Advice needed on dealing with internet friend

First of all, she’s not a Doper, and it’s not sexual in nature.

She’s someone I met playing backgammon online, and I enjoy playing with her and chatting with her. We’ve become pretty good friends, as far as this type of thing goes.

My main difficulty is that I’m not always glad to see her IM me. I get the feeling she is compelled to IM me whenever she sees me sign on, and sometimes I just don’t feel like talking to her or playing backgammon. I use the internet for other things, too, and sometimes I like to be free to do those things.

But I don’t like to make excuses, and I don’t want her to feel badly by telling her flat out I’m not interested in chatting or playing. In some ways, I think she’s kinda needy, and I’ve filled a void in her life. Not that I mind, but sometimes I feel like she’s an intrusion.

I’ve been thinking of emailing her and asking her to please understand that I don’t mind her saying hi, but if she’s IMing me everytime I show up on her buddy list, it’s sorta like knocking on your friend’s door every time you walk by his house. I’ve also considered making a certain night “backgammon night” with her. Sort of a standing date.

Any other advice?

I have friends like this too-- I can always count on them IMing me within 45 seconds of my logging on. Basically I’ve just gotten into the habit of saying “Hey, it’s really nice to see you online, but I’m writing an e-mail to my mom/ doing research for a project/ working on a client’s website, let me IM you when I’m done so I don’t accidentally forget about you, okay?” Usually after doing this a couple of times they either get the hint or are fooled into thinking I’m a really busy person with Very Very Important Things to do. Sadly, if she’s exceedingly clingy you might have to be more firm and write her an e-mail.

It doesn’t necessarily mean she’s clingy. I have friends who start wondering if I’m mad at them if I don’t IM them within 15 seconds of signing on (as a result, I keep IMer on Away or shut it altogether). It’s an etiquette thing.

Nothing apropos to add, but

is one of the best analogies I’ve heard in a long time.

Good luck.

I understand it’s an etiquette thing. Just because someone is online doesn’t automatically mean you have to IM them.

And I’ve told her sometimes that I’m kinda busy with one thing or another, but I don’t want to tell her that too much or it sounds like I’m making excuses. And that’s tough to do every single day. Makes it seem like I’m avoiding her, when in reality I almost feel like she’s pestering me simply because I’m there.

See, it’s weird. I’m worried about appearing rude, but actually, I think she’s the one who’s being rude.

Well, think of it this way.
To her, seeing someone she knows on AIM and not saying hello is the same thing as seeing someone she knows IRL and not saying hello.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with setting a specific night to play. I used to have a standing date on Wednesday nights and I always looked forward to it. If I wanted to talk, play any other time, I’d just ask.

Definitely not rude, but !ceQueen does have a point, maybe your friend thinks its just good manner to always talk everytime she sees you.

This is why I have no IM software on my computer(s). I HATE that. I HATE it when people jump right on me as soon as I log on. I sometimes only have 15 minutes to check something, or write an email, and then I have to go to work or go out. I don’t like having to waste even a minute of that meagre time telling people “I can’t chat, I only have 15 minutes.” It interrupts the flow.

Is there some way you can disable your IM software before you log on? I know I used to do this with ICQ (before I removed it from my hard drive, that is). There’s got to be a way for you to be in “invisible” mode, right?

One way to make blow-offs sound less like excuses is to make later arangements at he same time: “Hey! I’m real busy right now, and I can’t let myself get sucked into chat: are you gonna be around for backgammon tonight/tomorrow night/wends? (whichever is appropriate)” sounds a great deal more polite than just “I’m busy.”

Actually, I think !ceQueen hit it. My friend probably thinks it’s simply good manners to say hello, whether online or IRL. And I see the internet as more private. I don’t want to disable all my IM capability, since I do IM with others. Sometimes she interrupts that, as well.

And I do postpone talking with her, just telling her I’m busy with something important, or I just wanted to check my email, and maybe we can get together tomorrow, or something.

I may just ask her if she feels the need to say hi just because she sees my name, then explain how I feel. I wouldn’t want her feelings to be hurt, but if I take her viewpoint into consideration and let her explain, maybe she’ll understand.

Thanks for the insights.

Make a new name.

I have a name for people who I have no problem talking to at any time, and the people who I don’t always have to talk to have the other name. When I am in the former mood, my “secret” name is the one I use.

Sometimes, when I am on my main name (not the secret one), I just put an “away” message up. Sometimes I’m really away, but sometimes I’m there…but I need some online “quiet” time. I leave my messaging on just in case there is something of importance someone wants to say to me. Kind of like a screening or “caller ID” thingy.

One person I know has over 17 names because he makes them when he wants to hide from someone. Eventually he gets over whatever it was with that person, and the secret name becomes known. Then it happens all over again. :smiley:

When I first start IMing people I tell them up front that if I don’t respond immediately it may be for one of several reasons, but to not take it personally. If I have time to chat, I will. If I don’t, I won’t.

To me, ignoring an IM is no different from screening your calls via an answering machine. Or ignoring a knock at the door.

Not a completely apt analogy, I fear. I screen my phone calls via an answering machine, but that’s more private. IOW, the person calling you doesn’t know if you’re home or not. No biggie.

But if someone has me on their buddy list, they KNOW I’m online. So ignoring the window that says “hi” is pretty rude, I think. Sorta like looking full in the face of someone you know as you pass in the street and not acknowledging them. I feel I at least have to give someone the courtesy of acknowledging that they contacted me.

It’s having them contact me every single time they sign on and see me that gets me. I’m not online just waiting for her to sign on and contact me. And if she’s just farting around, wasting time, and wanted to BS with me or play a game or two, there’s no guarantee that that’s what I want to do. I’ve told her in the past that I didn’t have time, or was busy with something else, but I don’t want her to feel I’m avoiding her.

None of my messaging programs will come up automatically. If I want to chat, it’s a click away. Otherwise, no one knows whether I’m on line or not. When I was being “bothered” on ICQ, I’d log on in the invisible mode to see who was around. I hardly use that program any longer. And I only talk to 2 people on IM, and I have no problems telling either that I’m busy, tho if I’m busy, I don’t start the program…

Why not just do what FairyChatMom said? If you don’t wanna chat don’t start up whatever program you’re using. If I’ve got ICQ on and someone comes online, I take it to mean that they’re online and they want to chat. I usually say hi even if I don’t want to chat for the same reason I would passing a friend at uni.

What kind of IM program is this, may I ask?

AOL Instant Messaging has an “away” option that functions like an answering machine. You can still be online but not necessarily by the computer. My computer is on at all hours of the day, but with a young son, my time spent sitting in front of the monitor isn’t for a long stretch at one single time. I may sit 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there…hence the need for the away message.

People then can still try to get my attention.