Meeting Online Friends IRL

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Meeting Online Friends IRL

What happens when you meet your online friends in real life?

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Mark J Kline:
I'm also hoping the reverse is true and some people aren't quite as big idiots as they seem online.>

Hmm... not so sure... I knew this guy...

Don't you just hate when people generalize based on one person they know?

But yeah, meeting a person you have only talked to on the net for the first time is a bit weird. Because people are, in my experience different IRL and online.

Some are easier to talk to online, because online communication follows different rules, while others are totally impossible to communicate with over the net...

I think it helps, ALOT, to have had voice communication with the people online as opposed to just text. I grew a lot closer to a bunch of my guildmates once we had a ventrillo server.

It also helps significantly to have more in common than just the game. I left WoW a few years back, but I still keep in touch with a bunch of my old guildies because we live (or lived, some have moved) in the same area, so we had more in common than just raiding or crafting.

Having only gaming in common can really hamper attempts at meat-space interaction.

Poor guy, chin up.

I'm actually planning to a meet a few people of the escapist next year, should be good if it goes ahead.

I have a few friends which I've met through the internet and/or games.
Also have meet them and mostly it was never a problem.
Though with one well...after 2 meets, I can't call her a real friend anymore...
And the thing is, it's obvious that I must have done something very bad but she says nothing is the matter and that nothing had changed.

(I hate girls T_T)

Hopefully will meet 2 other friends again next week.
Hurrah! I hope

I know I have problems tolerating intimacy.
Oh wait, no, that's 'Idiocy', my mistake.
Intimacy is all good ;) :D

Well...there's been quite a few successful meetups around here;

Escapism UK
Escapism Down Under
Escapism UK - Halloween

I've met huge amounts of people I've met online but sometimes it's just personality clashes. People are odd.

Just meet up with some new ones. There's always loads of decent people around.

I actually met someone I had only know online, but we'd known each others for a few years at that point. There wasn't really any change in how we talked to one another either. The only difference is that we had to listen to one anothers odd accents in english instead of reading what we wrote. All in all it was an experience that was well worth it.

well i attended one of my online friends IRL wedding XD And if it wasnt for the fact he lives in detroit and is currently job hunting, like so many there are, we would still be gaming and cracking jokes.

all them social networks really help to keep in touch.

p.s. i've been playing games with this buddy for well over 5 years before i was invited to his wedding. been friends for well over 8 now.

I met a girl online. Playing World of Warcraft, specifically.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_192/5835-The-MMOG-Connection

We've been married over a year. Need I say more?

Thats a real shame it seems to have turned out like it has...

I had a really successful trip. I went to London on business and then met up with a couple of friends I play with in an MMO.

The trip was fantastic, and, we have met subsequent times since. I think, if both parties are honest, and, they pretty much act the same in person as they do in a game, or other online environment. I dont see how anything bad could happen.

I plan on meeting others in a few weeks in fact, and, really looking forward to it!

lewism247:
Poor guy, chin up.

I'm actually planning to a meet a few people of the escapist next year, should be good if it goes ahead.

Forums are a great place to meet people. Chatrooms, not so much. I think it's great for a group of people to get together after meeting online and have a lan party or drinks or dinner etc. I think if you have your head half screwed on and are careful you can make great friends online. Or at least people you may meet up with every few months. As for kids they need to be aware to be careful too and I know I would have had more online friends as a child if I had net access.

Like anything regarding people, you have to be careful and get to know them otherwise meeting online is the same as meeting someone at camp, video game store or a bar. That said I have met a number of crazy people in meat space.

I've met my old Guild Master and his girlfriend in person. We live in the same city (she used to live in America though, so it's a double whammy there), and we were in contact via Facebook, even after the dissolution of our guild. Anyway, we met up in the shopping mall where I work. Nice people. We're going to be going to the same university next year as well, so I foresee a bit more in person catching up.

Well, I went to someones birthday party last year, that person being a member of the Escapist, whom I had never met before. Also their were a couple of other people from the Escapist (Sky14kemea, Cpt_Oblivious and Insanum) and that was pretty awesome.

As mentioned about by Root of All Evil, there is an Escapism Halloween, which I am going to, and that should be good. I thought it was good meeting people I knew online, i had a great time, and I expect I'll be saying similar things when I go to Halloween.

Lono Shrugged:

lewism247:
Poor guy, chin up.

I'm actually planning to a meet a few people of the escapist next year, should be good if it goes ahead.

Forums are a great place to meet people. Chatrooms, not so much. I think it's great for a group of people to get together after meeting online and have a lan party or drinks or dinner etc. I think if you have your head half screwed on and are careful you can make great friends online. Or at least people you may meet up with every few months. As for kids they need to be aware to be careful too and I know I would have had more online friends as a child if I had net access.

Like anything regarding people, you have to be careful and get to know them otherwise meeting online is the same as meeting someone at camp, video game store or a bar. That said I have met a number of crazy people in meat space.

A great way to strengthen friendships is with actual talking, Skype has been fantastic for this. I'm a bit iffy about chatrooms, people tend to be a bit odd.

I used to play mmo's, but I grew out of them. Also the ones I wanted to play were out of my price range. Most of my online friends were my friends before playing mmo's anyway. We get together when we can. Work usually gets in the way. But when we do hang out, it's a lot of fun. I try to get us to go on epic quests, like journey through the crystal forest (true story). Our next quest is to visit our friend in university. ROAD TRIP WOOOOOT!

I've met several people from the online world in the real world, though to be honest I was the one that did the distancing afterwards. Several of them were supposed to be potential relationships, and after our time together in the real world ended, they all became very clingy and wouldn't stop pestering. However, it hasn't stopped me from doing it, I already have plans to visit another, but I need a passport to do it :/

The first time I met someone in real life that I met online it was for sex, since then I've met a couple of people I've met online and we've usually just gone to see a movie or hung out a bit, at the moment I don't have too many online only friendships so meet ups with them isn't something I really do.

I met someone who i had played LOTRO with online for the best part of 2 years on new years day 2010. We slept together. She cheated on her BF to be with me and we started seeing each other regularly for 7 months before the distance thing became a problem and we went back to being just friends.

True Story.

I'm also hoping the reverse is true and some people aren't quite as big idiots as they seem online.

As do we all, Doctor Mark. As do we all.

Met one person from online IRL, and that was to buy a game from him. Meeting some other people for an Escapism UK Halloween thing, which should be fun.
It's part of a (mainly teenage male) human fantasy that you when you meet someone new, they will be female, attractive and 'into' you. So when given this opportunity to meet new people, many people feel disappointed that there are none of the aforementioned 'available'. This causes them to pout slightly and have less fun. I know, I've done it myself. Probably another cause of this could be the number of guys who have female profile pictures on online accounts.
The halloween thing, I already know is mainly, possibly only guys, and I am only going for fun. Will still be fun though.

Mark J Kline:
Meeting Online Friends IRL

What happens when you meet your online friends in real life?

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I have met a few people from online. One of which was after yeas of communication and we are good friends. Although he sadly lives in london and me in the midlands but still.

I think it says something about humanity though that you cant just meet people from the net without having to be careful. I mean really when you cant just go and meet someone in case they are a killer it really makes you think. Humans are evil people.

I only have success stories from meeting friends in real life who I met first online. In fact, I was in a wedding earlier this year for a friend I met online. It usually takes several years before I meet in person, and I've only met people I share multiple interests with instead of just one or two games we happen to play, but it's always been a great experience and I keep in touch with most of them on a daily basis.

*Dating* online hasn't worked out so great, but I'm optimistic about it as a concept...

Mark J Kline:
What happens when you meet your online friends in real life?

apparently, i date them. i've met, in person, two guys that i met here on the escapist, and i've been seeing the both of them for quite some time now. i've actually never been happier dating than i am now, too-they're both amazing people who i've fallen completely in love with and i couldn't have imagined a better outcome. :)

lewism247:
Poor guy, chin up.

I'm actually planning to a meet a few people of the escapist next year, should be good if it goes ahead.

And it will be AWESOME!
^^

I'm sorry what?

Real life relationships?

How are online relationships any less real than offline? Simply because they are not bound be the aesthetic shackles of meeting someone does not make them any less real, and it's devaluing to say so.

Edit: Also to those scared of meeting someone, someone on the internet is no more or less likely to rape/assault/etc you than someone you know offline.

Before the internet people were still taken advantage of, it'd be extremely ignorant to think otherwise.

An excellent and thoughtful article.

Thanks again Dr Mark.

also "I'm also hoping the reverse is true and some people aren't quite as big idiots as they seem online."

One can only hope.

The_root_of_all_evil:
Well...there's been quite a few successful meetups around here;

Escapism UK
Escapism Down Under
Escapism UK - Halloween

I've met huge amounts of people I've met online but sometimes it's just personality clashes. People are odd.

Just meet up with some new ones. There's always loads of decent people around.

Root, you mention only one of the five "down under" Escapisms that have happened. The others are here ('08), here ('09 I), here] ('09 II) and here ('10), threadwise, for those who want a look.

Dr. Mark, if you want the title too, I organised the first "Escapism" (or at least, the first I saw or heard of, and I've been here a while) when I was barely 16. Many of the people who turned up were under 18, and that's continued through the other three I've organised, and the one I attended in Melbourne which I just strolled along to.

One particular event which occurred will likely interest you. There's a user here, Ultrajoe, who was very well known at the time of the second Escapism. His forum persona has always been male, indeed the person behind The Ultrajoe is male. If you look at the thread linked above, the first of the 2009 Escapism, you'll see a picture of a female with the caption "The Ultrajoe". The woman pictured is a close friend of mine who I asked to play The Ultrajoe at that event, with his consent and collaboration. The revelation that sparked throughout the forum community was fascinating to watch.

What was even more intriguing was the reaction to the second revelation, when this thread was posted.

The Ultrajoe and I are close friends now, as I am with a number of other Escaparinos. I don't think this would have happened if I didn't step out of my shell at such a young age. My parents still don't know any of these events occurred, they certainly Would Not Approve of my attendance let alone organisational power. While I respect their position as people who are supposed to take care of me (I'm 18 now, so presumably more independent than when the Escapisms began) and I understand their concern more than I'd like to, I feel that there can be an over-abundance of both when it comes to middle to late teens. The closest we had to a parent along for the ride was when one guy (15 I think) requested that someone be available to talk to his father if the father wanted that extra assurance. I volunteered for the job, but it wound up not being necessary.

The group in that occasion consisted of an age range between 15 and in high school, to a couple in their mid-20s. I suppose we're just not stereotypically paedophilic enough to be frightening.

I think that parents need to see more examples like these Escapisms because I honestly feel that they present a good image of what can occur. Okay, maybe less so with the zompocalypse, but my point remains. It's hideously easy to organise a meet-up such as those I did, and the Forces for Good need to use this to reveal hyperbolic paranoia where it occurs.

I haven't touched on one-on-one meetings because I think they're an entirely different barrel of worms, and often more risky. The Escapisms have all been very public events to avoid that, meeting in public places with lots of exits rather than inviting The Internet around to someone's flat. It was a suggestion at one point, and I turned it down out of more than a vague respect for furniture. Teenagers, and internet users of all ages actually, need to learn how to set up meetings in such a way that they are safe, and education on both the positives and potential negatives is key.

Three stories I think. One minor failure, one major failure, and one work in progress where the person and I were only acquainted online and were in the same area.

My husband and I hosted a WoW guild party at our place in central California a few years back. People came from Los Angeles, the Bay Area and Calgary, Canada (one Canadian guildie who couldn't make it sent along an awesome cake with the guild logo). Some of us already knew each other irl, which may have made things easier, but we had a great time and a few of us that hadn't met before grew a lot closer and more involved in each other's actual lives.

Although one of the guildie's wives, dragged along unwillingly, had a hard time wrapping her head around the fact that half the guild members were women and one of the women (me) owned a house that didn't have crushed Cheetos on the furniture. Video games were only some stupid hobby for men, right? She made her husband quit playing shortly after that :(

Mark J Kline:
You might have more reason to trust someone you've spent hours hanging out with online than somebody you meet in a bar or on a blind date.

This line right here is soo full of win.
Thumbs up from me.

Well I haven't actually met up with them in real life but we were so close we actually called each other and the phone calls lasted for pretty much over an hour. I do have the reverse of it though, have some IRL friends and we ended up finding up we played the same MMO but sadly only I and one other of them still plays, but it's understandable.

Perhaps interestingly enough, my closest friends are acutally people I have met online. Not because I lack friends made IRL, but because I, luckily, met a bunch of people on the same gaming website, and really hit if off with them.

The friendship and cammaraderie in our little group went from a spam thread, to messenger, to skype and then, finally, to real life, during a meet up event for the gaming website. Since then, we hang out multiple times every month, sometimes the whole group, sometimes one on one. The advantages, I found, was that we met in an environment where we always had the option of tapping out. We could pop offline whenever we wanted. There was no expectations, and no effort involved in talking or joking. It was easy and casual. When we finally met up, it was like we had known eachother for ages, which, to be fair, we had. No awkwardness.

One of the guys are actually comming up to visit me tomorrow.

EDIT: Oh, and last weekend, my Clan had a meetup. Three days in a cabin in the woods, and all kinds of teambuilding activities. Loooots of awkward silence the first day, but all in all a great experience and a lot of stories from that weekend.

Only got positive experiences with meeting people from the interwebz.

Me and my online Girlfriend have been going out for about 6months and we talk face to face via webcam we have been discussing meeting up but i'm not particularly sure about it

I've had some hit and miss experiences meeting people from the internet. My first meetup was with a local RO player, and we had lunch together. We were friends online but... wow it was awkward when neither of us had social skills.

On the other hand, I met my boyfriend over RO as well. We were friends online for a year, and then a couple for 6 months, and we've been together for 4 years ever since. He moved to Vancouver from the other side of the country after several meet-ups, too.

Another meet-up with a long-time (something like 7 years) forum friend didn't ruin a friendship, but it did pose some challenges. He obviously hadn't been out of the house very often and lacked some manners that I expected from the friends I'd made at school, but he's slowly learning and I'd invite him back here. It was just a change in perspective.

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