“You just read her blog, right? So you don’t really “know” her…”
How many times have you heard your spouse, family member, or “real life” friend utter these words or a variation of them?
How many times have you started to talk to those same people by saying “My friend, uh, I mean this girl whose blog that I read…” because you don’t want to have to make the arguement yet again that yes, that blogger is indeed a friend?

Blogging brings together a community of people that bond by words, expression, feelings, and support. There are several people that I chat with that are still strangers…in fact the majority of people I’ve “met” through blogging I would consider nothing more than friendly acquaintances. But there are a handful of people I’ve met that I consider friends. And I have a feeling that if we ever met in person, it wouldn’t be weird or nerve wracking…it would be like sitting down to have lunch with an old friend.

A few months ago, when BlogHer 2011 announced it would be taking place in San Diego, Kristin from Taming Insanity, Liz from a belle, a bean, and a chicago dog, and I were immediately emailing, texting, and calling each other to see if we could swing attending. I live locally, but Kristin and Liz would have to travel. We talked about sharing a hotel room. These are women that I have never met in real life! And we are willing to share a hotel room?! Yes, because we are friends. Circumstances aren’t going to allow us to meet in San Diego for BlogHer, but we will meet someday, I’m sure of it.

In November, a group of So Cal bloggers including Tonya from Letters for Lucas, Surferwife over at A Day in the Life of a Surferwife, Lucky Dame over at A Beautiful Mess, Cheryl from Mommypants, and Gigi from KludgyMom who will be visiting, are planning to all meet and spend some time together. We are all very excited to hang out and meet each other in person. I don’t think any of us are worried that we won’t like each other or that we won’t have anything to talk about because we already know each other.

I may not have ever met any of my blogging friends in real life (with the exception of Tonya), and I may not have ever “talked” to them by phone, but that doesn’t mean that they cannot be “real” friends. Some of these women I talk to daily by email, and more often than not, several times a day. I chat with them on Twitter. We text each other by cell phone. I know more about what’s going on in their daily lives than I know about what’s going on in some of the lives of my family and “in real life” friends.
A few very close blogging friends of mine have recently been going through a very rough time in their lives. One of them, Kristin over at Taming Insanity has been public about her husband’s recent spinal meningitis. The others are going through difficult times privately. These women, whom I’ve never met or spoke to other than over the Internet, not only trusted me enough to share their struggles with me, but they poured their hearts out about their pain, their feelings, and their fears.

My blogging friends and I have laughed together, cried together, shared secrets that people in our everyday lives may not even know. We aren’t afraid to share our real feelings with each other. We give each other open, honest opinions and advice. We support each other. We help each other learn and grow.

And to me, all of that sounds very much like what it takes to make a friendship work. So what makes the friendships I’ve developed by sharing my words by using my fingers instead of my mouth any different?

What about you? How do you feel about friendships that are developed online? Can they be just as strong as “real” friendships?

And so it goes…


  1. That One Mom says:
    I hear you! Totally! When I visited two friends I met through blogging last weekend, it wasn't weird at all. It was like seeing an old friend I hadn't seen in a while.

    The Friends You Love event is just one example of how people you haven't met IRL can make such an impact on your daily life. My URL friends are more real than most people that I see face to face.
  2. elizabeth @ twelvecrafts says:
    When I had a bad day this week, the first person I wanted to "talk" to was an on-line friend. I e-mailed her right away . . . and caught my face-to-face friends up later. One of the best blessings of blogging . . . friendship.
  3. Shoot. I mean, you and I have agreed to share a man. If that isn't friendship, then what is?!
  4. Nina @ Momma Go Round says:
    I totally agree...but I wouldn't have used to. My husband has been a computer gamer for years and always used to refer to the buddies he talks to on his headset and plays games with as friends. I never believed him or how their bond could be real until I started blogging.

    You don't have to ever be sitting in the same room as someone to have them be a friend. That's the best can connect with someone who REALLY gets you who is across the country!
  5. Beverly @ says:
    I had to come comment! I feel just the same way. I feel closer to online friends then some of my real-life friends. And who says this isn't real-life anyway?? :) Great post.
  6. Losing Brownies says:
    I think you are right! I am forming friendships everyday via blog. I'm getting to know people and talk to them more often than I do some of my IRL friends!
  7. YES! my roommates think I'm crazy. I'm always, well my friend said, well, I mean, this blogger I'm friends with... every time!

    but these peeps (or bleeps) have become friends! they ask how I am. we keep up with each other's lives and dramas and joys. it's amazing really and I completely value it!
  8. Allyson & Jere says:
    Yes, and YES! I mean really, yes to all of it. It's really a bizarre little phenomenon, but one that I love and am grateful for.

    Way to put it into words for all of us.
  9. You hit it right on the nose! I don't know how many times I start out a conversation with my husband the same way... "You know that girl who's blog I follow that....... well, she said....." I've gotten tired of saying that mouthful, so I've started giving people nicknames or calling them by their blog title. At least I have two REAL LIFE friends who also happen to blog so we "get" it. LOL

    I definitely think you can have friendships via blogging. They may not ever be there for you physically, but they're almost always there emotionally. To me, that's more important. I don't think I'd be having as much fun throughout my pregnancy if it weren't for the blogging world. I've learned so much, and have gotten to share so much as well.

    Fun post! Happy Monday :)
  10. I've met a few people in real life that I first met online. It doesn't always have to be awkward (though it can be sometimes), but it usually ends up being fun!
  11. This post makes me smile. :)

    And I love our tribe.

    And I'm BEYOND jealous that you get to meet all those fab women and that they get to hang with YOU!
  12. I haven't been blogging long enough to have made close ties yet. But thru one online game I play I have made several friends. I call them my my "virtual friends". These friends are as important to me as my "real life friends".
  13. I'm with Liz. this post brought a smile to my face. I'm glad it's one of the few I am choosing to read today (so behind!). :)

    I think online friendships are as real as any others. They have their shares of ups and downs, positives and negatives! Sometimes, I like 'em better than my IRL friends. :)
  14. Not sure if sad is the right word, but it seems sad that I know more about people I've met through blogs and Twitter than I do about people I call my IRL friends. For me, friendship has 2 major components: trust and vulnerability/openness. And it seems you can find that dispensed more frequently on the web. Then again, you also have the sh*tshow, trolls, and all, so yeah.
  15. love this post, you're right on! one of my best friends is someone that i am only in contact with via email/fb/text, though we did originally meet each other 'in person'. i love all the people i have gotten to know through blogging :)
  16. I always have that moment when I'm telling my husband something I "read" and I have no idea how to describe the person... twitter friend? blog friend? online friend? woman I know? It can be confusing, but a real friend is someone that cares and is there to share your life, good and bad. Just because you may never have MET someone in person doesn't negate the "friendship" factor.
  17. Sheena Simpson says:
    I haven't been blogging long enough to make any other than a few exchanged emails (mostly responses to comments)but my mentor told me some of her friends have came from blogging. I see it as a wonderful way of me not having to be shy. In real life I am terribly concerned about offending people or saying the wrong thing. Here you can take me or leave me.
  18. Blogging is an excellent way of developing friendships with people who share the same values, which comes out in their writing. Because that is how we meet each other and recognize kindred souls. Meeting in person, I think, helps solidify or change that relationship. I treasure the people I have met online and simply refer to them as "my online friend." Come visit when you can.
  19. You and Me and Liz make three.

    I'm sorry I don't have more smushiness to say on this topic but really, I think the facts on this matter are self-evident.
  20. WTH am I Doing? says:
    I think this is a great post. :) I've had that "This girl I know...well, Ok, I don't 'know' her exactly...but I read her blog everyday...and she..." etc etc etc It's always all awkward to explain.

    While I haven't been doing this long enough (or frequently enough or something) to have formed really deep relationships with anyone yet, I have come to care very much about people whose blogs I read faithfully.

    And honestly? I am more open & real in my blog than I am in most "real life" situations...which is why it's anonymous. LoL People who know me through my blog, probably know me better than most people IRL.
  21. The friendships and relationships are SO real. I even come to care about some of these people. A lot. Great post, friend :)
  22. Totally...I think they can be stronger. For me, I'm very shy and introverted and even though I've lived here 10 yrs. I do not have one friend who I can really talk to like I did back home. When I started my blog I met people within days that I would come to love as friend. A few weeks ago we had a Utah Bloggers get together and there were 8 of us; only two others had met IRL but yet we all got along like we had known eachother for years. The Bloggy World Rocks!!!
  23. Yes! Blogging has have created a new kind of friendship!
  24. I couldn't agree more. And I totally know what you mean about family responses. :) I have met some amazing people and developed great bonds. And you are definitely on that list.
  25. It's an amazing little world...the bloggy world!!
  26. Bitter Betty says:
    I have yet to strike a real close bond with anyone just yet but I do feel a huge sense of community reading and learning from all of you fabulous ladies. You are all very inspiring, motivating and very talented and I find myself more eager to see what you are all up to as opposed to many of my irl friends!
  27. I think you nailed it, Natalie. What an awesome community you've landed in, and how fun that all you So Cal gals will get to see Gigi! Wish I were closer...but have a drink for me! I hope to go to Blogher 2011.

    A friendship is what you make it to be...whether it starts online or in person. Some of my very closest friends I rarely see, but when I do the connection was never lost.
  28. Blog/Twitter friends are real.
    We aren't thrown together because we all live in the same neighborhood or because our kids go to the same school.
    We come together and build friendships based upon true connections.

    The funniest thing is when your husband joins Twitter and is as bad as you are. I'll say, "Craig, did you see Natalie's tweet?" And his reply? "Which one?" ;)

    Great post!
  29. The Flying Chalupa says:
    Agreed. This IS friendship and it IS real. I don't care what anyone (my husband) says. And if I can make it to SD, can I hang with you guys? Huh? Can I? Don't make me sit with the lunch lady.
  30. I've never met any of my blogging friends IRL yet, but I'm hoping to at BlogHer 11! And yes! I definitely believe that bonding through the internet lays a great foundation for friendship in the real world!
  31. The mad woman behind the blog says:
    Can I print this out like a personal letter you wrote to me and give it to my husband?

    Absolutely these friendships are real and my life is so much richer because of ALL of you!
  32. Mommy This and That says:
    Whether you see a person face to face daily or tweet them daily, they are friends. You don't stop being friends with someone when they move away, right?

    It was actually TV that introduced me to online friends. I use to watch the show Roswell and someone created a board and even after the show went off the air we are all still friends. Those of us in the same state schedule lunches. We've had what we call Orb Fest in different cities and they even threw me a shower for my wedding! While the group is now smaller, we've all known each other for 10 years!
  33. Blog friends are real! We hear each other's stories- maybe even more than our friends irl. We can catch up easily by going back and reading things we've missed. And we can get into conversations about just about everything! Maybe those conversations are just on email or twitter, but they are still real.

    When I went to my first blog conference, Mary(the Mommyologist) and I shared a room even though we'd never met- but when we finally did meet IRL, it was like seeing an old friend. Not weird at all.

    I hope I get to meet you at Blogher!
  34. I have never met any of my bloggy friends with the exception of Laura but we already knew each other. I hope I can make it to BlogHer 11 it would be really great to meet everyone. I definitely feel that I am forging some real friendships with my blogging friends. Already in only a few short months I have shared so much about myself with some of them and have really been getting to know about them. I think that real friends come in many different forms and this is just one of them.
  35. Just Another Mom of 2 says:
    I have yet to meet blogging friends in real life, but to me, each day blogging, reading, tweeting, and chatting is real life. I don't know what I would do without the supportive blogging friends I have made this past year, especially with constantly moving. It's amazing!!
  36. I often feel like my online friends are better friends than some of my real life ones! I think it's because I am a lot more open with people I don't know than people I do, and when we end up meeting in the real world I don't have to censor anything - I love it!
  37. Jules from A Little Bite of Life says:
    Excellent post! I think sometimes we can get to know someone much better when we "correspond" with them, because there is nothing to lose: They can either chose to like us or click off the post.

    I have a really good friend that I have never physically met. We met online, on a board for missing people. I volunteered to help her find her sister, and over the course of three yrs, I have gotten to know everything about her and her life, and she has gotten to know me. I cannot wait for the day when we can actually "meet", and I know it will not be awkward or weird!

    I love your writing and humor Natalie, and look forward to getting to know you even better!
  38. Mommy NaniBooboo says:
    I have not met a single one of my blight friends in real life yet- but I am a weird, anti-social, social networker. I do, however, consider a lot of them friends and they have helped me too many ways to count. I can't imagine how isolated I would feel without these people in my life.
    Great post.
  39. so, i am part of an online crafting forum. i've known these women for 4 years. i finally got a chance to meet a handful of them last summer and it was the best thing EVER!!! they are my good friends, and know more about me than most!!
  40. Midwest Mommy says:
    I went to BlogHer '09. It was amazing. Meeting some of my "online friends" in person was indescribable.
  41. I can honestly say that my blogging friends are what keeps me sane right now. I don't know what I would do without them. Great post!
  42. Sluiter Nation says:
    This post is SO true. What irritates me even more is how some of my IRL friends act like I am a freak because I have online friends. Or that I am antisocial or something. Which couldn't be farther from the truth!

    The people that I am friends with online are FRIENDS. They try earnestly to support me and laugh with me and it is wonderful.

    I look forward to sharing my celebrations and my worries with them.

    I can't (even though I have tried) begin to explain how this social media world has saved me. It really truly has.
  43. moveovermarypoppins says:
    There is nothing more real than a meaningful connection between people. However it comes about.

    If the mode is electronic?

    So be it.
  44. I could not agree more. I love my blog world friends and I can't wait until November to host our first meet and greet. I just know that we are all going to get along famously. :)
  45. The internet has opened up so many things that were unheard of years ago. Seriously, you met your husband/wife through the internet?
    Times have changed and so has the way we meet people. I believe real friendships can be made through the internet.
  46. I met a group of friends though an online baby website four years ago. We still talk daily, and I find it just easier to say my friend from *insert state here*, than go into the whole online thing because that really throws people off!

    Great site, btw. I too lived through 3 kids under 3. It was great. ;)
  47. oh, I'm glad you linked this one up! :)
  48. I actually wrote a post about this over at Chelle (Winey Mommy's) blog

    Blog friends are friends... they sometimes know us better than our IRL friends do.
  49. I totally belive they can be real.
  50. I would love to meet some of my blogging friends. I think we would have so much in common.
  51. Bloggy friends are totally real friends too. I have had many friends that lived miles and miles away and that didn't make them less real - same for my blogging friends! I'm actually working on organizing a meet up to change some of my blogging friends to friends irl!
  52. Mothers' Hideaway says:
    I have the same issue. I have a mommy forum and I know more about the women on that site than I know about my IRL. I feel closer to most of them than anyone that knows me. Isn't it weird how the internet blasts down any shield you have??
  53. The internet world is sometimes more real than life around us. I love my internet friends and they have developed because we have things in common, things we share, things we love. For me, I must take care that I don't isolate myself from my real life friends...(the ones I know with all the warts and wiggles of real life). I think sometimes we get caught up in what seems to be the idealistic life of others and forget what we have right in front of us. I don't ever want to miss out on "real" life because I am blogging-lol And, yet, there are some of the best people I have ever met right here. And, Natalie, when I first started I think you were like the 3 or 4th person that signed up..and encouraged me. You are a good soul! Hugs- Diana
  54. Not Just Another Jennifer says:
    It's so funny that you posted this because until recently, I was just blogging for me, and I didn't realize that there was this whole interactive element to it. Now that I'm doing Gigi's B2S/B2B, I am starting to make connections I wasn't expecting. Like Stumbling you from Liz's BlogFrog! :)