My First Time

Paranoia

Paranoia (Photo credit: Jordi Cucurull)

‘You shouldn’t meet up with someone you’ve met on the Internet,’ Husband advised.

I started laughing: ‘I know her real name, I know all about her life, I know where she works, and I’ve seen pictures of her.’

‘Some crazies play the long game,’ Husband teased.

‘Haha…’ But as I walked away I started picturing Billygean as a 50-year-old man, with a pot belly, and unsavoury plans for me (sorry Billygean!).

Before blogging entered my life, I’d never chatted to people online I didn’t know. I did use Facebook, but all my friends were people I actually knew in real life, even if I hadn’t seen them for sometime. But since I have started my blogging adventure, it has become normal to interact with people who I have never met. Most of the people who read The Reinvention Tour are people I don’t know in the real world; the daily conversations I have on Twitter are all with people I only know virtually.

But this strange thing happens online (especially if someone blogs): you are on the fast track ‘get-to-know-me’ programme. As they share their lives – and sometimes innermost thoughts – you know all these personal details about someone, even though you have never actually met them.

Now I am a slightly paranoid person (or sensible, if you are feeling kind): I check rooms, windows and locks before bed; I won’t let anyone into the main gate of the apartment block without seeing ID; if footsteps are too close behind me I cross the road; I keep my handbag in view at all times. City living makes you this way, I think (and a taste for dark and twisted films fuels this paranoia nicely). And as a woman, for personal safety, I think it’s good to have a healthy dose of paranoia.

Meeting someone I only know from the Internet is something which should have set those paranoid bells ringing. But it didn’t.

I have known Billygean for a couple of years now: we read each other’s blogs – so we have certainly been on the ‘get-to-know-me’ fast track programme – and we chat regularly on Twitter; I felt like I knew her.

We’ve talked about meeting up before, but schedules never allowed – until Monday. As I walked towards her office I felt excited but also a little nervous: I have never met someone from the Internet before! And I think if you’d told me that I would do this prior to blogging, I would have thought it was a weird scenario. But it didn’t feel weird, it felt like a perfectly normal thing to do.

We are both ourselves online, so real life was just like an extended Twitter conversation; it was like meeting with a girlfriend I have known for a while – no awkward first time silences, easily flitting from one topic to another, lots of laughter. And nothing was out-of-bounds for this first meeting, oh no, we stomped all over those boundaries many blog posts ago.

Blogging has brought so many wonderful people into my life (and yes that includes YOU), people who I would never have crossed paths with otherwise. And in my experience, most people online are genuine, just like in real life. Of course, just like in real life, there is the odd crazy person, the person who in real life I would cross the road to avoid, who online I press delete on or block.

But this occasion did not require avoid, delete or block; it was another lovely present from the blogging world. So Billygean, thank you for making my first time special.

Cheers Internet!

I’m fascinated to know whether you have met up with online friends? How was your first time? If you haven’t, would you?

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17 thoughts on “My First Time

  1. That’s awesome! Personally, I haven’t met up with any online friends yet, but I am open to it. Years ago I would have felt differently and avoided the idea, repeating stranger-danger, stranger-danger in my head. The internet is a very different place now. Of course, common sense should always be applied to these situations right along with any other safety precautions one normally takes.

  2. What a fantastic post! I actually have recently met up with an online friend, too. We met through forums and blogging, and realized almost instantly how much we have in common. She just understood me. We were both going through such similar circumstances. And we discovered we lived very close by one another (only about a 45 minute drive).

    Like you and Billygean the first time we met it was like being with an old friend. We talked, laughed, enjoyed fantastic food and wine, and were completely comfortable talking about things like sex. It wasn’t awkward at all. In fact, it was so wonderful connecting with someone who would have never been a part of my life otherwise. We have met up again since then, and she has become a really great support system for me and vice versa. We text, talk on the phone, and vent to one another when the craziness of life it too much.

    • Hey Miss Beautiful Mess

      I love this story. How wonderful that you have connected with someone in this way. And it’s always good to have someone to share the crazy with!

      I suppose, you either click with someone or you don’t, and those feelings aren’t really any different online, to in the real world.

      I’m not sure BG and I will become as good friends as you have with your Internet friend (just because there’s quite a big age difference and we’re at different stages of our lives – I must seem ancient to her!) but I can definitely imagine us meeting up again. And I so enjoyed meeting her; it’s always fun to meet new and interesting people.

      Thank you for sharing your fabulous story… Xx

  3. My much beloved wife through 11 years was an online friend. She was much prettier than I thought, she just had to loose her ugly glasses. And then, suddenly, she thought I looked good, too. I was strange, but I think the thing I feared most was not any sort of embarrasment, but rather what to do with myself if the meeting broke up something I had grown very fond of. Well, champagne takes care of most things…

    • Hi again!

      This is a wonderful story – an online chat turns into a marriage; how exciting. Oh yes, champagne helps everything along. Maybe it should be with champagne that I celebrate my return (tomorrow) to the world of wine…

      Husband told me yesterday that he would defintely have met me in real life if we had met online first. But he is a smooth talking Husband so he would say that wouldn’t he?!

      Cheers Internet!

  4. Yes I’ve met up with a couple of people. This was in a group. I don’t think I’d have many doubts about meeting someone I’d known for a long time online. Though maybe I’d feel better if we’d also emailed each other.

    • Hey Evan

      Yeah, I think you’re right. The level of comfort is something to do with the amount and type of interaction you’ve had. Group meeting sounds like a safer first option!

      I would do it again – with the right person!

      Hope all is cool with you and your neice’s accommodation is sorted… Xx

  5. The Reinvention Tour,
    Before blogging myself, I had written a few blogging strategies for brands, on how to market their product, or increase their visibility… I was not ready for the amount of personal emails I would receive by other bloggers once I started blogging myself, some kind, some forward… I have made great friends while blogging, Madame Weebles and Roller Giraffe being two, but I have seen some pretty crazy shit too…
    Le Clown

    • Hey Le Clown

      Oh I am still laughing about your post on not being freshly pressed today!

      Yes, I can imagine with a super successful blog like yours (don’t blush, we both know it’s the truth – not that you’re coy anyway) how many emails you get. And you’ve reminded me of a mad experience I did have – not on this blog, on another blog I used to have – when I wrote about something controversial. Ooh yeah, the crazies came to get me that day!

      But hey, most people are kind and fabulous – oh, just like us.

      A pleasure to have you here… Xx

  6. Pingback: Ain’t Love Grand | The Reinvention Tour

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