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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2041762
Rated: 18+ · Book · Writing · #2041762
A math guy's random thoughts.
#962662 added July 15, 2019 at 11:32am
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My friend--and awesome author--Raven recently posted a link on Facebook to this article  . It's about using a visit to refresh old friendships that have faded due to time and distance. It's an interesting article, and well worth the read, but it got me to thinking about online friendships.

Here on Writing.Com, I've formed many treasured friendships. Some of these date to my first days on the site, while others are more recent. These friendships started from our mutual interest in writing, but blossomed over time to much more. Now, I look forward to hearing from these friends, whether on Facebook or via email, about the joys and sorrows of their lives. I share the same with them. I am as close to these on-line friends as to my friends in that other place, the one that we call in the real world.

The thing is, these friendships are as real to me as any other. These friends make my sorrows easier to bear, make my joys more complete, and enrich my soul. Today's fractious world gives credence to Sartre's observation that hell is other people. But friendship doesn't divide people. Friendship surmounts the gap that separates us. The bridge that is friendship is where we can, at last, find the divine.

A couple of weeks ago, I got a call from a phone number I didn't recognize. I thought it was probably "Daryl, from card services," or some other scam, but I answered anyway. The woman at the other end spoke in a voice I didn't recognize, and asked for Max.

Now, understand, Max is my pen name. The list of people who know both my pen name and my cell number is short, and almost no one on that list would call me "Max." I knew at once this had to be Carol St. Ann . We exchanged our first messages here sometime in my initial days on Writing.Com, and long ago traded phone numbers, "just in case" we needed to speak in person. But this was the first time I'd heard her voice.

We chatted for nearly an hour about writing, work, and life. It was like we'd known each other for years because we have known each other for years. We've made tentative plans for her to actually visit Oklahoma, if not this summer then eventually.

Which brings me back to the essay I mentioned at the start of this blog. It's about renewing old friendships, but it could just as easily be about adding a "real world" component to virtual friendships. There are easily at least a dozen people I've met here on Writing.Com that I'd love to have visit me in Tulsa. I won't list the ones that come to my mind, because I'm sure I'd overlook someone whose visit I would treasure.

The article gives four rules for a "friendship visit." These are
Rule 1. The purpose of the visit is for friendship only.
Rule 2. Stay at your friend's home.
Rule 3. Be alive in the space of the friendship--no social media during the stay.
Rule 4. No special plans, like a spa or a fancy restaurant. The purpose is to see your friend in their settled life, in their home.

I'd have to say that I think some flexibility on the rules is appropriate. We're fortunate to have a spare room with a private bath, but not everyone has space for an overnight guest. For most of us, a trip to a far-away place is expensive in both time and money, so tacking a friendship visit onto the end or beginning of a business trip makes sense.

As to rule four, the community where we live is part of our settled life. Depending on the visitor, I might want to take a guest to a museum  , or to a Mexican restaurant,  , or on a drive along Route 66  , or perhaps a tour of the city's art deco heritage.  . The point is to let your host show parts of their community that they find interesting. After all, that's part of being with your friend in their settled life.

I'd probably add another item to the list. The essay mentions that she stayed for two nights. Two nights sound like a minimum to me, with three or four being preferable. Much longer than four could readily start to intrude on your host's other responsibilities.

So, what do you think? Would you be interested in hosting a virtual friend in your home? Would you be interested in visiting a virtual friend? To be sure, there are risks involved. What if it turns out you can't stand the person once you meet them face-to-face? What if their significant other is a hopeless boor who insults you and what you hold dear? What if their home is a candidate for an episode of Hoarders, or their pet snakes slither up into your lap? (We have cats, and, yes, they will climb onto your lap and offer to let you smell their...well, you get the idea.)

But life is risk. For friends, I'm willing to take the chance. How about you?

Max Griffin
Please visit my website and blog at

Check out my latest release!
The Hounds of Hollenbeck
Product Type: eBooks
Amazon's Price: Price N/A

Max Griffin
Please visit my website and blog at

Check out my latest release!
The Hounds of Hollenbeck
Product Type: eBooks
Amazon's Price: Price N/A

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