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What is a friend...


bigvalboy
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Is it possible to truly be friends with someone in cyber-space, and do you call that a friendship or something else. That question was actually proposed to me when I made a friendship request of someone on the M-F. It got me thinking, and I thought it to be a fair question. I say yes, but I understand the reasoning in someone thinking otherwise. Just wanted to put that out there....

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Hey BVB... an interesting question and one that I have wrestled with for a long time. I guess in part it depends on your definition of "friendship" and in my mind there are levels of friendship too. I do have a number of "friends" here on the Forum, and some I have met personally and hope to keep their friendship, even though we may only be able to meet in person on occasion, especially since we are spread all over the country. There are some friendships that I maintain since college days, even though we don't see each other in person very often, and in some cases for many years. We manage to keep up those friendships through the phone, email,etc. So depending on what you mean by "truly be friends"... I think the answer is probably yes, but I also suspect that over time, if you have never met in person it will be harder (no pun intended) to maintain that friendship.

DD

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i believe that cyber based relationships may be friendships but that a true friendship requires mutual respect, support and interest. i have few friends, probably 5 and lots of acquaintances, that many would call friends but the relationship with these people, for me, is missing the easiness and forgiveness that help to define friendship. I think I define friendship fairly rigidly. Others may have a much less demanding definition

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I tend to agree with purplekow's view here on what a true friendship is all about. It seems that the term has lost some of its meaning as just about anyone is given that title but for me it is or should be something special. In any case, unless someone insists that the definition requires physical interaction to some degree (and get your mind out of the gutter for those here that automatically think of sex, lol), then cyber friendship is possible and can exist based on most criteria people may use to define a friendship.

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Bigval---I think the key to your question lies in your phrase "true friendship." Cyber-friendship---by which I mean the only contact you have with the individual is through electronic exchanges--is not "true friendhship," I have developed cyber-friendships with several people over the years, and one developed into "true friendship" only after we had met in person. To me looking at and inter-acting with another person, male or female, in person is essential to "true friendship." Body language--gestures, eye-contact, even non-sexual touches, reveal so much more than is possible through anything except perhaps Skype---but most people I know who use Skype, use it with people who are relatives or who were friends prior to Skyping.

A thought just popped into my mind: there are some advantages to "cyber-friendships"---you never have to cringe at a "friends" bad breath or body odor, lousy dining habits or terrible clothing choices:)) Just joking of course, none of our friends would subject us to such indignities, would they?

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There are alot of elements missing from on-line only relationships such as "interactiveness" which I believe enhance and develope a friendship.

 

Can you have online friendships ? SURE. but it would certainly be a "specific" definition created by modern day culture.

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My definition of friendship is at least as exclusive as pk's but I do recognize various "categories" of friendly folks which could suggest "business" friends, sports friends, friends of the family, etc., etc. I am willing to think that generally these are acquaintences but all are of the "very friendly" variety and could turn into "real" friends under certain circumstances. One never knows when one will need "help" AND the best way to have a friend is to BE one which is not original but true.

 

Best regards,

KMEM

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My definition of friendship is at least as exclusive as pk's but I do recognize various "categories" of friendly folks which could suggest "business" friends, sports friends, friends of the family, etc., etc. I am willing to think that generally these are acquaintences but all are of the "very friendly" variety and could turn into "real" friends under certain circumstances. One never knows when one will need "help" AND the best way to have a friend is to BE one which is not original but true.

 

Best regards,

KMEM

 

And I reduced my "Friends" list quite substantially over the years when I learned that these "friends" could not be there for me the same way they "expected" me to be there for them.

 

The proof will always be in the pudding, and in WHAT you are willing to put up with. I have learned to nOT let myself be taken advantage of if there is never any reciprocation. It doesnt need to be EQUAL, but it needs to be SOMETHING.

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I vote with the group that would call a cyber (only)-friendship an "acquaintance." "Friendship" then would have levels from superficial to deep--probably on what you meant to each other, and that has levels too.

 

Wow that makes Christmas shopping a bitch !

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I remember being taught in my college psychology courses that people who are extroverts tend to have numerous "friends" while introverts generally only have a few people they consider "friends." I the difference is how people view their relationships and define friendship. Extroverts are often labeled shallow by introverts because introverts assume extroverts.cannot have any deep friendships if they view every casual acquaintance as a friend. My own definition of a friend is somewhere in between. Like kmem, I view myself as having categories of "friends" and relationships in one or two of those categories are more emotionally fulfilling than those in the other categories.

 

As for the specific question posed, I do believe you can have friendships that are formed and wholly contained online. At various times in my life, I've had very fulfilling online friendships. I had one friend with whom I started playing cards online and we interacted daily for about 7 years. We still keep in touch, but not as frequently. If I didn't hear from that friend for a couple of days, I'd get concerned about her health and she was the same about me. Although we only talked on the phone a few times, we had phone numbers and other emergency contact information for one another. I consider that friend to be one of the best friends I've had in my life. So put me down as a yes for being able to have friends who you only know online. I'm not saying such friendships don't have limitations (they obviously do), but they can also provide steadiness over a long period when you move around a lot or have other issues. Friendships formed in person often don't survive a move across country, but distance doesn't hinder online friendships.

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To the no voters, there was a time not so long ago that people corresponded and wrote down well thought out ideas and exchanged letters with regularity and respect. Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning initially only corresponded, for example.

 

Even as a child, I had an Austrailian "pen pal" with whom I corresponded for several years. I must admit, once the teen years hit, that relationship ended. So while it may be difficulty to maintain a friendship in which there is no physical contact, it is possible to love pure and chaste from afar and I believe it is possible to be internet friends if you work at exchanging ideas of interest and show compassion and caring for the words or your "firend".

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I think it's very difficult to predict how a real, good friendship comes to happen. At least for me, it certainly isn't as easy as deciding, "ok, I'm going to go out and make a new friend." It usually happens by accident, often in unexpected ways. So, while I think it is unlikely for a cyber friendship to turn into a "real" friendship, I think it is possible.

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Can you be friends with people you meet on-line? In my case, absolutely. Some of the best friends I have are here from this forum. Many of them I have now met in person, but we were friends before we even met. We have supported each other through life's ups and downs, through surgeries, coming out, the start of a relationship, the end of a relationship and through loss and triumph. The many friends I have made here are an important part of my life. Now that I am in a committed relationship with my partner, these are the men that I want to meet my partner. One friend from the forum has already met my partner. Others will follow. And that includes my escorts who are now friends as well. My partner knows that meeting these friends will at times involve traveling to meet them in person. But he knows these men are important to me and wants to meet the men who got me to where I am today, and in many ways helped me become the man he fell in love with.

 

Distance doesn't minimize the friendship. These friendships, even if only on-line, have all the same traits as "real-world" friends. Poking fun at each others' foibles, sharing important events in our lives, talking about everything and nothing at all. In some ways it may even have an advantage if they are truly friends. My best friends are able to tell me the truth, even about things that are hard to hear. But a truth that I need to hear and understand. There has been a personal honesty in these relationships and they have helped me grow and change things about me that needed to be changed. Risking friendships to tell a friend the truth is, to me, the sign of a true friend. I have had that from my forum friends -- clients and escorts alike.

 

We text, we talk, we e-mail, we PM. And when we are lucky, we get to meet in person. I've been lucky to have meet probably close to 50 forum members in person. And should I be lucky enough that one day I marry my partner, these are the men who I want to be with there, to stand with me.

 

Friendships, like much in life, are what you put into it. If you are truly someone's friend, it makes no difference whether it is a cyber-friend or "real-world" friend. It makes no difference how you meet if you are true friends.

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Well said, LBT... as always you manage to add luster and depth to the threads here on the Forum... I am proud to call you a "friend" and that in the truest sense of the word... we met here first, but have been able to spend a little time together, but not as much as either one of would like, but I know that we will always be there for one another... through thick and thin...another true test of a friendship, regardless of how one meets a friend.

DD

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I've met a few folks from the Board and consider them friends. We don't shave one another's backs or anything but I care about them and would be there for support, as they have been for me. That fits my definition of a friend, though our communications started through one of the Boards.

 

There are a few other posters whose warmth and style I really appreciate and I think I'd enjoy being friends with them, however that manifests itself.

 

Of course, friendships ebb and flow so where they are today may not be where they are tomorrow. I've known my closest friends for decades and, among them are some I talk with every few days and some every few months. But we'll always be there for one another.

 

And, as KMEM so wisely put it, if you want a friend, be a friend. I think the type of friendly energy that we put out to others is the kind we want back, so I expect that we each define friendship perfectly for ourselves and find the folks we want to be friends with. Or not.

 

 

PS: One of the folks I enjoy from the Board is the OP, and I had intended to reach out to him when he visited the Bay Area. But I haven't been infesting the Board lately and forgot he was coming. Now he's already been and gone. I'm sorry I missed him, as I would gladly have bought him a beer and rubbed sunscreen on his back. http://www.maleescortreview.com/forum/public/style_emoticons/default/rolleyes.gif

 

 

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-bGAnhTxXPWk/ToBw2dWQPFI/AAAAAAAALFg/cOAGFLV-So4/s1600/sanfran+nude+protest.jpg

 

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And, as KMEM so wisely put it, if you want a friend, be a friend. I think the type of friendly energy that we put out to others is the kind we want back, so I expect that we each define friendship perfectly for ourselves and find the folks we want to be friends with. Or not.

 

Good in theory, but you dont always reap what you sow. you need to know when to cut your losses.....
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PS: One of the folks I enjoy from the Board is the OP, and I had intended to reach out to him when he visited the Bay Area. But I haven't been infesting the Board lately and forgot he was coming. Now he's already been and gone. I'm sorry I missed him, as I would gladly have bought him a beer and rubbed sunscreen on his back.

 

And you would have loved it. I had the pleasure of meeting and spending some time with BVB in PS last month. A great guy and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

But you might have had to save some sunscreen for the head as well as the back. :)

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