Fellow Viners, I have spent some time analyzing some of the friendships that sprout on the vine, and decided to share my thoughts with you. What is it that makes some of us just click, even though we have never met off the vine, or know much beyond the companionship of the invisible friend? Would we perceive each other differently had we met in real life, in our neighborhoods or workplace, or any common meeting ground? I wonder.
We engage in discussion, in joviality, in good, and sometimes low spirits, sharing ideas, beliefs, opinions, cameraderie, without so much as knowing more than the screen name. Dowser, American Dreams, The Opposition, MinnieApolis, Etva, Circled Thrice, Grump - I do know the real names of some of you, but when I think of you, I think your screen name. We connect with words, the written ones that slide across a vast play ground without being conscious of the barriers of distance and place. We offer each other all the comforts and solace of friendship, the humor and congeniality, advice when needed, and asked for. We are there for each other in ways that friends are supposed to be. The written word binds us with strangers, as strangers, yet barely realizing that we are in fact, strangers who have accidentally found each other and seek to find the connection that make us the social animal we are, as a species. In some ways, we feel freer to float our innermost thoughts because of the anonymity we cloak ourselves in. After all, those who know us in real life also have a tendency to judge us by our other characteristics, physical or mental. Through the incorporeality our inside spirit becomes the only visible characteristic. Some would argue that it is limited. Some would say it is the truth, the real person who emerges freed from the shackles of social prejudice or misconceptions, or pre-conceived notions based on our physical attributes, material surroundings and the like.
We talk, we listen, we do not care if we are dressed in our pajamas, or whatever else, whether we have showered yet or not, whether we are presentable or not. It also matters not if we haven't dusted our furniture or vacuumed the carpets, but we can still get together, laugh or cry together, even sip coffee together! Being distant, yet knit together by virtue of our common interests, as friends we communicate and bond. Robert Southey worded it beautifully and succinctly when he wrote - "My never failing friends are they, with whom I converse day by day". He was referring to his love of books, but the idea of friends being those with whom we converse day by day, is without doubt, a significant characteristic of a friendship. Many of us come together to do just that, don't we?
While we may not all be "bosom pals", our almost daily interaction brings us ever closer to becoming good friends. I may not know your physical attributes, your social standing, your race, your color, but slowly and surely, I get to know the warmth of your personality, the depth of your thoughts, the wisdom of your experience, the healing touch of your words. Isn't that friendship?