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How close are we on Metafilter? November 15, 2003 6:28 PM   Subscribe

Amidst all the talk about grudges and nemesii; stalking and vendettas; personal beefs and antipathies, the fact remains that, when you've been on MetaFilter for a while, the chances are that you've also made a few friends - or, at least, established some pleasant, lasting empathetic online relationships. Are they - or can they be - considered friendships? Or are they better considered fleeting and virtual, ready to evaporate at the first hastily answered (or unanswered) e-mail, not worth the paper they weren't written on in the first place?
posted by MiguelCardoso to MetaFilter-Related at 6:28 PM (74 comments total)

MetaFilter helped me meet some of the nicest people on the planet. I've made some really good friends thanks to it, and of course #mefi helped make it easier too.

Does it matter if you only meet these friends once in a while in person if you are in touch just about everyday online? I don't think so.
posted by riffola at 6:32 PM on November 15, 2003


Well, Miguel, the answer to your question depends on whether or not we meet for coffee if my husband and I find ourselves in Portugal.
posted by konolia at 6:40 PM on November 15, 2003


...depends on whether or not we meet for coffee if my husband and I find ourselves in Portugal.
coffee? bah! you should stay at his house. : >

I've met lots of cool people here, but I'm not sure I would go to them in an emergency, which is my test of true friendship.
posted by amberglow at 6:42 PM on November 15, 2003


Actually, some of the best friends I have on MetaFilter are the ones I'm not at all ready to meet in real life yet.

No, sorry - that was a snarky, knee-jerk response. I know what you mean, Miguel - I consider ColdChef a "real" friend of mine, even if he doesn't come by my own site anymore (or around here much either), and also even though we have never met in person and probably never will. However, through MeFi, I "met" this guy, and got to know him well enough to genuinely want to send him a card on his wedding. I consider that a friendship, even if I never do have that awkward "hi - I'm yhbc" moment with him, or any number of other MeFites I'm happy to consider friends.
posted by yhbc at 6:45 PM on November 15, 2003


And amberglow - a friend will help you move. A real friend will help you move a body.
posted by yhbc at 6:46 PM on November 15, 2003


Nah, the freindships are real. Last night,I went out to dinner with two people I met on Mefi, one of whom is now dating one of my oldest freinds. It's because of Mefi that I had some people to hang out with when I moved to new york. Some of them, including many whom I've never met in person, have been there to help me through some rough times.

It may be pixels on a screen, but behind those pixels are genuine flesh and blood people.
posted by jonmc at 6:48 PM on November 15, 2003


so very true, yhbc : >

Metafilter: will help you move a body?
posted by amberglow at 6:50 PM on November 15, 2003


Not MeFi but on Plastic, I met the most intriguing and thought-provoking woman of my life, and unfair or not, I have compared all the women I have met since her to the standard she set.

Well, looking at the clock, it's time I went out and found someone new.
posted by mischief at 7:26 PM on November 15, 2003


Amidst all the talk about grudges and nemesii; stalking and vendettas; personal beefs and antipathies, the fact remains that, when you've been on MetaFilter for a while, the chances are that you've also made a few friends - or, at least, established some pleasant, lasting empathetic online relationships. Are they - or can they be - considered friendships? Or are they better considered fleeting and virtual, ready to evaporate at the first hastily answered (or unanswered) e-mail, not worth the paper they weren't written on in the first place?

Yes, they can, but the sex is worse.
posted by The God Complex at 7:57 PM on November 15, 2003


In fact, the bandages are just about ready to come off. However I'm afraid my monitor and I will never fully reconcile.
posted by The God Complex at 7:58 PM on November 15, 2003


Also, Miguel, "nemesii" is so ultra totally not a word, dude, even though "nemesis" sounds marginally like "octopus".
posted by The God Complex at 8:02 PM on November 15, 2003


The plural of nemesis is nemeses.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:19 PM on November 15, 2003


Are they - or can they be - considered friendships? Or are they better considered fleeting and virtual, ready to evaporate at the first hastily answered (or unanswered) e-mail, not worth the paper they weren't written on in the first place?

Those are the only choices? Well, no, I wouldn't consider anybody I've met on here to be my best friend on the whole world -- I think you need personal contact for that. But "fleeting and virtual" and "not worth the paper they weren't written on" isn't right either. I can think of lots of "nonvirtual" friendships in my life that have petered out, but were still very worthwhile while they lasted. I think the same applies to internet friendships.
posted by JanetLand at 8:22 PM on November 15, 2003


Indeed, I don't think the matter is as simple as you make it out to be, miguel. Friendship, no matter where you find it, may blossom for a short time, a long time or not at all. Whether that friendship is discovered in a chat room, a brothel, a bar, on the bus, in the library, the grocery store or as a pen pal, it matters not; what does matter is how much you put into it to make it work, and whether you find it work to maintain it, or a toilsome chore.
posted by ashbury at 8:44 PM on November 15, 2003


Online relationships, imo, are too easy, lazy and non-committal (however pleasant and engaging) to be considered friendships. Sure, there are a lot of people we like reading and talking to and (very important, this) flirting with - mostly in a non-sexual way.

But real friendships are made of time together, of physical togetherness and presence, of loving the look of someone's face and the grace of their gestures. There's a need for physical contact and presence and shared experience. You have to treasure and miss (and often despair of) a friend's eyes, expression, habits, "materialized" style: the way they walk, dress, speak, annoy there and then in their very own way.

Although I've been enriched by the people I've met here (and do consider a few to be real, though invisible, friends) I still feel MeFi, friend-wise, is more like an introductory dating system, offering (at most) the enticing prospect of anticipation. I.e. "This is someone I might get along with."

But then the part about probably never meeting sort of kills that initial promise - or traps that proto-friendship in a never-neverland that, ultimately, puts paid to its realization.

Besides, our real-life friends really resent the time we spend here instead of being with them. Which allows for the dire, unspoken possibility that - perhaps - MeFi buddies are A-OK and that it's our real-life friends that are to blame... ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:54 PM on November 15, 2003


Although I've been enriched by the people I've met here (and do consider a few to be real, though invisible, friends) I still feel MeFi, friend-wise, is more like an introductory dating system, offering (at most) the enticing prospect of anticipation. I.e. "This is someone I might get along with."


If your only contact with someone is through metafilter (in the grey or blue, or the occasional e-mail), then I agree. However, I wouldn't consider someone I know strictly online a real friend unless I'd spoken with them at length, and fairly often, in a more personal one-on-one circumstance, even if that was using an online messenger service of some sort.
posted by The God Complex at 9:31 PM on November 15, 2003


I've met lots of cool people here, but I'm not sure I would go to them in an emergency, which is my test of true friendship.

you can always come to me in an emergency, amberglow. i point and laugh in person as well as i do online, man.
posted by quonsar at 9:37 PM on November 15, 2003


The people are real, though masked; the connections, evanescent.
posted by rushmc at 10:20 PM on November 15, 2003


People on MeFi (or more precisely, #mefi) who I find simpatico I define as 'fellow travelers'. It'd be a wild reach to call them friends. Some of these people I've met in real life. I'd call them acquaintances. Friendships get built over time. It takes time.

Still, it doesn't mean I wouldn't help any of these fine folks out if they had an emergency. Just ask.
posted by attackthetaxi at 10:24 PM on November 15, 2003


I hate all of you.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:37 PM on November 15, 2003


I had a blind date with another MeFite (arranged elsewhere). I was surprised when she said she already know a lot about me from my posts here.

Despite that fact we're engaged to be married this summer.
posted by Mick at 10:47 PM on November 15, 2003


You had a blind date and it turned out to be your fiance? Dude, that is so weird!

I haven't met any real life friends on metafilter, but then I don't need friends, I've got my creations.

I have, however, found people's personal web sites through other means and been shocked to find out they were metafilter users. It's so weird how small the internet is.
posted by Hildago at 10:58 PM on November 15, 2003


I wear 1, 2, 3 Depends-
Lucifer's my only Friend!!
posted by crunchburger at 11:06 PM on November 15, 2003


A long, complicated self-linking story here about meeting a fellow MeFite and getting engaged to him, despite his horrible typing/spelling/grammar.
posted by keli at 12:15 AM on November 16, 2003


Miguel, no offense meant, but its posts like this to MetaTalk that really make me want to leave this place forever. Online community /= buddies.

Admittedly, I live in the hinterlands, and have very little hope of meeting fellow Mefites (except those I already know or those who blog in my hinterland state, who I've met through their blogs). But, really, isn't this just a strange kind of cry for us all to just get along?

Seriously, wouldn't a more entertaining question be: How do you react when one of your good Mefi friends and buddies dares to disagree with you, and stops just short of calling you an asshat?

There are people here I've learned to respect; there are people here I've learned to admire (what they have to say). But the only person whose children I would wish to have is homunculus (if I were a woman, and horny, and drunk, and actually KNEW him face to face, like we met in a bar, or had a romantic vacation or ...). It ain't the love and snuggles, its the links, 'kay?
posted by Wulfgar! at 12:17 AM on November 16, 2003


Your friend, squirrel.
posted by squirrel at 1:12 AM on November 16, 2003


Miguel is probably researching some article and using us as lab rats again.
posted by crunchland at 2:41 AM on November 16, 2003


keli- this old cynic read the whole thing and am real pleased for ya. Best wishes for the future, dear!! Mwahmwah!!
posted by dash_slot- at 2:52 AM on November 16, 2003


I don't need friends, I've got my creations.

Dr. Moreau, I presume?
posted by rushmc at 4:24 AM on November 16, 2003


Miguel, try this next time, otherwise you'll get a D


posted by matteo at 4:31 AM on November 16, 2003


i guess a few of us will find out when we arrive (sadly , the dutch will not be present) in portugal for euro 2004 !
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:03 AM on November 16, 2003


Time to test a theory:

Any MeFites in the L.A. area (preferably San Fernando Valley/Hollywood) who can lend me a pick-up truck and/or a strong back to help me move my stuff next weekend?

Or at least reccommend a good cheap place to put most of it in storage?

This is real. Terribly smartass, but real.
posted by wendell at 7:49 AM on November 16, 2003


If I was in LA, I would help (but only with holding doors open or watching the truck--I make my friends do the heavy lifting) : >
posted by amberglow at 8:39 AM on November 16, 2003


Euro 2004 is sooooo overrated.


I'll be Down Under anyway. *waves to all her Australian best friends*
posted by ginz at 9:01 AM on November 16, 2003


But the only person whose children I would wish to have is homunculus

*eyes Wulfgar! warily*
posted by homunculus at 1:05 PM on November 16, 2003


how many times do i have to tell you, clench *before* making eye contact, homunculus!!
posted by quonsar at 1:07 PM on November 16, 2003


should you be making your way through minneapolis someday i hope you would take me up an offer for a beer, lunch or coffee, miguel. the offer is extended to a number of others who have made me laugh out loud more times than i can remember.
posted by specialk420 at 1:44 PM on November 16, 2003


Face-to-face friends, online friends: apples, oranges.
posted by squirrel at 1:50 PM on November 16, 2003


If anyone would like to give me money, it would really clench our online relationship as friends. I accept paypal or money orders.

We could hang out on your everquest server or irc channel. Occasionally, when you left a message on a mefi thread, I would respond with something like:

I was going to post something, but USERX already said it better than I ever could.

I would also drive up the prices on your eBay auctions by making fake bids.

Come on, let's be buds.
posted by Hildago at 2:00 PM on November 16, 2003


*heh* I'll be at AAA to see the Scots get blooted ;-)
posted by i_cola at 2:11 PM on November 16, 2003


Hmph. I'm one of the people referenced in jonmc's post up above. I helped him find his apartment in my neighborhood. (But I'm no dummy...I made sure I was out of town when he moved in.)

Using Miguel's criteria, there are people I know on MeFi that I'd call in an emergency. I happen to also know those people IRL, though. There are people on MeFi that I'd call on in an emergency even if I'd never met them face-to-face...if I thought they could help me out. But being able to help out typically requires proximity. And I've met most of the active MeFites around NYC (or at least the ones that go to meetups.) If I found myself bleeding and penniless in Lisbon, of course I'd call Miguel.

(And if Miguel's smart, he'd screen his calls.)
posted by Vidiot at 2:41 PM on November 16, 2003


Miguel, can I borrow five bucks?
posted by JanetLand at 3:03 PM on November 16, 2003


you're all free to say hello if you're ever in edinburgh...

to the dutch , two words: dick advocaat.

i rest my case.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:18 PM on November 16, 2003


are we really talking friends or friendsters here?
posted by boost ventilator at 3:28 PM on November 16, 2003


All friends (self included), except for the people that hate you.
posted by hama7 at 4:41 PM on November 16, 2003


"Miguel, can I borrow five bucks?"

make it fifty, Miguel, willya?
International Money Order, Western Union Money Transfer, PayPal accepted.

oh, and I'd like to borrow the Leica if you aren't using it next weekend. I'll mail it back at the end of the month, OK?
posted by matteo at 4:59 PM on November 16, 2003


There's a need for physical contact and presence and shared experience. You have to treasure and miss (and often despair of) a friend's eyes, expression, habits, "materialized" style: the way they walk, dress, speak, annoy there and then in their very own way.

I don't know. I agree to a certain extent (I certainly haven't made many 'true' online friends), but it may be more to do with the severance of time/space in these types of asynchronous forums.

When I use chat type programs, I find it is easy to make friends, some of which I have spent a lot of time with (online and off), and whom I "treasure and miss." I don't think (for the average, low profile user like myself) that you can easily make 'real connections' in the day to day usage of Metafilter.

I think of Metafilter like a big city. There are a lot of interesting people, having a lot of interesting conversations but somehow I feel removed from it. I come here a lot, and I feel like I 'know' a lot of people here from their posts, but because most of the communication is dealing with a topic, and a majority of the posts aren't really 'conversational,' the bond of 'getting to know someone' is lost.
posted by Quartermass at 9:55 PM on November 16, 2003


I hereby nominate Vidiot in the category of "Best imaginary early Tom Waits song" for his mournful, jazzy drawl through "Bleeding and Penniless in Lisbon (On A Curb With Chuck E. Weiss, Searching For Miguel Cardoso)":

"All my Pall Malls are crushed and broken
Left the door hanging wide open
Didn't even care 'bout the Consolidated Ed
My soul's in hock on Forty-Second
That tramp steamer to Lisbon beckoned
If that's the way you want it babe goodbye, is all I said..."
posted by arto at 10:17 PM on November 16, 2003


I wonder if anyone who is annoyed by Miguel's "how do you feel about such and so" posts here in MeTa, like this one, would find him an annoying conversationalist if he were to speak in real life the same way that he writes here?
posted by Lynsey at 10:23 PM on November 16, 2003


There are a lot of people here who I sincerely hope do not speak in real life the same way that they write here. But not Miguel.
posted by wendell at 12:12 AM on November 17, 2003


I am an annoying bastard. Pump me full of drugs, though, and I become a charmer. Everyone's welcome to pump me full of drugs.
posted by item at 12:35 AM on November 17, 2003


There are a lot of people here who I sincerely hope do not speak in real life the same way that they write here. But not Miguel.

I think that should be "whom", you smarmy, coke-addled vagabond--unless I'm wrong, in which case, all of that still counts.

In the future, you best step correct, or the flipmode squad is going to break your neck, sir.
posted by The God Complex at 12:52 AM on November 17, 2003


Everyone's welcome to pump me full of drugs.

I was here first, damnit. *elbows item aside*

Also, I love you all.

(But you still can't sleep on my floor unless you pay for the beer. Beers, steers, or queers : nobody rides for free. No wait, that didn't come out right.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:45 AM on November 17, 2003


TGC, you got me down almost perfect-like. Except that should be "Cherry Coke-addled" (which is why I didn't participate in the Pepsi Blue thread - or whom is why... Whatever - or Whomever).
posted by wendell at 7:18 AM on November 17, 2003


Who are you people, anyway?......you're just a bunch of ghosts in my head.......AARRrrgghhhhhhhh *scrabbles, with broken fingernails, at rough masonry wall in dank dimly lit basement, sinks to floor, clutches head. Rats scamper in the dark.*
posted by troutfishing at 9:42 AM on November 17, 2003


*touches wall, vaporizes*
posted by wendell at 11:09 AM on November 17, 2003


I hired a fellow MeFite, whom I met at one of the meetups. Terrific employee, great guy, then he had to go get his damn PhD...
posted by mkultra at 11:42 AM on November 17, 2003


TGC, you got me down almost perfect-like. Except that should be "Cherry Coke-addled" (which is why I didn't participate in the Pepsi Blue thread - or whom is why... Whatever - or Whomever).

I agree. With what, I don't know.
posted by The God Complex at 11:53 AM on November 17, 2003


chances are that you've . . . established some pleasant, lasting empathetic online relationships

Is that what the kids are calling it these days?
posted by onlyconnect at 11:57 AM on November 17, 2003


I still hate all of you.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:19 PM on November 17, 2003


Doesn't this belong on FriendsterTalk?
posted by thirteen at 1:25 PM on November 17, 2003


I'd describe you all as acquaintances, rather than as friends.
posted by orange swan at 1:52 PM on November 17, 2003


officer, i have never this man before.
posted by quonsar at 1:55 PM on November 17, 2003


.. and in a pinch, I'd fall back on quonsar's approach.
posted by orange swan at 1:58 PM on November 17, 2003


THE NATIONAL CONVENTION

TO PATERNAL LOVE

TO NATURE

TO CALAS

VICTIM OF FANATICISM
posted by clavdivs at 4:42 PM on November 17, 2003


CALAS FOREVER!!!!!
posted by quonsar at 4:47 PM on November 17, 2003


I haven't done so much as a personal email to most other MeFites, with one or two brief exceptions, but there are people here who I respect. No real grudges, either, I think.
posted by weston at 6:14 PM on November 17, 2003


arto, you just made my day.
posted by Vidiot at 11:47 PM on November 17, 2003


"You had a blind date and it turned out to be your fiance? Dude, that is so weird!"

Aaaaaa! It's the pina colada song come to life!
*attempts to shake off this horrifying concept*

Wulfar, don't scare the poor homunculus.
The pina colada song and a fearful homunculus - it's just a very bad combination.

Meanwhile - is spunkbubble the new smock?

Oh sorry, didn't mean to go off track - hey, isn't it time Miguel popped in and said something pithy?
posted by batgrlHG at 12:50 AM on November 18, 2003


If Tindersticks, much as I love them, never release another record, I'd appreciate it nonetheless.

(Yeah, I know, dear batgrlGH, just not pithy enough! :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:25 AM on November 18, 2003


HG!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:26 AM on November 18, 2003


Injection molded vaporous modalities, in assorted amorphous styles, made from pre-shrunk pixelated immaterials - and for a limited time, each one comes with its own imaginary tote bag.
posted by Opus Dark at 3:14 AM on November 18, 2003



posted by namespan at 4:51 PM on November 18, 2003


To the dutch , two words: dick advocaat.
High fives i_cola.
posted by ginz at 2:11 PM on November 19, 2003


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