What do friends mean?

A tweet came through today that pointed me in the direction of a post on The New York times site. Interesting that I should be influenced by a post from New York, when I should have been tramping the streets of that city today. I’m not, and nor will I be attending the NECC conference in a couple of weeks.  Life’s been throwing me some curve balls of late and that’s why the post I’m discussing held such relevance for me.

June 15, 2009, 5:41 am

<!– — Updated: 5:41 am –>What Do Friends Mean?


Today’s idea: The rise of social media and the downturn in the economy have people thinking long and hard about the value and meaning of friends — psychologically, socially and economically. Upshot: confusion.

That was the opener.

Over the last month or so I’ve had cause to consider the meaning of friendship and the importance it holds in our lives. I’ve come to the conclusion that good friends are good friends, be they physically close or far away. And I’ve realised  that the friends I have made online who truly care about me are good friends in the true sense of the word.  

I’m not confused, as the above post suggests. I’m firmly grounded in the belief that there is good in the world and when you need it, the true nature of friendship reveals itself. That has certainly been my experience.  Surprisingly, it extends from unexpected quarters too and new friends reveal themselves.

So, my answer to the question posed? What do friends mean?

A heck of a lot. Thanks to my good friends out there. You know who you are.

14 Replies to “What do friends mean?”

  1. Sorry to hear you will not be at NECC for very selfish reasons, I was hoping to meet you face to face. We will send out as much info as we can so that you and others can join us virtually. Take care.

    1. I would have loved to meet you too Paul, and many other of my online friends from your part of the world. Sadly, it’s not to be. Hoping to make it there one day. I’m nothing if not determined!

  2. I agree, Jenny – my feeling is that most of these ‘confused’ people are those who choose to be confused by the changing landscape around friendship and acquaintance, who still listen a little too much to those who would decry virtual forms of friendship as, somehow, inferior to ‘real’ friendship.

    We both know of good examples where friendships in the physical world extend into the virtual world, where friendships that start in the virtual world extend very successfully into the physical world, and equally where virtual friendships remain in that sphere, but are absolutely no less ‘real’ or rewarding for that.

    1. Yes John, that is how I see it too. Others will need more convincing, but they need to truly enter the sphere to understand it in its entirity.

  3. We’re thinking of you and will miss seeing you in D.C. We’re there on vacation…not attending NECC…but would have made seeing you a priority. Sending you some mail this week ; )

    1. I will Susan. I have gained so much from working with you and your group. Enjoy NECC. Tweet me the good stuff!

  4. Hi Jenny, all my fingers etc are crossed and hoping that those curve balls go away soon. I will be thinking of you while I’m there (as you know).

    Hope to catch up with you again next time I’m in Melbourne.

    1. Thanks Sue. Make sure you keep me up to speed with what goes on over there won’t you! Next time you’re in Melbourne, we’re going out. I’ll provide the coke (cola variety that is!).

  5. Jenny,
    Sorry to hear you will not be attending NECC. I was looking forward to meeting you. I have so enjoyed following you over the last few months.

    I wrote a post on the meaning of online friendships a couple of months ago. There is no doubt in my mind that it is possible to form very close friendships with people that we only know virtually. One person in my PLN has become my very best friend and we have never even talked on the phone! (Hours on Skype and Google Video chat!)

    Hang in there. If you want to connect on Skype during the conference feel free to add me to your list of contacts. I am beth.still I’d be happy to help you out if I can.

    1. Thanks so much for this support Beth. I, too, have enjoyed following you over the last few months. I will add you as a contact; thank you for that very generous offer. Yet another example of the kindness that exists within our online world.

  6. I am sorry you are not at the conference but your friends will make sure you are kept in the loop and, as we can see from the above comments, you on-line friends can be very supportive, psychologically, socially and professionally. You are right, there is no need for confusion about friendship, beit on-line or otherwise.
    It is not the best time of the year, with the end-of-term tiredness and the report stresses, but hang in there, I know things will get better for you. Thanks for all your support to the rest of us as well.

    1. Thanks for your kind words Rhonda. They mean a lot. I certainly feel supported and know that people will keep me in the loop. I’m looking forward to the rejuvenative benefits of a break right now. : )

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