Losing online friends

“How to Grieve for Online Friends You Had Never Met in Person”

Interesting article.

People who have never made close online friends don’t understand that these are real relationships and the connections are just as strong as those made in so-called Real Life.

I’ve done a few long drives to make funerals or memorials for people I never met in person; here on the Dope and around other places as well. People ask why and I can’t understand not doing it. I spend as much quality time around a lot of you as I do any “physical space friends” so it just helps me with the closure. Probably one of the reasons I have an easier time with the loss of Norinew than I do Opal.

In my 28 years of using the internet, forums, social sites, I’ve never made a lasting online friendship unless you count my spouse. I never really frequented a site long enough or really reached out to anyone to make an online friend. I’m not really the type to PM/IM someone and try tbh. Maybe I need to learn to socialize more?

I always figured no one cared to be bothered so I’ve never tried.

Yes, it is sad when I lose contact with an extremely interesting person. Online, I can talk to people all over the world and get their feedback. Nothing like in real life.

It’s always been funny to me, that in past generations we romanticized pen-pal relationships or those relationships sustained over years of letter writing, and diminish the modern equivalent. When people had less opportunity to travel, letter writing often was the basis of the relationship. Now we have the chance to meet people from around the globe and interact with them, why shouldn’t the similar relationship hold weight?

This is so true! I had a good friend who connected as a child in the late 1940s with a pen pal in England and the two men corresponded all of their lives up until my friend’s death in his 70s. They met IRL a few times, and oddly, when I got married in 1990, we had our reception at this friend’s home, and the pen pal just happened to be visiting, so he’s in our wedding pictures!

I was part of an online community where four of us got crosswise with the mod and we started our own community–four women who lived in all different parts of the county. We started a message board on ProBoards, which is incredibly easy to set up (and free, too). We communicated daily on everything under the sun from the trivial to the sublime. I met two of the women in person when they came here for business meetings. And then one day after years of being in this group. two of the women just ghosted. Neither one replied to PMs or texts, just disappeared without any explanation. I’m still in touch occasionally with the fourth person. She sees one of these ghosts on facebook (I’m not on facebook). She and I have no idea what happened or why and never will. This was about three years ago and it took me a good long while to get over it. You can form very strong connections.

This is so eye opening to me. This board is my first foray into online life. The short time I’ve been here I have feel for who is who and an understanding of their personalities. I never knew that you could have real sympathy for someone facing a personal crisis or feel joy for someone’s happy event. But, I do.
I have cried, laughed and giggled right along with you people.
I am agoraphobic, it’s hard for me to get out of my comfort zone. This board is perfect for me. Thanks guys for letting me jump in and swim with fishes. It’s been fun and enlightening. I’ve learned alot.

That is a fascinating article. While I have made an online friend or two, I’ve never lost one, and I never considered that people would treat that loss as less valid.

Indeed. I accepted a friend request from some guy in Libya. I don’t normally accept FRs from strangers, but I accepted this guy because I mistakenly thought he belonged to a debate group I belong to.

Anyway, he’s a sweet kid with an interesting outlook on life. He’s always posting videos of bombings going on right in his back yard.

Then one day he stops posting for like weeks (he normally posts everyday). I found myself actually getting worried about this kid. I thought he was dead!

Thankfully, he started posting again. So I guess he’s okay.


Many people remember when OpalCat passed away. It hit me a lot harder than I would have expected. And in that case, I wouldn’t have considered her my friend in any sense. We never chatted or anything like that. But I thought she was a great person and the board was better because she was on it. Then when she was gone, the loss felt like losing a person in real life. I still am hit with a twinge of sadness when a zombie thread is revived and I see some of her old posts.

This is one of the best things about the internet-- the ability to connect with people if for some reason you aren’t inclined to go out much or if you’re geographically isolated.

Right after my husband died, I got on a board for widowed people and it was a godsend. I lived alone out in the country, and in the beginning I did spend a lot of time with people. But after a few months or years, your IRL friends don’t get why you’re not over it yet. They’re tired of your sadness. But this vast community of widowed people was always ready to talk, support, console, and help, no matter how long it’s been.

One night a beloved cat was killed by dogs in the middle of the night. (I heard and went out and found her. :frowning: ) I was all alone and there was only one friend I could call and she lived in another state. I got on that board and within minutes l had supportive and sympathetic messages from many people. It made me feel less alone and rightly so.

Internet communities are amazing. The SDMB might be the most amazing one anywhere.

I’m friends with a group of people and we regularly play computer games online together, talking on voice chat and generally screwing around in all the cheap lame games we’ve collected via various means. We’re all in or pushing middle age so it was more social hangout time than hard core gaming. One guy in the “core group” suddenly stopped showing up about a year ago which was strange since it was on nightly. It turned out that he suffered a fall that put him in the hospital and didn’t make it.

It’s a strange feeling, in part because when that first week goes by and “Maybe he got busy” isn’t a plausible answer any longer, you often don’t really have a way of checking. Chances are, you don’t know their family or “real life” friends and are just sort of left hanging even if it’s someone you’ve been talking to for years. We knew his name and generally where he lived and were looking for online obituaries or local media stories or anything. Finally, a couple months later, one guy managed to track down a relative who told him the story.

He was not only the first “online friend” who passed away, he was the first friend I’ve had who has died. Glad that we, at least, made his time a bit more enjoyable and thankful that he was able to do the same for us.

I’ve been friends with the same group of women for over 21 years. We all met as one of those pregnancy BB groups. There were hundreds at first, but a core group of about 50 of us have remained “close” the whole time. I’ve met maybe half of them in real life, but the ones I haven’t are just as important as the ones I have.

I mean, you don’t spend a couple of decades chatting, sharing, watching each others kids go from babies to young adults without forming real friendships. We haven’t had any ladies die, but some husbands have and one of the kids committed suicide. The sorrow and the grief is very, very real. If anyone of these ladies were to pass, I would do everything I could to attend the funeral. In the meantime, we’re all doing the best we can to meet each other now, while we’re all still around.