New friends are old friends
The internet’s a marvellous tool. It has its critics, but I’d imagine most people reckon that it does far more good than harm.
The importance of the internet, to me, is primarily the many forms of communication that it enables – email, instant messages, forums, blogs and even phone calls.
But society hasn’t yet really fully caught up with these new forms of expression. It can certainly lead to some odd situations.
We had the great pleasure yesterday of meeting Mr and Mrs JP. JP is the founder and chief editor of Japundit, and the coothy-voiced presenter of the weekly podcast Japan Talk. I’ve known JP since before I began contributing to Japundit about 2 years ago. But I had never met him.
On our way to meet up, Mrs C asked me, “What do they look like?” I had to say that I had no idea. “How old are they?” she asked. It’s never come up, so again, I didn’t know for sure.
So meeting up with someone who you’ve got to know over the internet is a social situation we haven’t much trained ourselves for. Of course it’s meeting someone for the first time, but none of the usual rules apply. You’ve covered the preliminaries in some way already. So how do you go about it, when a new friend is really an old friend?
I’ve done this before. Some years ago, I finally met a good friend (DM, are you reading this?) I’d known even longer. No matter how much communication has gone before, that initial face-to-face is odd. All your instincts are mixed up.
Fortunately, with good people, that weirdness soon passes, and you can get on with it as you would with any other old friend.