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General: Online Friendship Not Virtual



  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 27,930

    Originally posted by Ziboo

    Sorry to read of your uncle's health and the loss of your friend.  

    I don't really distinguish between real life and online friends, as the business I'm in I communicate with alot of people online (and now on the phone and text) and have for years that I've never met face to face and my two closest friends live out of the country so face to face is annually at best.  

    BUT I don't consider every person on my buddy or friend list or in the guild a 'friend'.  My personal life and name are known by a half a dozen people that I've played with over the years and funnily enough a couple of us even refer to each other by our ingame name - as we're use to it - hearing my real name or saying theirs just seems so wrong!

    Thank you and "exactly".

    I've made friends through gaming. but just because someone is on my friends list doesn't mean I'm going to give them my deposit slip so that they can make a deposit into my bank if I'm sick.

    meaning, that there are people in my life who I've know for over 25 years who have been there through thick and thin and I trust with my life. And there are people who I'm "friendly" with but who don't really know much about me and I them.

    The problem with some people is that they can't tell the difference.

  • NesrieNesrie Member Posts: 648

    I don't have to know someone to feel death as a source of sadness. If I ever came into contact with that person, that sadness is great34, and the more contact there is, the more profound that sadness becomes. I guess I am not so jaded or "conditioned" that I would ever find someone's death, someone who I didn't know real well, as too slight to bother with.

    I've got some people on some friend's lists that I don't even care for anymore, news of their death would still be unfortunate and sad.

    parrotpholk-Because we all know the miracle patch fairy shows up the night before release and sprinkles magic dust on the server to make it allllll better.

  • DarkThoughtDarkThought Member UncommonPosts: 1

    It's truly sad what has become of the gaming community on a social level. It is so easy for people to get carried away and reduce themselves to nothing while they attempt to belittle someone. I've put a lot of research into this, but it really doesn't require much research to know what's going on. When something isn't tangible it's hard to believe. A lot of kids, teens, and adults, sign on to this virtual world and dehumanize themselves like they were born yesterday. These selfish acts have consequences on people, and I can only hope that the old "golden rule" will take its' toll on them. A lot of the people who commit to raiding online "memorials" or otherwise trolling people's feelings, are the same people that could care less if their neighbor was murdered, generally. 

    Never quit.

  • ZharreZharre Member UncommonPosts: 80

    I have poor health. Not of the kind that is likely to lead to my early death, but of a kind that does keep me more or less house-bound. The internet IS my main social interaction, and I am very, very grateful to be alive in a time when I have the chance to still HAVE somewhat of a social life despite my limitations.

    Years go, before my health got truly bad, I met a young Iksar Monk in EQ1, in early Kunark, while I was doing some farming with my max level Necro. I helped this young Iksar, we exchanged pleasantries, and then got to know each other better over a period of time. He seemed to be one of those people with a quick wit and a quicker smile for everything. A year, or longer passed...he leveled his Monk, we stayed in constant contact, both in and out of game. He even joined my EQ1 guild for a while. It wasn't until after I'd found out that he'd taken the opportunity while his parents were away on vacation to commit suicide, that I realized his bubbly personality was hiding something far deeper and darker than I ever knew.

    I really wish I'd known. I don't know if it would have ever helped... he knew he could always talk to me. And he did. Just never about this. (Zoop, oh you silly Monkie....<sigh>, Will.  I still think about you!)


    On a brighter note, my best friend- who I met in an MMO, and who I have yet to meet in real life, and may never, though I hope I do- lives far across the continent from me. He helped me through a very, very rough time I might not have made it through either whole or alive, so I have my current life to thank to both him and my husband for their combined work at  keeping me from losing myself forever to the darkest depths I have ever been in.

  • safetysafety Member Posts: 219

    I do like your articles. You pick good subjects, you right very well and you are obviously bonkers enough to be a real gamer. You're too good for this site. I wonder how your career will develop.

  • SgtFrogSgtFrog Member Posts: 5,001

    2+ years ago I met someone from a gaming clan I was in and we became really good friends, we both left the clan about a year ago and still keep in regular contact (pretty much every day) and I would consider them a very good friend :)

    March on! - Lets Invade Pekopon

  • jayartejayarte Member UncommonPosts: 450

    A brave, well-written and heartfelt article, Jaime.  I am sorry to hear about your uncle and your online friend and send you some *hugs*.


    Seems to have sparked an interesting debate about the difference, if any, between "real life" and "online" friends, and I'm heartened to see that all the replies, even those which show a difference of opinion from the original article in some aspect, are respectful.


    For myself, I make friends in the same way in-game or out.  I tend to be very sociable and if a person responds, and we get to know one another, a friendship will form.  I'm still in touch with a young man I met in the very first mmo I played (*waves to toybox/Joel*), and I chat fairly regularly with a friend in Finland and another in Sweden.  I would never have met these people if I didn't play mmo's and I'm really glad I did.  As a 53-year-old woman with health problems, living in the UK and unable to travel, it wouldn't be easy to have this contact with a variety of people of different ages and from different countries.


    In fact, I have friends in "real life" (whatever that means) who I don't have as much contact with as I would like due to their busy lives, so that doesn't feel much different to my gaming friends.  Plus, I would add that there is something particular added to the mix when we become friends with someone who we met whilst adventuring in a fantasy world which I really value.


    Thankfully, I haven't experienced the death of a gaming friend yet, but I know I will feel a sense of loss and grief when that happens.


  • armanth13armanth13 Member UncommonPosts: 36

    I play eve online and one of our directors, who was playing all the time left on a IRL business trip, and never logged in again, no idea what happened, never got word just poof.  I assume something happened but we may never know. 

  • BrialynBrialyn Member Posts: 184

    Sorry to hear of your loss and thank you for being so brave to write your article.  I had a time when my husband didn't understand the online friendships I had.  I finally got it through to him by comparing it to his weekly "guys" night when they all went to play pool, drink, and talk.  I got him to see it was essentially the same thing.  While my online friendships have never been as strong as my real life ones I would be saddened to know one of my online friends passed.  I would miss and mourn for them even if I couldn't get closure.   It would be like going out with one of the guys or the gals missing, just not the same.

    Currently Playing: FFXIV:ARR
    Looking Forward to: Wildstar
  • SirAoSSirAoS Member Posts: 203

    I think this was a great artical, best one i've read yet. It's nice to feel like some of these writers are more than just a mindless robot. (how it feels to me, lol) I am sorry for your loss. Maybe all of us has the community of MMORPG.COM should show our support to this writer and her lost friend and give her the Momorial she tryed to have

  • SmokeysongSmokeysong Member UncommonPosts: 247


    I've personallly long rejected the idea that the MMO friend is not a real one. Sure, your avatar is not a real person, nor are those of the people you play with, but the people behind them ARE real, and the friendships can be just as dear.

    Someone might say "Well, yeah, how many weddings of guild members have you been to?" My answer would be "How many weddings of RL friends did you travel across several states or even countries to attend?"

    The fact is, most of what people call friends in 'the real world" are friends of convenience anyway. They are people they know from association - work, a neighbor - and when they move, the friendship turns in to memory, and new friends of convenience are developed. Very few friendships are kept over time and distance, regardless of how people meet. Online friendships are no less impermanent or meaningless than so-called real life friends.

    People hang with the people that do what they do, and keep in touch with the people they feel they have to because they are taught they should. Occasionally, something more happens, but it is rare, and the manner of meeting does not matter.


    Have played: Everquest, Asheron's Call, Horizons, Everquest2, World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, Warhammer, Age of Conan, Darkfall

  • kazhokazho Member CommonPosts: 50

    That was a very well done article.

    I have lost on line  friends quite a few times.  It has always been a great loss.  I did manage to go to one funeral and got to meet his family.  They all were quite sudden.  The families and close friends have let most us of in game let us know or by word of mouth.

    That is why I have told my family if anything was to happen to me, to get on my msn, email and any forum to games I play and let people know.  It is awful to wonder.  We had a great friend who we knew was ill, but he said he was fine.  Then nothing.  Since he was in the Netherlands we were never sure where to look.  But we do miss him very much.  The not knowing is very hard.  No closure

    When you play a game for like 3 to 4 years with the same people you do develop a bond.  I consider them my friends.  Many are closer than any RL friends I have.

    I feel when you play games with people that have like interest as you do, you do grow a bond.

    I have traveled all over the world to meet many of them.  It is nice to get a face with the voice or the writer.

    One game I play, URU we even have a memorial for all of our lost friends.  We always had something in any game that has lost someone. 

    Thankfully we never had any disruptions.  The memorials have always gone well.

    Many hugss to you Jamie.  May you always have many memories. 

  • TekniqueTeknique Member UncommonPosts: 26

    People should stop labeling others as an internet friend, despite what anyone has ever said about the subject , even if a relationship starts online it can become just as strong or stronger than if you knew that person in an interpersonal relationship. I have made many friends online and several are now my best friends to the point we plan to visit one another when we have time. One friend in particular I made has known me for over 13 years now and we have even discussed moving into an apartment together and I love him like a brother. For anyone that has a friend online or otherwise I say never let anyone undervalue your relationships in any way, and I give my sincere condolences to anyone that has ever lost someone. Keep gaming and honor their memories.

  • HufflePuffHufflePuff Member Posts: 6

    What a lovely piece, very emotionally and clearly written from the heart. Online friends are important, otherwise why would we bother to make these new friends

    Well done you for talking about this and sharing such a personal moment



  • yenoocyenooc Member UncommonPosts: 1

    I am in a kinship in Lord of the Rings.  Most of the members of the kinship did not know each other before meeting in-game, although our kinship leader and his wife met in another MMORPG.  We bonded quite a bit as a kin, to the extent of having annual real world get-togethers.  Our kin may be different from the one you are in because it is relatively small, but I found the level of friendship to be quite real.

    The clearest illustration of that friendship came when a member of our kinship died unexpectedly from a heart attack.  We found out because his girlfriend also was a member of our kin, and let us know.  Some of our kin had her phone number and were able to comfort her directly.  About a week after his death we held an in-game memorial which was attended by pretty much the entire kin, and at which a band formed by another kin played music.  We spoke about what knowing him meant to us, and it really helped us heal.

    We also knew he knew we cared about him, as most of us had attended an in-game birthday party thrown for him a couple of weeks earlier.  It was held at the Party Tree in the Shire, and another in-game band was hired to play.  It was a fun party.

    I say all this to say two things:  one, I agree that in-game friendships are very real.  Two, I wouldn't give up on Lord of the Rings online.  There are some great people there.

  • crysdragoncrysdragon Member Posts: 1

    Time I stop lurking and speak from the heart. Jamie, I've followed your stories on FB, on the Examiner, and now here. This one especially hit home with me due to meeting on wow with a number of fellow players which many had become friends of mine rather quickly. Some of them know me well enough to even go as far as to call me sister, and I to them, brothers and sisters. Sure, we are gamers, sure it's a virtual world we play it, but the bonds we make are just as powerful as those we make in reality, and that is what matters most. 

  • DragonWyrdDragonWyrd Member Posts: 8

    Thank you Jamie.  Beautifully written.  I'm so sorry for your loss.  /hugs 

    Reading things like this mean so much to some of us.  Last year my uncle took his life.  At the time, I was casually playing WoW but he was doing some hard-core raiding over on a PvP server.  He'd been with the same guild for years and I know he considered many of his guildies true friends. 

    I didn't have lot of information to go on.  His main toon's name, faction, class, race, that it was a pvp server and a raiding guild.  However, I took a chance and posted that info plus a bit of personal identifying info on the WoW forums in hopes it would make it's way to his guildies.   Thankfully it did.

    The post was flooded with replies from his guildies expressing their condolences and thankful they finally knew what happened to him.  Alas the post has since been purged from the forums.  Some of his closer friends from the guild even went as far as to track down my mother and father's contact information to personally call with condolences.

    If there was ever a sliver of doubt in my heart regarding on-line friendships before, there was not after that.   She told me of all the calls from all over the country from his closer guildies and I just lost it.  On-line or in RL, friendship is friendship and it can be just as precious regardless of the medium. 

    Our family will never forget his guildies kindness and will always be thankful for thier place in his life.

    "The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet."
    -William Gibson

  • 0naWing0naWing Member Posts: 1

    hugs/ Jamie.

    Just to say my thoughts are with you. (I really didn't expect such an emotional read, i must admit).

  • MissyShadeMissyShade Member UncommonPosts: 39

    I just wanted to drop in and leave a note to thank all of you for your comments. The outpouring from the community on this column has simply been amazing, and everything said has meant a great deal. So many of you were brave enough yourselves to share your own personal stories about losing "online" friends, and I think it shows the real character of the community.

    It's not often I write something so personal when it comes to my column or even gaming in general; I try to stay neutral a great deal of the time and be more observer than participant. Unfortunately, the events of the past week struck me hard and this topic was forefront in my mind. For those who were bothered by its personal nature, I apologize - be reassured that this isn't my typical fare.


    For those who are wondering, I did lose my uncle last week. He was rushed to the hospital on Monday, comatose and doctors didn't think he would make it through the night. Tuesday he was out of the coma and speaking to family, and doctors became hopeful he might recover. Early Wednesday morning, he passed away.

    He did have cancer - stage 4 lung cancer, from his smoking habits. I've been told he only knew about his cancer for 2-3 weeks, and he only told one other family member who kept it secret, so it came as a shock to us all.

    It's been a stressful time, but now that a lot of the drama is settling down, so are things here. :) Thanks again for all of your thoughts, both here and in my inbox.




  • pauly6478pauly6478 Member Posts: 276

    What people outside the community don't realize is that we spend more time with each other online then most of us do talking to our real life friends. Some spend maybe 6 hours with RL friends a week. But in the gaming community we could spend up to 40 hours a week with in game friends. 

    Ultimately we really are closer to friends in game then RL friends.


  • AemiAemi Member Posts: 148

    I had a friend die, that I knew solely online as well. She was actually my best friend and she was always there to cheer me up. I believe.. no matter where or how you meet someone, a friend is a friend. Our culture puts a lot of stigma on people who "have no life". Even though everyone "has a life". We all just choose to do different things with it. But if someone breaks the mold and becomes a little more withdrawn or likes doing "different" activities, they are immediatly some kind of loser who should be shunned..


    A friend is a friend.

  • haratuharatu Member UncommonPosts: 409

    I have a situation where I left the last guild I was in because the officers left for real life issue. But the one that has really worried me was the last guild leader who logged out due to medical problems and never logged on again. His wife, also a player never logged either, causing even more worry. Collapse of the web page (due to secondary issues) resulted in an inability to follow it up too.

    Sometimes it is those few jewels that hold together guilds, and their dissapearance can lead to collapse.

  • MulsiphixMulsiphix Member Posts: 37

    I would like to thank the author of this article. This is a situation and arena that does exist and is rarely treated with any level of dignity or significance. Your article has touched my heart and I am truly sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your experience and for doing so in such a well thought out and objective manner. I will be sharing this with numerous online friends, some of which I feel could really benefit from your heartfelt education. Thank You :)

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