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Monday, June 17, 2013

Friend Me

When I first joined Facebook, I made a brightline rule:  I would not be virtual friends with anyone whom I had not actually met at least once in reality.  The concept of having 1,000 friends, 700 of whom I could not pick out of a line-up, was not my thing.

It was my rule, and it worked well.

And then I bent it.

The first crease came in the form of a Friend Request I sent to a friend's wife, a gorgeous personality I'd never actually met but whom I felt I knew through her husband's posts and her corresponding comments.  After a lengthy exchange about Jon Bon Jovi, I thought, "She is my kind of people," and I friended her.  I still haven't actually "met" her.  But that doesn't stop me from calling Dana my friend.

Several months later, I signed up for a writing workshop in Michigan.  The facilitator introduced the attendees via Facebook and email.  A few of us were looking to share rooms and started chatting, and I made my next "never-ever-met-her" FB friend, a great writer named Dana (Dana II!).  Within days, another:  Tracey.  And then, finally, Laura.

That rule?  Completely broken.

We started messaging, sometimes in pairs, sometimes as a foursome, always as writers who just happened to be on the path to becoming friends.  Real friends.

Tracey and I share the luck of living in Chicago, so we met up for lunch and I liked her even more in 3-D.  She's off my "never-met" list and has eased over into my "friend in reality" group.

This week, I'll have the pleasure of meeting Dana and Laura.  But I won't feel like I'm meeting strangers, because I won't be.  I'll be meeting up with old friends -- friends whom I had not yet happened to meet in person . . . until now.

A few more never-met friends have joined my list of FB friends, all friends of other friends, all of whom I hope to meet in person some day.  But if I don't?  Well, that's ok, too.