The Friendship Doctor

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How to Keep an Online Friendship Online

I am often caught off guard by the recurring incidence of online "friends" (emailing, blogging, and/or Facebook) who want to take the friendship to the "face to face" level. The Internet has destroyed some important boundaries. Read More

Online should stay there

I'm sure people have met successfully, but my own personal experience is that anyone who wants to take online friendship into the real world often has an agenda.

I've met one person and regretted it. I've had three others push hard to get me to meet them. What did they have in common? They're very lonely hysterical hypochondriacs that want someone to pay attention to them every second of the day. They will eat your life if you let them. I had to be very forceful and rude to get them to piss off, and one I even had to block from email.

There are people that I wouldn't mind meeting, but those aren't the ones that push to meet up. Probably because they're normal!

Every good remedy has its side-effects

Internet communication is great, but...: allows fantasies to grow faster; allows shy people to try harder; and if you want: allows to transform a relationship faster. To say 'NO' is therefore an important life skill...
Thanks for sharing the interesting story and advice,
Dr. Joe

Nothing wrong

I don't see anything wrong in people wanting to take friendship to the next level - from on-line to face-to-face. I would love it if somebody was eager to befriend me.
Just tell her bluntly and straight out you are not interested. You will be doing her a favor.

I have several long term

I have several long term friendships that were made online and have included successful meetings in person and multiple times including cross country and US/Canada. My longest internet friendship is 15 years and still going strong.

I'm totally myself online and find that others usually are too. I have met a few people that were quite outgoing online but shy in person. I agree that does happen.

I agree with Fly On the Wall.

I agree with Fly On the Wall. There's something wrong with such people.

I run a clipart site and am also a successful novelist/writer. A woman who signed up to my site yesterday, emailed me, saying that we have a lot in common and she'd like to be friends. She added that she would like to talk to me as "a fellow writer and artist." She included her phone number and told me to call her.

Quite frankly, the last thing I want to do is talk to another writer/graphical artist. Not only am I always short on time and would like to keep my relationship with customers professional, but in my experience, such people always want something. And I can't fathom why this woman thinks I'd want to know her simply because we share a creative passion. There are numerous creative people out there on online forums that she could chat with.

I wished her luck and told her in no uncertain terms that I simply don't have time.

Yep, that would be a red flag

Yep, that would be a red flag to me. She's too friendly too soon, which means she probably wants to ride your coattails. If she just wanted to talk, she'd be on one of the thousands of chat boards with like-minded people.

I don't think lonely people recognize that people who accomplish something are busy doing that; they don't have time to hold hands with everyone who says, "I'm your biggest fan!!" I've seen people on political sites who actually think that their favorite world leader reads the site and hangs on their every word. When exactly would those world leaders do their jobs?

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Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., is a psychologist and professor of psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine. Her latest book is Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend.

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