Meeting Online Friends IRL

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I definitely agree with the first few statements. For the most part, people are very different online. To be stereotypical, a lot of us can be reclusive. I know that in FFXI, if you were in a top linkshell or considered an end-game player; then odds are the phrase "I'm going out tonight" was probably not in your regular venacular. When I tried to have a vocal conversation with friends who seemed totally out there in-game, I couldn't pull two words out of them. On the flip-side, I have a good buddy who lives a full coast away from me but we have been in touch for over 6-years now and are doing great. I'm sure when we meet face-to-face our friendship will even grow. People are funny and their reasons for playing MMORPGs vary greatly. That 'Second-Life' type of game is an escape for them. For others, it's another social experience that is taken pretty lightly. If you feel that in your heart-of-hearts you want to meet an online friend, then go for it. Just don't be overly disappointed when you find out they aren't totally who you made them to be. To pull a statistic out of my ass, 80% of their being comes from what you have observed; the other 20% derives from your imagination. People aren't always what we want them to be, especially online.

Labyrinth:

Root, you mention only one of the five "down under" Escapisms that have happened.

They weren't as good as ours ;)

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.

Try being a late 30's guy showing a bunch of 18 year olds around London. Luckily I work with tweens anyway, so I'm still down with the kids. ;)

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.

I think this needs to happen more in general. The isolation that happens purely from all the scare stories is insane. And it's quite nice for us 'chronologically enhanced' people to match wits against the up & comers as well. :)

lewism247:

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.

Totally! Many of my college friends are now working in Japan and Oz and we chat the whole time. Sometimes crack open a beer over a skype window. It's not as weird as it sounds

I'm surprised they agreed to an entire week right off the bat. Maybe one day to start with...

This article about a same sex or different sex relationship? To start, I am a male. I've met one of the guys that play(ed) World of Warcraft and Warhammer Online with me. He stayed the week at my house and it was great. When he went home, it returned to the normal online play and jokes. The key, to me, of translating an online relationship (friend or more intimate) is finding someone that you are comfortable meeting.

How do you know this person is worth meeting? Well, don't just base it on how they act in game(s). I added my friend to FaceBook to see how they are in real life. You can find out what activities they like to do other then play video games. Most likely, you're not going to want to have a friend over and just play World of Warcraft sitting next to each other.

You wouldn't want to date someone just because they play the same game as you. What if you leave the game or decide you don't like that game anymore? Then you don't have anything keeping you together. Life isn't just one dimension. I sound like a match dot com ad. =P I hope this was sort of the answer that could help.

**EDIT**
I love these articles, btw. I always stop what I am doing to read them.

its funny. just last night me and a friend of mine were talking about meeting sometime next year at an anime convention for the first time. and i got really nervous last night to the point where i couldn't sleep. she means so much to me, but what if its the last time i ever see her or talk to her? but i have to admit after reading a bunch of the comments that prove that things CAN turn out for the best, i feel alot more confident.

to Dr. Mark and everyone who put a comment on this thread, i thank you from the bottom of my heart.

BlueInkAlchemist:
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?

Fuck yes. You are an inspiration for me. I need details, I am actually going long-term with a girl I know from gaming. MMORPGS and Gears of War 2 specfically.

Glad to see some people are excited for Ecsapism UK: Halloween :) As host of said event this article is relevant to my interests. I've met a few people from the Internet IRL, and they've all turned out to be fun experiences. It's always awkward since you know them, but you don't know them. I'm sure everyone will get along fine and dandy on Halloween provided the supply of drinks, snacks, and games doesn't run out.

People are fickle creatures and I would admit that I have experianced something similar with meeting up with some friends from a MMO.

1) Distance

You mention that their flight had landed, so I can assume that there is a significant distance between you and them - its hard to keep any sort of friendship over a large distance

2) Mystery

As weird as it sounds the less you know about someone the more you can be interested in them. When you meet someone online you never really know them, and as long as you stay focused on the game you can spend ages with someone and never even know their real name.

When you do find stuff about them its always in small pieces and each time they become a little more interesting as you know more about them.

When you meet up you can get an overload of information - you know their name, age, gender, fave football team, fave drink, etc etc. Once you know everything about them it can lose that bit of mystery and appeal about that online person. You could even find that you didn't like that person in real life and now you can't shake that impression when you meet them online.

Its like that saying goes "Never meet you're heros" - because you could find that they are nothing like you imagined and it'll leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth, so sometimes its better to live the dream than the harsh reality.

Lono Shrugged:

lewism247:

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.

Totally! Many of my college friends are now working in Japan and Oz and we chat the whole time. Sometimes crack open a beer over a skype window. It's not as weird as it sounds

I used it a fair bit when my brother went to Australia for 6 weeks, was nice.

I've met quite a few people IRL after online relationships actually. Both of my boyfriends I met online (First in forums, second and still current as of 4 years in World of Warcraft). Multiple friends I've met up with...three actually, in various locations, all turned out fine. I don't really chat with them anymore these days, but it was a more natural decline of social interaction, less of a direct correlation to meeting each other in real life.

So, it's sad to hear that someone would have such a negative experience from it. My primary thought would be that there is a certain amount of mystery appeal to someone you know online...and (much more likely the younger you are) once that mystery is gone, there's no more desire to maintain contact.

Just last year I flew across the country (USA) to go stay with a couple friends of mine. The funny part being I'm a guy and they were both girls any who I landed met one we went out got lunch talked went back to their place had a lot of fun (not sexual) and nothing weird happened. We got along just as well as we did online and went out having fun or just hung around. I guess it was partly luck that it worked out because it could have been a very awkward week otherwise. The closest place I had to stay if things went bad was a few thousand miles away with no car.

Whether you choose to meet people irl or not be careful and meet up in a public place but never have assumptions that they will be exactly what you want and if they are the opposite gender don't go in thinking sex or they will be perfect.

Go there as a friend and see it as nothing more unless they have told you otherwise.

BlueInkAlchemist:
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?

Yes, please. I'd like to know exactly how everything went. Did she live near you? The full story would be nice.

Had my go at online relationships and it never worked, be nice to see where I went wrong.

Psydney:
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 :(

Ugh, I really can't stand women like that. I've heard so many guys tell me they gave up some hobby they loved because their wife didn't like it. I know I wouldn't give up my hobbies so easily. Also if you married a person you should like them for who they are, not who you want them to be. Arhg.....

I've meet quite a few people I knew from the internets. My first boyfriend and I meet randomly on AOL (this was the late 90s), we dated for a time and were good friends for a long while after. I also meet the last guy I dated online through a video game message board. We dated a very long time, and while that relationship was plagued with problems, I'm still good friends with him.

Also, basically I wouldn't have my awesome group of IRL friends if I hadn't taken the chance to meet one of my online friends. I wanted to go to Katsucon one year and I mentioned it to one of my online friends and she was like come say with me. So I did. In turn at the con she wanted to meet one of her online friends. We all hit it off really well. We started going to Otakon and Katsucon as a group every year and then I started visiting them. Eventually, I moved to be near them. It was great times, there I made even friends and had a great group of people with me. Sadly, everyone had to move to find new jobs in the bad economy but I still stay in touch with everyone. Honestly, that one agreement to go to an anime con with someone I didn't know may have been one of the best choices I've ever made. The long term payout was well worth it.

That being said my preferred method of meeting people from the net today is meeting at cons. This way there is almost always something to do, and if it ends up really bad it's not that hard to politely excuse yourself to get away.

6unn3r:
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.

This, with wow. And it was 3 months and not as regular due to train costs and me being a poor college student. Don't really talk all the time anymore.

Still, is cool.

I also now an american girl, we exchange gifts on christmas and birthdays, and talk. Not always all the time, but we keep in touch. I consider her to be a damn close friend.

Straying Bullet:

BlueInkAlchemist:
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?

Fuck yes. You are an inspiration for me. I need details, I am actually going long-term with a girl I know from gaming. MMORPGS and Gears of War 2 specfically.

olikunmissile:

BlueInkAlchemist:
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?

Yes, please. I'd like to know exactly how everything went. Did she live near you? The full story would be nice.

Had my go at online relationships and it never worked, be nice to see where I went wrong.

I'm pressed for time today, but this may merit me sending a pitch to the Escapist.

I actually met most of my Guild that I met through Guild wars at this year's PAX (we all played Guild wars 2 too it was epic).

It was an interesting experience to say the least. At first I was a weirded out since I never had seen their faces. Then I heard them talk and I quickly realized it was the same person I had gotten to know over the years.

I got to know them better and I felt we had gotten closer. Can't wait to play through Guild wars 2 with them since I quit Guild wars years ago.

BlueInkAlchemist:

Straying Bullet:

BlueInkAlchemist:
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?

Fuck yes. You are an inspiration for me. I need details, I am actually going long-term with a girl I know from gaming. MMORPGS and Gears of War 2 specfically.

olikunmissile:

BlueInkAlchemist:
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?

Yes, please. I'd like to know exactly how everything went. Did she live near you? The full story would be nice.

Had my go at online relationships and it never worked, be nice to see where I went wrong.

I'm pressed for time today, but this may merit me sending a pitch to the Escapist.

I don't mind waiting, tomorrow or whenever would be cool, or if you wanna PM.

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.

I'm sure it will be.

I met a guy on WoW that lived a few hours away. We met up and, even though we don't play WoW together or anything, we're still talking.

I also met Suki the Cat last week and we're still talking and playing together... Then again, it'd be really weird if she stopped.

Jaranja:

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.

I'm sure it will be.

I met a guy on WoW that lived a few hours away. We met up and, even though we don't play WoW together or anything, we're still talking.

I also met Suki the Cat last week and we're still talking and playing together... Then again, it'd be really weird if she stopped.

Ha ha thanks, I hope so.

It's odd how some people of a forum can turn into proper friends huh?

lewism247:

Jaranja:

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.

I'm sure it will be.

I met a guy on WoW that lived a few hours away. We met up and, even though we don't play WoW together or anything, we're still talking.

I also met Suki the Cat last week and we're still talking and playing together... Then again, it'd be really weird if she stopped.

Ha ha thanks, I hope so.

It's odd how some people of a forum can turn into proper friends huh?

Yeah, it is.

Even weirder how they can turn into more than friends.

Jaranja:

lewism247:

Jaranja:

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.

I'm sure it will be.

I met a guy on WoW that lived a few hours away. We met up and, even though we don't play WoW together or anything, we're still talking.

I also met Suki the Cat last week and we're still talking and playing together... Then again, it'd be really weird if she stopped.

Ha ha thanks, I hope so.

It's odd how some people of a forum can turn into proper friends huh?

Yeah, it is.

Even weirder how they can turn into more than friends.

Oh?

Do tell.

lewism247:

Jaranja:

lewism247:

Jaranja:

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.

I'm sure it will be.

I met a guy on WoW that lived a few hours away. We met up and, even though we don't play WoW together or anything, we're still talking.

I also met Suki the Cat last week and we're still talking and playing together... Then again, it'd be really weird if she stopped.

Ha ha thanks, I hope so.

It's odd how some people of a forum can turn into proper friends huh?

Yeah, it is.

Even weirder how they can turn into more than friends.

Oh?

Do tell.

I said.

Me and Suki.

Jaranja:

lewism247:

Jaranja:

lewism247:

Jaranja:

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.

I'm sure it will be.

I met a guy on WoW that lived a few hours away. We met up and, even though we don't play WoW together or anything, we're still talking.

I also met Suki the Cat last week and we're still talking and playing together... Then again, it'd be really weird if she stopped.

Ha ha thanks, I hope so.

It's odd how some people of a forum can turn into proper friends huh?

Yeah, it is.

Even weirder how they can turn into more than friends.

Oh?

Do tell.

I said.

Me and Suki.

Oh yeah

'facepalm'

Congrats btw.

lewism247:

Jaranja:

lewism247:

Jaranja:

lewism247:

Jaranja:

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.

I'm sure it will be.

I met a guy on WoW that lived a few hours away. We met up and, even though we don't play WoW together or anything, we're still talking.

I also met Suki the Cat last week and we're still talking and playing together... Then again, it'd be really weird if she stopped.

Ha ha thanks, I hope so.

It's odd how some people of a forum can turn into proper friends huh?

Yeah, it is.

Even weirder how they can turn into more than friends.

Oh?

Do tell.

I said.

Me and Suki.

Oh yeah

'facepalm'

Congrats btw.

Heh.

Thanks a bunch :3

I met an online friend of mine that lives 400 miles away in real life and had a good time.

I had a bunch of online friends I used to regularly Skype chat with. By the time those of us who lived in the same city did a meet up, we knew each other so well that it wasn't even an issue. Even though a few of us were different ages, it was still not unlike just chilling with school friends, because we were already so relaxed from being able to talk and laugh with each other about nothing for however long we'd Skype.

That said, I would probably never meet up with anyone that I didn't know as well as those people. Unless it was like at a convention where people are bound to show up, but then I probably wouldn't even know who anyone was without asking anyway.

Now that's just depressing.

Also kind of ludicrous.

It's weird in the variety of people you find online. In WoW for instance, There were 2 major individuals who impacted on me. One was of a similar age to me, and of the opposite gender, and we briefly flirted but her maturity came between us. On the other hand, the very first person I met, and maintained a friendship with for months to this very day, turns out is over twice my age and a lecturer at a surgeons college in Ireland. So I guess age does have a thing to do with it, I can imagine if we met in person we would get on as well as we do online, yet people of a similar age seem to be somewhat less stable.

thenumberthirteen:
Glad to see some people are excited for Ecsapism UK: Halloween :) As host of said event this article is relevant to my interests. I've met a few people from the Internet IRL, and they've all turned out to be fun experiences. It's always awkward since you know them, but you don't know them. I'm sure everyone will get along fine and dandy on Halloween provided the supply of drinks, snacks, and games doesn't run out.

Drink runs out?!

Ahem. OT: I've attended two Escapisms myself, and loved every minute of both. Near enough everyone goes into these sort of meetings with the same nervous do-I-know-them-do-I-not mindset, so you know you're not alone in thinking that sort of thing.
Unless they're one of the small minority of utter plonkertossers you hear about.

"Plonkertosser" is not a copyrighted insult. Feel free to use it if you don't get enough strange looks from people.

DragonsAteMyMarbles:

thenumberthirteen:
Glad to see some people are excited for Ecsapism UK: Halloween :) As host of said event this article is relevant to my interests. I've met a few people from the Internet IRL, and they've all turned out to be fun experiences. It's always awkward since you know them, but you don't know them. I'm sure everyone will get along fine and dandy on Halloween provided the supply of drinks, snacks, and games doesn't run out.

Drink runs out?!

Due to funding issues I could only get 8 litres of Mountain Dew. I'll be getting other drinks too when I do my Halloween shop next week at Tescos.

People haven't told me which drinks they like/dislike. I don't want to get the wrong thing.

Guess what happens when you meet a girl on World of Warcraft ;) let's just say I didn't have to solo grind to get xp anymore

Well, I think if you join a group, be it for an online game or an RPG on LJ, the key to having a successful friendship is if you can actually talk about more than your single interest. It also helps that even if you really click with this person give it at least a year's worth of conversation to see if it will last.

I chatted with a few people in 1997 online and I went out to meet them. My parents were not completely ready to trust me so my mom and her sister went with me. They would go tour around (it was near Chicago) and I would hang out with these friends. Then I would come back in the evening to go to the hotel. From that meeting, I met two people online. One of them I was a little weirded out for whatever reason. The other person I hit it off great.

We're still friends today. We went to Pax East together. It's good to know people around there, especially during that time of year! :D

Poor guy who wrote in. =[ It sucks when friends stop contacting you, offline or online.

But as @The_root_of_all_evil said, we've had some successful meetups here on the Escapist. >_> Hell, next month Me and another Escapist are gonna become roomates to save money on rent. xD I guess it depends on the crowd.

As Dr Mark said though, you have to be pretty careful and think about all the pros and cons of meeting people online, and having a friend or parent go with you the first time is a good idea. (I actually went all by myself... but I took a lot of precautions, I even took a mini pepper spray xD Don't tell the Esc UK people!)
It's also better to get to know the people you're meeting properly first, I spent almost a year getting to know the other members via skype and twitter first before meeting up. ^^
It was awesome though, and we're doing it again next year too!

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