Local people you knew but only befriended on the Net

Inspired by a comment on this thread Clifford Stoll's 1995 curmudgeonly anti-Internet Newsweek article and book - Miscellaneous and Personal Stuff I Must Share - Straight Dope Message Board
about how the Internet is redefining “human contact”~

Tell me about the friendships you’ve made with people who live locally whom you already knew but didn’t really become friends till getting to know them over the Net.

I have two.

I used to assist one of the groups in my church. One lady had left but I had a friendly acquaintance with her so I sent her a birthday e-mail asking how she was. Out of this developed ongoing Net chatting and then we’d occasionally get together for dinner. We’ve been best RL buddies now for over a decade.

A local lady along with her husband had been a regular customer where I work.
As the years went by, I saw him with another woman & her not at all. We’d all had a friendly acquaintance and I knew his name but not hers. This past year, she came back into town, showed up on a social network site as a friend of a friend. Finally I knew her name and have gradually found out she’s been through quite an ordeal the past few years & is on her way back to emotional healing. We’ve had some very good chats, including her encouraging me through my appendectomy healing in November, have gotten together once & are planning for dinner in the future once our schedules can sync.

I needed to force myself to socialize more, so I decided to start a “Winter Game Night” group on Facebook and invite all of my local FB friends to join, and come over to my house every few weeks for a game night.

Now, all of my FB friends are people I know in real life (except a couple Dopers). Probably half of them are people I haven’t had any regular contact with since I graduated in 1997. And a lot of those people are people I never really hung out with except for at school.

We’ve got one guy, Doug, who comes to game night and I never in a million years would have thought he’d be someone I’d invite to my house. He’s not a bad guy, just a quirky fellow. He does just fine at game night and fits in ok.

Another couple is this kid (and his wife) I’ve always known, just from around town. He’s 3 years younger, we never hung out at school. But sometimes on Facebook you get to be “friends” with whoever most actively uses Facebook. So this guy and his wife come to game night and they’re cool too. Never would have thought I’d be friendly enough with him to have him in my house, but there he is.

This last game night was pretty wild as far as guests go. One couple was a kid I worked with when I was 16. We hung out a lot the year we worked together but that was about it. Now 13 years since I last saw him, he and his wife are at my house with all my other friends. Another couple that came is my best friend from elementary school, who moved out-of-state our junior year. We hadn’t been close since elementary school, but she was in town this weekend and I invited them to game night. So my party had 2 people I hadn’t seen in 10 years plus 2 I’d never met before, my “regular” friends I see normally and Doug.

The whole game night experience has been pretty surreal. It’s like making your Internet friends into your IRL friends even though we had been IRL acquaintances before.

I’m pretty sure I will continue Winter Game Nights past the Winter. It’s popular so far! :slight_smile:

ZipperJJ- That IS a very cool story & just the sort of thing I was asking for!

Something else also- I go to a very conservative church. Several members including my pastor are on my Facebook. I would never have gone to most of these people & expressed my Universalist tendencies. However, I do it freely on Facebook & so far have gotten no flack whatsoever.

Um, that would be my husband. We went to the same university, lived in the same dorm, and were friendly acquaintances for the first year of school. During the summer we parted ways and began to instant message and e-mail one another to stay in touch. Eventually our internet conversations became a daily ritual and we grew closer and closer. We basically fell in love online.