Real life relationships are important. We need friendship to share our pain, triumphs, cocktails, & good times. It’s not a whole lot of fun to try & do everything on our own. With no support of others we will find ourselves miserable. Friends are important to anyone.
Is a virtual friendship a real friendship? Do we share pain, sorrow, laughs, & fun with people over the internet? Is a friendship made in Second Life (or even twitter or someone we game with) less important then a friendship made face to face in real life? Are we truly happy when we talk to someone via a computer? Some people may see this differently but I believe that a virtual friendship is just as important as one standing directly in front of you.
There are people we may talk to on a daily bases on Second Life (twitter, gaming, IM’s, ETC.) that we would be truly sad if anything happened to. If they were to suddenly disappear. If they are sad we do our best to try & cheer them up. When they need someone to talk to we listen. When they share their happiness & accomplishments we feel happy for them & glad that they achieved their goal. That is what real friendship is. It doesn’t matter if it’s a friendship in technology. When you care enough to ask someone how they are doing & want to know the answer & they feel the same way then that is a real friendship. When they feel the same way about you then that is a real friendship. As real as any friendship you could have with someone sitting across a table from you.
Do some people think it weird? Well…sure…of course. They don’t really understand the dynamics that people can have when they feel a little more comfortable talking to someone & considering them a true friend when they may have never met. You will always find those people that don’t “get it”. Personally, I don’t think it weird. You can find friendship anywhere. Would I consider ever having a cocktail in a real life setting at a real life bar with my “virtual” friend. YES! I would gladly share a few martini’s with someone I consider a friend given the opportunity.
The next time you are wandering around Second Life talking to one of your virtual friends stop & consider their feelings. There is a real person talking right back at you. Not a bot. Not a computer program. A live, breathing individual. (The same goes for long twitter conversations, gaming online together, or just chatting via IM’s) They might feel the same way you do. You never know. That person could be a true friend.