Online Friendships

My partner and I moved to southern California back in February of 2008. Sometimes it seems like it was just yesterday; other times it feels like we have been here longer. Time is funny that way.

We moved from Portland, Oregon, which is our mutual hometown. We have both friends and family there, and I miss them terribly.

Even though living here in California has been generally kind to us, we don’t really have friends locally (our nearest friends live in Hollywood, which sounds close, but it can take well over an hour to get there). It’s not ideal, but it’s the way of things.

This week I’ve been thinking about kindness and friendships and the different ways people come into our lives. It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of the way video games bring people together, but the spokes of that wheel never cease to amaze me.

There are people I interact with on a (mostly) daily basis and, when I think about how we came into each other’s lives, it both surprises me and makes me smile.

Back when the first Destiny released, I was playing with a couple of people I knew from the Game Informer community (another way I’d met some lovely people). I was in the Tower (the social space within the game) when someone randomly sent me a message and asked if I’d like to do the raid.

I’d never done the raid, but I felt up for trying so I wrote back and accepted their invitation. It was very out of character for me.

That person’s name was Skiffles.

We didn’t beat the raid that night due to a handful of glitches at the end boss, but Skiffles and I became friends. We would play semi-regularly, and during those times, came to find out we lived within about ten miles from each other. We played Destiny for three years, and when Destiny 2 released, we met in person at the midnight release of the game. It was surreal meeting in person someone who I had spent literally hundreds of hours with online.

I consider myself fortunate.

At one point during Destiny’s first couple of years, I wanted to complete something called the Prison of Elders. It required a three person fireteam, and I didn’t know anyone else who might be willing to do that with me. A different friend I’d made through the Game Informer community told me he knew someone who would be willing to connect with me to attempt it.

That person’s name was Degan.

The Prison of Elders was quite the involved process (completing it took our fireteam over five hours one weekend day), and defeating Skolas (the boss) was a ridiculous process. But Degan and I hit it off, realized we were quite compatible players, and developed a friendship I am so grateful for. We talk/play almost every day, and I think how all those things linked together to introduce us, and I kind of think…wow! You just never know when or where a connection will be made.

I consider myself fortunate.

There is a massive and glorious group of people on Facebook I belong to called I Watched The Entire OverBlood Super Replay (a reference to a Game Informer video series we all love). I talked about them in the abstract yesterday, but today, I think about the dozens of amazing people I’ve gotten to know and befriend.

One of them is named Jerrica.

We initially became friends due to her name (a direct reference to the animated series Jem from the ’80s), but through further conversation, we found we lived about five miles from each other. Most of us in the group live fairly large distances apart, so it was delightful to find out she and I were so close, geographically.

She has been beyond generous in trying to include me in activities over the past year (which my health has thwarted at every turn, unfortunately), but it looks like we very possibly will meet for real at the end of this month to go to Knott’s Scary Farm (an annual theme park haunt here in Orange County). I’m so excited to meet her in person, I can’t even tell you.

I consider myself very fortunate.

Back in 2005, someone told me about a website called Myspace. I’d never heard of it, and was encouraged to create a profile. I did, and one of the musicians I made sure to “friend” first was my favorite contemporary composer: Yann Tiersen.

Through his page, I “met” someone named Katie.

Katie and I immediately became friends. I felt like if we were to be in the same place, we would absolutely hit it off and be “for real” friends (please note: I consider all friends, online or in person, REAL friends).

Over the years, we corresponded. We both left Myspace and went to Facebook. We friended up again.

And eleven years after we’d first “met” on Myspace, we met in person for real here in California.

I was so incredibly nervous. I didn’t look anything like I used to, and I was abhorrently self conscious. I almost cancelled. But I realized, how crazy would that be? I wanted to meet her so badly.

So I picked her up at her hotel, and we immediately hit it off. We had the best time. I drove her all over the area and we went to see my partner at work so he could meet her, too. Later that year when my partner and I went back to Portland to visit, we met up a couple times with her and her fiancee and I realized just how lucky I was to have this amazing friendship.

I consider myself very fortunate.

I feel badly because I’ve left so many people out, but they are right there at the top of this list that is all top (you know who you are). I’ve been fortunate to “meet” people online who I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know and play games online with. I’ve explored digital worlds alongside those people and I look forward to doing it again. I’m so ridiculously grateful for each one of them and their presence in my life. I hope I get to meet them all someday.

And if you’re here, and you are reading this, thank YOU. I’ve made some wonderful friends through this website and I think that’s just unreal. You, in large part, keep me going. I’m so glad we are here together.

Cheers, friends. A hearty and rousing cheers.

10 replies »

  1. Sometimes I find it funny how lucky I am to have gotten into Overblood when I did and make the friendships with the people I did when I did. No one else I know, who isn’t in that group, has any experience with having online only friends. Then there’s me who 99% of the time prefers my online friends over my local ones. I find myself popping on down a list of Overbuddies that I’m lucky to know; Hilary, Allen, Jeff, Shamus, Chris, and even saying those names I feel bad cause there are almost a hundred other names I should say and let them know that I love them. Most importantly (and relevantly) is you. I am so lucky to have a good friend and a good person in my life like you. Great article as always. Peace and Love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I may not have gotten in as early as you did, but I definitely relate to the feeling of others not having the shared experience of online friends.

      I know what you mean about making a list! Even while thinking and naming people, there are so many other amazing folks in that group. I literally could have made this piece ridiculously long. I just tried to choose four differing situations where the initial introduction was through an online means. One of those dating back over a decade!

      Oh my goodness, I feel the exact same way about you, Mike. I really do. I’m just so glad we became friends.

      Thank you for your kind words. Truly.

      Like

    • It’s amazing, isn’t it? I will always love the way games and the like can bring people together.

      I would love to hear about what happened when you met in real life. :)

      Like

  2. I agree with Colton 100%. You are a great person. Your sentiments about Degan; I concur completely. He’s a solid player to have on any team. Period!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, thank you, Richard! I don’t even know what to say.

      And yes, Degan is a VERY solid player. I would far rather play WITH him than go against him. I’ve seen him go rounds of multiplayer and either one die once or not die AT ALL. Impressive stuff.

      Like

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