Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Meeting Virtual Friends

Ever had the experience of corresponding with someone for years, and then meeting in person? I have been lucky to have had this. Twice.

It can be a bit unnerving. Someone who has shared many personal things, trials and tribulations, sweet and bitter moments, but always from the safe screen of distance, paper, or now the ethernet where the real isn’t quite, is about to become touchable. Someone once told me it feels a bit like blind dating, when you realize you are about to be exposed and scrutinized, for real. Obviously, this goes both ways, as you will be observing also.

What some worry about is that the real connection, felt virtually, will be missing somehow in person.

Not my experience. The first time, after years of a very close connection, I met a dear friend in person when life took me only four hours away from her home. She made the trek, and made my day. We made music together, dancing on the street---
^Meeting Author Evelyn Christensen in Oberlin

The second time happened last weekend. An online critique group pal whom I’ve “known” since 2008 suddenly materialized in the bay area, half a continent from his home. Lucky me—we had a delightful connection.
^Meeting Author Mark Ceilley in Berkeley

In a strange way it feels like meeting characters from favorite books, and you what? I can attest they are real.


  1. Yes, this usually happens to me at book conventions. I get to meet the people I've been talking to online. It's fun.

  2. How fun to see you and Evelyn together. I've met up with a few people after corresponding for many years. Often, with just headshots to go by, it's voice and height that are the biggest surprise.

    1. "it's voice and height that are the biggest surprise."

      ^Apropos-- Evelyn is tall! (Or, conversely, I am SHORT)

  3. I've had the pleasure too, Mirka, and it is such a great joy. Always, the friendships have deepened.

  4. Awesome. Can't wait to meet you some day!

  5. I've been fortunate to meet a very nice FB friend who traveled to the state in which I live. :)

  6. Definitely a delight to get to meet you in person, my dear friend! I wish we lived closer.

  7. Oh how fun. Love it when things work out like that.

  8. That is SO cool! Yes, I have had that opportunity several times and it's so thrilling. That's one of the best things about writing conferences--you get to finally talk to the people you've gotten to know online.

  9. I've made connections like that twice recently, also. (all writers:) One is an editor I've done 14 books with, and he was so much taller than I had imagined (but just as nice). The other was an illustrator - she did the paintings for my first book ten years ago, and we just met this summer. We hit it off at once, and have gotten together twice already although we live 2,000 kilometers apart. The internet is sure an interesting way to meet people who live at a distance, and sometimes become both real and virtual friends.

  10. I have the same jitters of meeting online friends because I worry I don't live up to my online persona (it's all me but I tend to freeze up in person). Your meet-ups sound like a lot of fun, Mirka!

  11. I have had the pleasure of meeting two online blogger/writer friends and hope to meet more someday. It's quite an experience and I've forged many good friendships over the years with blogging.