Friends inside the computer, outside the computer

It’s a funny thing about these internet relationships. You meet a friend online (so to speak), you bond quickly over things like 80s hair, good writing, big rings, and a passion for supporting other moms. So you start a business together that combines all of those things (although not so much the 80s hair) and from that day forward you spend pretty much every single day talking and chatting and IM’ing and twittering and connecting in every way.

Except in person.

(Oh, that.)

“Has it really been since BlogHer last July that we last saw each other?” Kristen asked.

Yeah, I guess it has.

I hadn’t even met the beautiful baby yet.

Whatchoo talkin ’bout Willis?

So when I flew down to Atlanta as a birthday surprise, thanks to her handsome pilot of a husband and a freelance job that unbooked me last minute, it was a necessary reminder of how important it is for friends to connect in person. To just shut off the damn computer, get off Twitter, and have a margarita or two in abject defiance of swine flu at a Mexican restaurant on Cinco de Mayo.

One down…

It didn’t take too long to realize I need to do it more. We all need to do it more, I imagine. And not just at conferences or blogger events or sponsored press junkets where we talk shop. We need to connect when there’s no one else around.

You know, a girlfriend day. Like we used to do. Before we had kids.

(Remember that?)

Because when you do, there’s this magical point at which you stop catching up and start just being. You’re done with the mental list of topics to go over and gossip to share and you can just bather about your marriage, something funny that happened in college, or your favorite wine. You can share the in-law stories you’d never reveal on your blog, confide your five-year plan, and trade real live hugs which kick the living shit out of (((this kind))).

You can fill in the blanks of your life.

Or maybe you don’t talk at all.

Maybe you just stretch out in the living room together in silence and watch your kids becoming friends too.

The 10,000 calorie photo.

Make it happen mamas. Days like this nourish your soul.

And happy happy birthday Kristen.


36 thoughts on “Friends inside the computer, outside the computer”

  1. I love this post!

    I would love to actually meet some of the ladies I’ve connected with via the Internet. But we’re spread pretty far and the recession and blah blah blah excuses.

    One day I’ll have enough $$$ to make it to BlogHer or some other conference and meet some in person. Too bad nothing happens in Arkansas.

  2. Ashley, do it with your your local friends too. Maybe you already do but I feel like I don’t do it enough. We get busy and the next thing you know a year has passed. I’m vowing to be better.

  3. What a wonderful way to celebrate a good friend’s birthday. I’m glad the two of you had a chance to reconnect and just spend time together!

    I couldn’t agree more that just making the time to get together with a good friend is, well, what my bestie calls a “soul margarita.” Is there anything more important than hanging out, remembering who both of you are, talking about life so that you’re ready to get back down to the grind of it?

  4. Well put, we can all come up with a million and one excuses not to get together, we just have to do it – in person.

  5. This is perfect. And I am now sending it to a handful of friends, both the imaginary online kind and the real skin and bones kind.

  6. I adore this post. Yay for you and Kristen. I met a fellow blogger friend for the first time on Saturday and it was funny how easy it was to be with her.

  7. SIGH. I miss the face to face meet ups with my friends. Since moving away from Boston a year ago, I’ve felt so isolated. I have no friends here and the whole “join a play group and make fine new friends” thing just hasn’t worked out the way I thought it would. The online world is the only place I’m able to meet up, chat with and make friends. It makes me kind of sad 🙁

  8. I have a friend that lives, no joke, 5 miles from me and last night was the first time I had seen her in over 2 months! We got together for dinner and ended it with a long hug and the same thought “We really need to do this more often!”

  9. You are so right~in fact my “real” friend and blogger friend is coming over today for some “fat pills” which is what my husband refers to as Taco Bell! She is working 1/2 day and offered to bring lunch! Nice!

  10. I’m so guilty of having those friends, about whom I say “Oh, you know, we can go months or years without talking and then pick right back up like no time has passed whatsoever…”

    Your post makes me realize that even a phone call beats that B.S. by a mile. Getting together for drinks? How revolutionary!

    I’m putting my friends on my to-do list right now. At the top.

  11. I had a Girl’s Night in with two of my oldest friends a couple weeks ago. It was so therapeutic and wonderful and fun and there were unicorns and puppies (no really, there were puppies). There is nothing better than connectin with people who know you, get you and love you. It is just simply good for the soul!

  12. Oh, I completely agree. There is nothing as wonderful as remembering why you are friends — in each other’s actual presence.

    As a matter of fact, I have a couple of friends I need to call right about now. Thanks for the reminder.

    … and happy Mother’s day.

    – Julia at Midwest Moms

  13. I’m the “real” friend and fat pill bringer to the above comment by Melani!
    Life’s too short to not spend time with friends and loved ones, I just posted about that today as a matter of fact. Especially when we only live 10 miles apart! It makes it more fun if I didn’t have a dentist appt and could bring my babies with me to play with hers! Oh well…next time!!

    Glad you got to spin on down to Atlanta for a birthday! Sounds like a ton of fun!

  14. I’ve been best friends with two other women since 8th grade, but one lives in Florida (me and the other live in the DC area). We try to get together once a year or so, but it’s always with husbands and kids and other people to visit and what not.

    In February, we ditched our husbands and kids, got a hotel room right on the beach in Florida and had the best girls weekend! I highly highly recommend it!

  15. Of course we know that Kristen WOULD share those in-law stories on her blog 😉
    How wonderful that you were able to spend time together and I fully agree with your sentiment. I have too often pulled the “Let’s get together” line and then never followed through. I’m sure each party half expecting the other to call. Friends are worth the time (and sometimes trouble when you have kids)!

  16. Ohmygosh! I’m sending a link to this post to my best friend. I miss her so much and we never seem to find the time to get together. I’m tired of reading about her life on Facebook – I want to give her a big hug in person!

  17. yeah, I’ve been grappling with this alot lately myself. When I moved to Boston fom NYC, I left my two best friends since high school. It was hard and they are also single sans kids. They’ve been awesome about coming to visit regularly though. I definitely miss them and crave them.

  18. Such a great post – and so true! I had a blog break last week to just spend time with my family. It was much needed.

  19. That is completely lovely. 🙂 I’ve met a few of my bloggy friends in real life, and have really enjoyed it every single time.

    And I haven’t seen my real life local posse in awhile, but we’re working on that for Memorial Day weekend. 🙂

  20. My absolute favorite part of traveling now is looking up my Internet friends as well as my old friends. Seeing you guys a few weeks ago was so good for my soul. My husband comments all the time how he wishes he could fly you all in when I collapse in a puddle, because you understand so well what I’m worried about with writing.

    Good for you for going to Hotlanta! Maybe we should get a girls’ weekend planned sans conferences.

  21. It was really the best present I could have not ever thought to ask for.

    And I think that’s why it was even better. Someone thought of something that I really really wanted, but never actually put into words.

    It’s like getting a shot of goodness right in the ass.

  22. This post gave me goosebumps! I joined an online community when I was pregnant, and have bonded so well with those ladies. I wish we lived closer so we could have a night of margaritas of our own, but for now I can read this post and imagine what it’ll be like. Thanks!

  23. What a great post! I have a couple friends that I’m SO excited to finally get to see in person at Blogher this year. I’m looking forward to hearing you speak while I’m there. 🙂

  24. I think BlogHer is one of my favorite times of the year, just because I know I get to catch up with so many people I know and love.

    Locally, we have a monthly meet-up of mom bloggers, but I’m not yet as close to them as I am to many who live further away. My non-blogging friends are also hard to get in touch with – mostly due to distance.

    I feel like I need a roadtrip to see everyone.

  25. That is fantastic. I have always treasured my girlfriends. I get totally depressed if too much time elapses between get togethers and I have some friends (one who I refer to as my “girlfriend crack”) who I’ve known since middle school. Meaning, they have loved me and I have loved them through countless crappy relationships, bad fashion choices, questionable [fill in the blank], etc…

    What an amazing gift. I can only imagine how well you guys closed down the margarita joint.


  26. What a great reminder to us all. I think it's way too easy for life to consume us and then one day we wake up and think, “What's happened to all my friends?” I do stay connected but not in the way that is more personal and more spirit reviving. I think I'll make it a point this week to call a friend and pick a date to get together soon. Sometimes I'm too busy connecting with far away friends I forget that I have some right here in my own town.

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