I don’t have a blog but I do have an idea, so I’ve asked my friend Yamis if I can borrow her space. She is my friend and that’s what I want to talk about. Friendship. What is it?
Yamis lives in the good ol’ USofA and I’m a true blue died in the wool Aussie sheila, we met in SecondLife sometime in the last year. I’ve never stood in front of this lady but I consider her a very good friend. People tell me that’s an illusion. How can I be friends with someone I’ve never met. To them I say “phooey”.
How should I define my friends?
In my real life I have a variety of friends and each has a different level of importance to me. I have friends I have known for 30 years (let’s assume I met them in kindergarten ha ha). After such a long time these friendships don’t need a lot of maintenance, we’re always going to be friends. I have some new friends I’m still getting to know, they’re a bit more maintenance heavy, but it’s all new and exciting so it’s fun to do. There’s a range of people that fit inside those time brackets.
Some of my friends I see often, others I see rarely, some I talk with regularly in person or on the phone, others I haven’t spoken to for years. I have friends who live near me, friends who live far. One of my closest friends lives a 3 hour plane ride from me. My best friend lives a 2 hour drive from me, I see him 5 or 6 times a year when we meet for lunch, but we talk on the phone almost every day.
Those friends are people I met, in most cases, by being in the same physical place as them at the same time. Their priority in my life is not related to time, distance or regularity of contact.
I also have a vast range of cyber friends. Some people collect friends on facebook and myspace. Mine are from SecondLife. (Enter Yamis. J) Are these people less real to me. Absolutely not.
In SecondLife I have repeatedly heard or been told, RL and SL are separate, RL & SL don’t mix, SL friendships are not real friendships. Well to that I say poppycock (it’s a British saying).
In SecondLife as in Real Life my friends have a varying degree of importance to me. Some are special, some are fun, some are acquaintances, some are transitory, some are keepers. You see the thing is that behind the SecondLife avatar, the representative cartoon, is a real person. Just like me over on this side. If I make friends with that cartoon, and over time we share experiences, life details and develop trust, then I am building a real friendship. There is nothing artificial or superficial about it.
In SecondLife I have a friend who is: a doctor, a banker, an engineer, a postie, a philosopher, an alchemist, a financier, a horse breeder, an artist, a snake breeder, unemployed, a programmer, a lawyer, a teacher, an addict, a farmer, a childcare worker, a student, a professor, a landscaper, a nurse, a realtor, a carer, a swinger, a cantor, a musician ad infinitum. There are old people, young people, men, women and children (yes).
I have supported some of those people through major life events – relationship breakdown, reconciliation, divorce, job loss, death of a pet, terminal illness, loneliness, addiction, family issues, work issues, the list is almost as endless as the possibilities. And then there were SecondLife issues to deal with as well. Some of them have supported me back, one of them has become my career mentor.
I talk to a number of these people who I’ve never seen or touched for hours and hours each week. Others I see, irregularly or haven’t seen for months. To me they are my friends as much as any person in my so called real life.
There are people who may consider that their real life friends are more important - whether they are the ones they meet for coffee every third Thursday between 10 & 11.30 (if there wasn’t a full moon the night before and as long as the schedules don’t clash), or the person you used to go out drinking with when you were both young and you had lunch last February after you bumped into them in the shopping mall car park, or the work colleague, or the team mate - just because they have a physical presence.
To me my friends hold my heart and trust carefully and in return I treasure theirs, and that is true no matter where I met them or how we interact.
So you see if one more person says to me “SecondLife friendships aren’t real friendships, coz after all it is only a game”, then I think I will scream.
So that was my thought. Thankyou Yamis, my friend, for the space.