfect :)

  13. I certainly hold back online, and am a bit wary. But I think that this is because at school they basically tell you if you get facebook you will get raped, from the age of 8. However gradually I think i’m becoming less uptight online. I’m awful at keeping secrets, and realising where the boundaries lie with what to tell people, so often say things in real life that I regret. The thing about being online is that I can double check things before I say them. This may take away some of my personality, but TBH that’s more of a good thing!
    I seem to be very like you, I’m often cynical, very emotional (I cry a lot!) And am sometimes very harsh with my humour. (Most people don’t understand that I don’t actually mean any harm) but I am very set in my personality, and ain’t nobody gonna change that!

    • Yeah, I think I was lucky in a way in that computers and the internet weren’t really talked about in school. Not to say that they shouldn’t be, obviously internet safety is a huge thing and students should be cautioned on its uses, but I don’t think it should be painted as this evil entity as it sometimes is. But hey, if you feel more comfortable being wary, then do that! There is nothing wrong with that. You can still build gradual relationships that way, it just takes a little longer :)

      And haha, love that we’re so similar with the in-person stuff. I definitely get what you mean about the humor and that some people just don’t understand you don’t mean any harm! I usually hold back until I’m sure it’s okay. Usually once you hear my humor, it’s because I like you and consider you a friend, haha. But even if you don’t ever see it, it’s there, in my head, that evil lil humor :P

  14. Hi Asti,

    I’m lurking this site for a couple of days now as Leanne is one of my GR friends and thus I stumbled about your article today.

    This is a very interesting topic. I’m an avid gamer and got to know a lot of people via MMO gaming. By being a part of Goodreads I also made a lot of contacts and met some very friendly and interesting people.

    Alas, I think there are different factors that help to define the term friendship and some can be done via the internet, but others cannot.
    I’m 37 now and most of my very close friends I still know from school. Some of them are married now, have kids and/or stressfull jobs. The amount of time spent together is far less then when we were in high school or at the university.
    So when we meet up, mostly our conversations are part daily life, part interests and part shared memories.

    I think the first two are the ones I have no problem to establish with someone on the internet as well. I can talk about how my day went, even have very meaningful conversation about life, the universe and all there is.
    The same of course goes for shared interests, which is one of the main topics why we meet other people on the internet, cause they are fellow gamers, bloggers, readers etc.

    The shared memories one is the one that is really complicated. Of course we tell stories about that one raid that was totally memorable or we share thoughts about a book we read, but there are other things that can’t be shared online.
    The feeling of the moment when I was on my first non-parent vacation with friends and we sat all on the beach drinking and watching the ocean. The laugh you share, when something funny happened, but you just saw the expression on the face of a friend or the hug you got, when your relationship ended. Those things are often the most memorable moments in life and those can’t be shared online in the same way as in RL.

    So, in conclusion I would say that many parts that make up a friendship can be done online, but not all of them. And I was also lucky enough to already meet people I got to know online and started to create those memories with them offline as well.

    • Hi Michael,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I’m glad your lurking brought you here. I’ll have to thank Leanne for being your GR friend ;)

      I think you bring up a very interesting point. I do agree it can be hard to replicate memories to the same extent as real life. That’s not to say it’s impossible, people do hold memories of certain raids or moments, as you mentioned. But do they hold them in as high regards? I’m not quite sure. I mean, I’ve experienced a romantic relationship that was built online where we Skyped everyday, and two and a half years later I’m still with this guy. And I’m trying to think back if any of those memories hold as much power in my head as those we’ve made in real life. And I guess in many ways they don’t. When I think about the moments in our relationship that I cherish, it’s those that we’ve experienced while together in person. That’s not to say I don’t have memories that were online that I don’t look back on fondly, but there’s just something about being able to fully interact with a person and share memories with them without the mediation.

      So I do think you have a point there. I think there is a definitely a drive when you meet people online you really connect with to want to meet in person, because while the Internet can reflect real life in many ways it is not a complete replacement and there will be that want to be able to build memories together in person. It doesn’t mean internet relationships are any less valuable, but relationships built in person have a little extra power that makes them valuable on a different level. Something like that.

      But anyways, thanks! I really appreciate the thoughtful comment because it made me stop and think for a bit. :)

  15. I think it depends on how you define ‘friendship.’ I think for some people it’s vital to have real life contact in order to have a friendship, but to me it’s not about that. It’s about feeling connected to someone and that’s just as easy through the internet as in real life.

    I see a lot of you as friends, because I have a feeling I know you and you know me. It might not be in the way my family knows me or my boyfriend, but why wouldn’t this be a friendship? I have the feeling I can say anything to you guys and if you look at all the support everyone gives each other in hard times. I think that all counts as friendship too :)

  16. I used to be really distrustful of people on the internet, using a pseudonym and not even acting like my own personality. But now that I’m older I realized that I can’t spend my life living in fear of the horror stories I see on the news. Of course, I’m not stupid about it, but I’m a must more trusting person now. I let my personality out in my posts and emails, and if someone asks for my address, there’s a 95% chance I’ll give it to them! I’ve met so many people through blogging and being online, even some I’d consider best friends. Obviously, it’s harder to maintain those friendships, but that’s how I know they’re true – I take the time to tweet someone or send an email, since it’s not like I’m going to just run into them at the store.

    • I think many people go through that gradual process from distrust to opening up. It’s hard because you hear so many horror stories about the Internet! But I do think there’s a way to be open while still be cautious and protecting yourself. I think it’s great that you made that journey and that you feel more comfortable online, and have made so many friendships through it.

      And yes! I definitely agree with that last bit. Friendships online can be hard to maintain, as so when someone emails you out of the blue or tweets with you, it’s almost more valuable because you know they’re going out of their way to talk to you and spending their time interacting with you!

  17. I honestly swear that I have more friends from a year of blogging than six years of being in the same class. Maybe it’s the non verbal communication, or who knows what, but I am so much more comfortable with people online that in real life.

  18. I think blogging is super awesome because of all the friendships we make :) And I definitely wish I could meet you in real life, Asti! :D But for now, I’m so glad we can be friends, getting to know each other even online :) It’s awesome!
    I only have a best friend who I find totally trustworthy in real life. Sure we have our quibbles, but it seems to me while I’m relatively well liked, I don’t have good, deep friends, except for Catherine :) But to have one best friend who’s helped me through so much is more than I can ask for, isn’t it? :) But I honestly am so happy for all the friendships I’ve made over book blogging, it’s absolutely wonderful for all the friendships forged! :D And you’re right! Friendships are built over common interests, doesn’t mean that just because it’s online, it can’t be authentic :)
    I know I was personally quite distrustful at first, hence the pseudonym (albeit weird one haha)! But I got to know the community, the people and the friends, and in the end it just made it feel so natural to me and I got over that phase! :D It’s usual to be distrustful, but I think as we spend more time here, we open up more and more :)
    I know I’m still getting to know you Asti, but with each bit I discover, I’m continually filled with so much admiration and respect for you! :D I’m truly grateful to have met you, and I think that yes, we all have the little parts of us that may not be so good, but in the end it’s making ourselves better than that, helping and inspiring people, making friends who are with you through your ups and downs, and that’s truly beautiful :D *hugs* Fantastic post, Asti!! ^^

    • Aw thanks Emily! Your comments always bring a smile to my face. You’re the best type of friend to have! :) I don’t think you’re alone with your initial caution when it came to sharing your name with the blogosphere and whatnot. While it’s not something I’ve ever thought about doing, I’ve heard of other bloggers who have. Nothing wrong with that! But I think it’s amazing that you’ve finally gotten to the point where you feel safe enough in this community to share your real name! :)

      If I could go around the world just meeting all the blogging friends I have made, I would do it in an instant. But, until that’s possible (which may be never) I will settle with just having best friends all over the world. I’m happy with that :)

  19. I think as a society that had grown up in the “online” world it is becoming more and more acceptable calling the people you talk to online as friends and I completely agree. I have met some amazing people online, I even have a best friend who I have been speaking to for 9 years but never met.
    I also think that is the people like us, bloggers, and also those with what are the more creative jobs such as designers, writers, photographers, musicians that work a lot within the online world have a better connection because it is part of our job to be social online, to gage the right people and who we market ourselves to. A lot of my old friends work a lot in clothing stores and banks etc and they would be the people that would upturn their nose at the fact I still talk to and make friends online like it is such an unconventional thing and that I’m “living in the past”.
    Everyone I talk to online, or those you have sent me notes/gifts have a special place in my heart. Luckily for me everyone I have had the pleasure to interact with online are so humble and generous and be perceived more as a great friend than some of the “real-life-friends”.

    • I think you’re definitely right! I do think as more and more people use the internet that it’s slowly becoming more accepted that you can make friends online that are real, but that it also sort of depends on the type of person you are. If you only ever use the internet to pay your bills and buy stuff from amazon, you may never understand the online friendship thing. But if you visit blogs or play online games or just find yourself in an online community in any way, you’ll slowly start to get it – and once you get it, you’ll never want to go back! haha. And I think friendships made online require a different sort of effort, the type where when you receive a comment or tweet or letter in the mail you can’t help but feel extra loved because you know that person went out of their way to talk to you. It’s amazing! So thanks for taking time to stop by and be a friend, Georige :)

  20. This is such a great post that I can totally relate to :) I have several friends I’ve made online (including you and Kelley who I consider friends at this point). But my family isn’t really connected to any online communities so they don’t really understand that a person is still a real friend, even if we’ve never met in person. And you had several lines that expressed that so well – about bonding over common interests and that you may not know a lot about me but what you do know is real. I compare it to the friends I had in LA that I’d only see once every three months or six months but when we went for drinks we could talk for three hours and just really enjoy hanging out together :) we weren’t a part of every aspect of each other’s lives but we had things in common and really liked each other. That happens in our online conversations and if that’s not real friendship, I don’t know what is :)

    • I consider you a real friend as well Annie! :) Always makes me happy when I see a comment from you on our blog. And yes, I think it is quite similar! We may talk every day or “hang out” but every time we do talk the conversation isn’t awkward or stilted, you just start it again from whatever topic is currently being discussed! :)

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  24. The people I have met on the internet through blogging and Tumblr have been there for me through it all. I met my best friend on Tumblr five years ago, and she has helped me through the hardest times of my life. She is more real than any of my “real life” friends.

    And I have met so many completely amazing people through blogging. People who have been there for me while I stress out about relationships and Honours (that would be YOU, Asti <3), people who support my writing, people who listen and join in with me when I fangirl, people who make me feel like I am not just another voice in the void that is the internet.

    The people I have met through the internet and formed friendships with are real. They are not just nameless faces. They are people I care about, and people who care about me.

    Before I started blogging, I had just parted ways with my best friend. I had no one left, really. I had one close friend, and some distant friends, butt hat was it. My best friend who I met on Tumblr lives in the US so sometimes it's not possible to catch each other at the same time. So I was lonely, and I felt like I didn't really have anyone. And then I started the blog. I met so many amazing people, and at first they were just commenters and other bloggers. And then i started to actually get to know these people, and start sharing with them, and forming real relationships with them. This community has been my complete and utter rock. I don't even know where I would be without its support.

    So yes, these friendships are real. Yes, you guys know me. Some more than others, but that's mostly the case with friends you meet in offline life, anyway.

    All I have left to say is thank you. Thank you, Asti, for being there for me when my wild Gemini side streaks out, and thank you to all the friends who have made the last year and a bit one of the most amazing of my life. <3

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