1. Tall and Weird
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    Tall and Weird New Member

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    Befriending people - when is the right time?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Tall and Weird, Apr 14, 2009.

    The internet is an incredible invention filled with everything you can imagine from the mating habits of aardvarks to close to 6600 pages with xylophone spelt with a z and every conceivable thing in between.

    My question is this: are there any rules or guidelines about friending people online?

    I know from personal experience what it is like in the real world when someone decides that they are your friend without any regard for how their new friend actually feels - it ain't great.

    So I am a little wary about friending people which is, perhaps, limiting what I could get out of this digital world.

    Does anyone agree? Disagree? Do you think I'm being too self-conscious in an anomynous medium? Have I made any sense at all?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Dalouise
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    Dalouise Contributing Member

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    There are the usual rules and guidelines which apply universally but in addition, a "friend" on the internet may not be what they seem and although this can happen in "real life" as well, it is often more extreme on the internet. In a chat, somebody can pretend to be a pilot for example and talk knowledgeably about flying, simply by opening another IE session and googling as they go, so you can be taken in more easily. They can claim to fly from an airport you have never heard of but lo and behold, if you google that name to check it out, it does exist so it is easy to believe everything they say.
    I speak from experience. :(
    On the other hand, I have made a good (female) friend via the internet through a hobby website and we meet up or talk regularly.
    Of course, if you are a young person, DO NOT arrange to meet them unless you are very sure about who you are "talking" to. There are in fact guidelines for this, on the internet dating sites which can apply to all "real life" meetings.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    On this site, you can restrict certain areas of your profile to Friends, but it is not by default. You may want to consider setting that restriction on some sensitive information, or not putting it your profile at all.

    By default, though, there is little reason not to accept friend requests on this site. You can always rescind the friend status at any time, and as far as I know, no notice is sent to the person you are "unfriending."
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    My question is this: are there any rules or guidelines about friending people online?

    ...yes... they're called 'common sense' [which is an oxymoron, since it's actually so sadly rare]... just never forget that anyone can pretend to be anything/anyone when you can't see them 'in the flesh'...
     
  5. Henry The Purple
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    Henry The Purple Active Member

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    Make friends whenever you can. As someone already said, people can masquerade as many things on the net. But in my experience, if you really get to know a person who is putting on a facade, it will soon shine through, and you can berate them in anyway you like from the safety of your keyboard. :D
     
  6. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are you talking about this site or the Internet in general? If this site, yeah... refer to Cogito's post. If in general...

    The Internet is just another tool you can use to meet people. A lot of people meet over the phone. A friend of mine met her fiance first over the phone completely by chance. I dont see why the Internet is any different (although it's always wise to be cautious in any circumstance --in person, telephone, Internet or otherwise).

    Internet is just that a network of people... it's supposed to be used for communication. As far as I'm concerned, you are no different than someone I will pass in the hallway tomorrow. You're just another person in the world with the same tools that I have. Go with your gut the same way you'd go with your gut if you met someone 'in person.' :)

    People are so unique... why limit yourself to those you only meet in person? Seems silly to me when you can meet the entire world in your very own home.
     
  7. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    "A stranger is a friend you haven't met yet,"

    start being acquaintances and build from there.
    You probably do the same in real life.

    I have many people on line and have a few
    come to my home for a week or two of holidays.
    Yes I have met some that I wish I hadn't befriended
    But I have met some in real life I wish I hadn't.
    It is far easier to avoid them on line.
     
  8. Neha
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    Neha Beyond Infinity. Contributor

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    Trust your instincts.....if they go wrong, then trust your pepper spray. And pray.


    Jokes aside, as long as you don't really get too personal with the other digital person, unless you're very close, there's no harm in befriending people online. The key phrase being, don't get too personal.

    As for the real life, one of my cancer victim brother Neev's favourite say was,

    You can be a friend among strangers or you can be a stranger among friends, the choice is yours.

    I believe that.

    Some people can read humans, some can't judge. But everyone has the ability to make friends, it just comes easier to some. Theres never a right time to make friends, friends just are there when you need them most. IT's surprising how a person can you hate can trun out your best buddy when you're in trouble, you just have to it as it comes I guess.
     
  9. Tall and Weird
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    Tall and Weird New Member

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    Alrighty then - you all made virtual eye contact!

    But enough with humour, you have all made very good points. Thanks, you have alleviated some of my more pressing concerns and I shall endeavour to 'give it a go'.

    Back to humour, your reward is that I will attempt to befriend you all! Not in any stalky way, of course, but more a humane social experiment that will enrich both our lives.

    Thanks again all.
     
  10. Brightsmiles
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    Brightsmiles Senior Member

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    awww, that's completely understandable!

    i think everyone needs to be wary, but not necessarily suspicious - okay, if they start dropping bff names such as bill gates, then perk them suspicions up! but you get what i mean ;)

    i've got a few net friends i've had for a good two years now, and we keep in regular contact, though we're continents apart. honestly, they often brighten my week and i'm definately happy i've got them.

    BUT, as a wise pp said (*go lessa*) its definately easier to avoid ppl online! (if it comes to that!)

    good luck with the social experiment! i've found it worth the risk :)
     
  11. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    I would like to be your friend on line.
    I would like to be your acquaintance in real life.
    Be wary of me though.
    I treat everyone like I would one of my children.
    I give advice but you can do what my sons do.
    follow it if it is good.
    laugh and pat me on the head if it is bad or they
    don't like it.
     
  12. The Freshmaker
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    The Freshmaker <insert obscure pop culture reference> Contributor

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    I would say to treat people online with as much suspicion as you would treat a person you met on the street. Be friendly, but reserved. It's typically pretty easy to tell if someone is being genuine or not. Trust your instincts.

    I met a guy online a couple years ago, and now we're best friends. We talk on the phone almost every day, and hang out on weekends.

    I also used MySpace to find friends when I was in Maryland for a summer. I messaged someone who looked interesting, explaining that I was new in town. We chatted a bit, met up, and had a fantastic summer hanging out together. We still talk, and I visit him when I go up to that part of the country.

    Often, though, friends just happen. Like, here you might be in a thread and discover something in common with another member. Accidental friendships can be the best.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'd counsel even more caution online. In person, you have the cues of body language, vocal cues, etc. that we instinctively read, and that are difficult for the stranger to cover up. Online, you see only what the person wants you to see.
     
  14. Tall and Weird
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    Tall and Weird New Member

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    I completely agree you there about being extra cautious online Cogito.

    Although, I do have an ongoing disagreement with a friend of mine regarding the possibility of tone in text messages. She's says no way but I think that, if you know the person well, something of what you know about them will leak through in how you read their messages... which might not exactly be 'tone' but I reckon it's pretty close.

    So, in my cynical words, trust only those that cannot hurt you.
     

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