Dropping off the face of the earth...

By Leca
@lecanis (16647)
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
September 13, 2007 11:04pm CST
Those of you who know me well have probably heard me say that I value online friendships just as much as offline ones. That is true. I have online friends that I have known for many years, and I met many of my offline friends (and my husband) online first. So I simply don't value online relationships any less than offline ones. However, one problem I have always had when it comes to this is the fear that my friend could simply drop off the face of the earth. It happens for a lot of reasons: people lose internet connections, stop frequenting forums, move on to other things, get sick, or even die, and you might never know. It seems so much easier to disappear online than offline. I have had offline friends who dropped off the face of the earth as well, but it seems far less common, and usually at least someone in town can tell you what happened, or at least guess. Online sometimes you never even get an idea of what happened. I don't know why this in on my mind tonight, but I was just wondering if other people feared this as much as I do? Do you treasure your online friends so much that you worry about losing them unexpectedly? Do you look back at email addresses, messenger contacts, photos, webpages, or forums and say "Where did my friend go?" Is this perhaps why so many people don't consider online friendshps real?
7 people like this
13 responses
@theprogamer (10535)
• United States
14 Sep 07
Yes it happens, and in my case it was me spreading myself thin and getting more of a life (er real life ;p) I do pop into a couple of areas from time to time, so its not that bad on my end. As for others, yes I do wonder what happened to them. Some end up with odd username changes and I found out they either quit long ago or they gave the account to a friend. Some members lose their information and cant recover it. Others got banned from the forum, site, voice server, chat or game. I think I've seen a lot of the reasons why online friends suddenly go bye-bye. Some do think online friendships aren't as important, but even with that I believe there are a few people on former sites, chats worth trying to keep in touch with.
2 people like this
@lecanis (16647)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
14 Sep 07
Well, yes, sometimes becoming more busier in your offline life can cause you to disappear online. I had a forum that I left and came back to for years, until it finally closed, just because I would become busier and try to devote more effort to the things I was doing offline. I still usually let at least the people I was really close to know what was going on, but I'm sure there were other people who thought I just disappeared. And when that forum finally closed, it was like a whole chapter of my life ending. I'm sure I sound like a loser. =P I believe too that there are people worth trying to keep in touch with. I have a few right now that I don't really go to any of the same places as anymore, and yet I'm trying to keep in touch via email at least once in a while.
1 person likes this
@theprogamer (10535)
• United States
14 Sep 07
Believe me, you do not sound like a loser. At least to me. For me a loser is someone who does something so much it ruins their life completely. And what you described is nowhere near that :) Its tough having an online life, especially if you use other usernames or monikers. When I did "Planesnakes" on WoW and Veoh for April 1st I got so many "Are you xxxxx?" posts and tells its was nuts. Though I did get some fun loving fans due to the username :D At least on mylot, I plan on staying. I would just hope people would at least leave a line so we can still contact them.
2 people like this
@lecanis (16647)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
14 Sep 07
That's a good point about using different monikers making it harder. Except in games where I have to have different names for each character, I am always lecanis, so once in a while someone I haven't talked to in a long while will happen to see me somewhere and say "Are you the same lecanis from blah forum?" and that's always really cool. I do wish people would at least let you know that they weren't going to be active somewhere anymore, so you could know not to worry about it, and hopefully give you some way to contact them if you were really close. Tonight I just emailed a very old online friend of mine that I haven't talked to in a while, because something reminded me of him, and I really hope he has the same email address still! =)
1 person likes this
@3lilangels (4639)
• United States
14 Sep 07
well yes i do value the friendships i have made here,to me they are very genuine and i treat them no different than my other friends at home,if i dont hear from someone in awhile i always worry about them and how they are doing.i have made some really special friends here,and im so happy that i joined because some of them are so true to my heart.so definately yes i consider them true and real!!!im glad we are friends too,thanks so much.
2 people like this
@lecanis (16647)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
14 Sep 07
It's always good to hear that other people value and care for their online friends as well. It's so wonderful how you can meet and connect with people from so many places and walks of life. I'm glad we are friends as well! Thanks =)
1 person likes this
• Australia
14 Sep 07
Two years ago I would have ridiculed the idea of REAL online friendships. I still caution young people about getting too involved online, and we must admit there have been some horrific accounts of online friendships going wrong - and of fraud via online "friendships". However, I have had to change my mind over the last ten months. I landed on myLot by "accident" with NO internet experience. I saw a discussion which was the complete opposite of what I believe and a entered into a very lengthy debate with the poster - but that debate was always courteous and respectful and even had some humour. He and I became firm friends, despite our opposite views on what has number one priority in my life. We are still friends and continue to correspond - and debate - via email because he is no longer in forums. He was the first, but there have been many others and I would not like to lose touch with any of them. Like you, lecanis, I have wondered if there is someone who would let us know if something happened to one of our friends. Here on myLot if one friend knew, others who happened onto a discussion might find out, but the news could be missed. On another forum, which is based on friendship, and a much closer community, I'm sure we would know pretty quickly as long as one friend knew. I think it would be a good idea if we all made arrangements for someone to post a discussion here if anything happened to us. At least someone might pick up on it, but discussions can get buried very quickly.
@sunshinecup (7871)
14 Sep 07
I have had that happened here at Mylot and have posted posts asking if anyone knew where they went. I had one friend I looked forward to seeing everyday. Then while I had to take a 3-month leave from here due to my mother's cancer, she vanished. I spent a good month wondering and reading over her posts to find what happened, then finally I just asked via a discussion. I hate the fact so many don't take online seriously, I was once one of them. When I left I didn't tell anyone, it was just something that happened. I then received a ton of messages in my inbox asking where I was. After that I decided if another break should ever come again, I will post what is happening for all to see.
2 people like this
@lecanis (16647)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
14 Sep 07
I have had quite a few of those people from mylot, especially, where people often seem to leave without saying anything (unless there is major melodrama involved, like fighting with other members). So many people just slip away quietly. Did you ever find out what happened to your friend, after you started a discussion about her? I guess I was never one of those people that didn't take online things seriously, but that could be because of my age, or because I met my husband online over 8 years ago now. =p For me, I post if I know I'm going to be gone for a while, or at least as soon as I can if something happens suddenly. I know there are many kind people here who worry about myself and my family with the problems we have had, so I want to make sure I keep my wonderful friends updated!
• India
14 Sep 07
Hi Lecanis, Good thought. I have very few friends real life but, I am very lucky each one of them is very close to my heart. Mylot is the first place of web which, I really enjoyed and I am still enjoying it. You are right that you won't know how long this relationships can go. I feel it very very uncertain sometimes. I also wonder, when I can't see my old friends on mylot disappearing. Well, it's a part of life, even on Internet. You defeat unpredictibility of life.
2 people like this
@lecanis (16647)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
14 Sep 07
I have very few friends in real life as well, and they are close to my heart, but not always available because they have their own busy lives, and because of my near-constant health issues, I sometimes seem to become a burden to them. That's why I value online relationships so much to an extent, because even when I can't go anywhere I can still talk to people. You have a good point about the unpredictability of life.
1 person likes this
• Malaysia
14 Sep 07
I do value online friendships too, but real life friends seem more... well, real. Real life friends are the ones who will help you when you need it, online friends may not be able to help you from wherever they are. I've lost some online friends who just disappeared suddenly, but I've also disappeared off games/forums before. And some of them showed up again just as suddenly. xP I don't really worry about them disappearing, just like how I don't worry about real life friends dying. I know it's possible, but I don't see the point in thinking about it.
2 people like this
@lecanis (16647)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
14 Sep 07
I guess my real friends have helped me a lot, but I have also had online friends who were more likely to be there for me emotionally, who were confidantes in ways that my offline friends aren't always. It's probably got something to do with my own issues, but there are some things that I simply can't talk about to most of my offline friends. You have a good point about not worrying about it, since there isn't really anything you can do.
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Sep 07
So Grateful I Can't See Mine! - This is what oral thrush looks like - ugh
A plus for your topic Sweet Young Woman!Yes, I know exactly how you feel. I do treasure my online friends. I have one especially that I have been meaning to call but since I have been so sick I could not call her. If it was just any kind of sick, I would have pulled myself out of bed and called; but alas, it was a weirdo bacterial infection in my throat and I was not able to talk. It has gone on for well over 6 weeks and has gotten increasingly worse. This past Thursday I went to an Ear,Throat,Nose specialist and had numbing solution sprayed up my nose and a camera thrust down a nostril all the way to my toes I think. It was totally disgusting and what a shame because the doctor was so hot! Although there was no sign of "thrush" visible when I simply said "Ahhhhhhhhhh" (I was really checking him out), my entire throat is covered with it, which explains why I cannot swallow at times. It also explains why I have only eaten soft food for all of this time (you know you can still gain weight this way!). If you are reading this on Wednesday, I plan on calling you on Thursday. I am really missing you~Donna
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16647)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
19 Sep 07
Awww I'm so sorry to hear about your illness! That does sound really gross and annoying. And it's always horrible when you get the really hot doctor and you have something really gross going on. Why can't you get those when it's nothing major and you feel good enough to enjoy it? =p I'll make sure to keep my phone turned on! I've missed you too! I hope you get well soon!
@angelicEmu (1311)
15 Sep 07
I must say that I take a somewhat different approach to yours when it comes to the internet, lecanis. The fact is that I don't tend to invest much personally in the contact I have with people via myLot. That's not to say that I don't enjoy responding to question, or that I'm insincere in my good wishes to people I get on with, I just take internet forum-ing for what it is. Whether or not people are sincere or insincere, that doesn't affect me - that's their issue. In my opinion, real life is real life, and whilst I'm sure that plenty of people are sincere online, I draw a line between online and real-life. I still like to debate, it's still nice to get positive responses to questions/answers on myLot, but it doesn't really matter to me a great deal whether someone stops using a website I use. It's a shame that you've experienced losses of friendships online, but I guess that might be the drawback of taking internet friendships as being as serious as real-life ones. In my opinion, the internet is for sharing ideas, and if other people's ideas broaden my understanding of a subject, or if mine are helpful to them, then that's great. For you, some of your contact with people online, has developed into real-life friendships and relationships, but as I mentioned earlier, the flip-side of this is that you feel the loss of people when this doesn't happen, and you lose touch. I suppose this is the danger you have to keep in mind, if you take the internet contact you have with people you've never met (or possibly a persona they're adopting) as seriously as people you really know, and have shared experiences with. All the best lecanis, and I hope you don't get hurt too often.
1 person likes this
16 Sep 07
I see what you mean lecanis - you feel safer in your online friendships, because there's that barrier of no physical contact which keeps you safe. It's great that you've made some good friends by your online contact with people, and there are some lovely and genuine people online. It's just that perhaps sometimes it might be easier to be taken in by those who aren't good, genuine people, if all you can see are the words they type for you to see. All power to you, and you'll make many more steadfast friends online, but all I'd advise is for you to not get carried away and personally invested, before you can be sure of such people. You're such a straightforward, genuine person, and there are those who target people with your outlook, as they see it as a weakness. It's not a weakness unless you let it be, but it's just a case that being aware is being prepared I suppose. All the best to you, and I'm glad you've got a lovely real-life family, who will be there for you giving you strength and support, even if people or personas online turn out not to be what you thought they were! :-)
1 person likes this
@MsTickle (25180)
• Australia
16 Sep 07
When I was new to the internet, about 6 years ago now, I was delighted and surprised when I found my first on-line friend. I was playing on a children's site based in America when I met Carmen, another Australian, living in South Australia. We belonged to a big group from around the world but we were the Aussies of the group and had what I felt was a special bond. Carmen was a special lady and we were about the same age. Our group fell apart and several of us broke away but we were still friends. Then the new group also became divided and I couldn't believe it but Carmen stopped being in touch with me. So, from then on I guess, I always had it in the back of my mind that online friendships may not be genuine ones. I was friends with an American guy in one of these groups too and we had a lot of laughs. He told me many things in confidence and I was shocked to later find out that he'd been 'friends' with many of the women in our group and also told them the same secrets he'd told me. I've sent gifts off to people and not heard from them again. I send Christmas cards to several people and it's lovely to receive them in exchange. I think you are right and the fact that the ties of friendship online are so tenuous, it's so easy to just go, leave, disappear.
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16647)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
17 Sep 07
Wow, it sounds like your experiences with online friendship have been much less positive than my own, for the most part. I've had many online friends that I stayed in touch with for years. In fact, I just got back in touch with one I haven't talked to in a while, that I met on a forum like 7 years ago or so. =) I do hope you have better luck in the future, but I could understand you being less positive about online friendship considering your experiences!!
@mfpsassy (2827)
• United States
18 Sep 07
We are still on the face of the earth and in it. We had a septic tank collapse and ahouse that was almost 100 years old fell down so we have to clean that up. Oh the joy of owning property lol Hi Lecanis
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16647)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
19 Sep 07
Hehe, glad to know you're still here! I had been wondering a bit, you seem so busy! Wow, that must have been a lot to deal with! I can't imagine! Sorry to hear about it!
@mugzy528 (800)
• United States
14 Sep 07
I Think I have more online friends than offline Friends..lol But Yes it is hard when one day they Just are not online anymore.I Have talked to a Girl for about 10 years or so and she has come to visit me twice but now in the past month I have not heard anything from here and even tried to call the home Phone and the number is no longer available and I know she has been having some serious Problems Just hope she is ok. So it is tough to have online Friends but also Great to.
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16647)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
15 Sep 07
Yup, everything has its pros and cons. I'm so sorry to hear about you not being able to get ahold of your friend, after knowing her for so long as well. I hope that she is okay as well!
@CatsandDogs (13964)
• United States
18 Sep 07
Hi lecanis... yes I feel the same as you do. I value my friendship with on and offline friends very much and have lost a few and do wonder what happened to them. I used to go to the msn chat room to visit with friends only to have lost them when they started charging a fee to use the chat room. I do wonder where they are and if they're ok but I guess I'll never know. It sucks.
• India
18 Sep 07
yeah I have had pretty good online friends and have lost contact with several who seemed pretty close to me.Is agonizing the way you have to watch helplessly some one disappearing just like that.And the worst part is you wont know what happened,You wonder if its something you said which made them desert you. I have really good friends whom i met fist online then in person and liked them just the same.And once you meet them in person you know where they are,what they do,and can talk to them whenever you want to.You can't have this luxury in the case of online friends.Its sad but you learn to get over it.And we humans are made to deal with set backs and live life like it never happened.