Friends across the miles are something new to me. When I started blogging, I found a group of friends through a forum, and a few of us started talking on Skype. By talking I don’t mean face to face, but more like a chat room. Initially there were quite a few of us there – it was a wonderful group. These are the people that you could tell anything to. They listened, they made me laugh hysterically, and sometimes even made me cry.
These same people are the ones that were there through some hard times in life. We were all there for each other. We even did video chats on occasion just to see each other “in person”, and now frequently see each other through Monday Mingle – my vlog meme.
Before I went to my first blogger event, I was just a little bit nervous about how it would be to meet a few of these friends face to face. I was going to meet Kari (A Giveaway Addicted Mommy), Amanda (Mommy Mandy) and Valerie (Sweeps4Bloggers). Kari is the only one of the three that I talk to on Skype, but I felt like I “knew” Amanda and Valerie too – mostly through email exchange and blog visits.
As I waited for Kari and Amanda to arrive at my hotel room, I pondered what would happen. Would there be an awkward silence? Would we just stand around? Kari is so funny in Skype, so hopefully this would be easy. When I heard the knock on the door, I got butterflies. I flung open the door and saw her face and this is what she said: “Wow – you ARE short!”. Of course I had to laugh immediately and practically chase her across the room to get my long awaited hug. What a stinker. The rest of the trip was a blast and she, Amanda, Valerie, Rita (this was my first time meeting Rita) and I hung out together like old friends. Kari and Amanda even spent the night in my room – which worked out perfectly.
Luckily when I went to the Toyota Sienna event, Kari, Amanda and Valerie were all going to be there – this was easy. We had so much fun yet again, and I really knew they were “old” friends.
Last week when I went to Portland, I knew I would be meeting Kristin (Our Ordinary Life). We have been talking on Skype for years, but I still had that uneasy feeling. What would she be like in person? Well, I shouldn’t have worried at all. We planned to meet in the lobby. I was sitting in a chair when my phone rang. It was Kristin, asking where I was. I asked where she was. She said that she was right behind me. I turned and sure enough – there she was! I gave her a great big bear hug (the best I can, being so short and all), and it was perfect. It was a warm, genuine hug. Kristin and I spent some time together and she is just like she is in Skype – I loved it!
I never, in a million years, would have imagined what close friendships could be formed with people I have met online, or how natural it is when I finally saw them in person. I am no longer nervous to meet the rest of the gang – I know I will be greeted with the same wonderful welcoming hugs when we meet up at BlogHer or other events. Sure, maybe someone else will say how short I am, but that’s okay. I should expect these things. After all, the personalities online, shine through in real life – I wouldn’t expect less.
I also met some new friends…bloggers I have heard of and/or have been to their blog but never interacted with. I hope I see those ladies again too. I met Heather (The Spohrs are Multiplying) and Louise (Mom Start). We enjoyed dinner, chatting and laughing! The L.A. Bloggers Brunch was such a blast!
Have you met your online friends in person? Was it awkward? Was it easy?