Friday, March 23, 2012

Virtual friends ~ Real sisters


Sixteen months ago, I left Seattle, where I had oodles of wonderful friends and was only a four and a half hour drive from all of my family.

And, I moved to Chicago, where our daughters live, who happen to be two of my best friends. (Christy moved to England seven months ago, but Jenny still lives just ten minutes away.) But I was starting fresh in the other kind of friends department.

Since I have moved a lot, I know how to do transitions. I am a introvert, but I love people, am very friendly, and make friends easily.

But it was very different, since we chose to live in the city. (most people work, much younger crowd, and no traditional day time women's ministry programs) And we moved just as winter was starting, where people are rarely out of their homes. 
 
I have been lonely. So what did I do?


1. I worked extra hard to meet people, at church, in our neighborhood, in our ministry etc. It has been slow.


2. Skype became my best friend ... as I spent much time "face to face" with friends who really knew me.


3. And virtual friends that I met through my blog, became super important, and I invested in these relationships.


.


It is hard to describe on-line friends. Calling them "blogging friends," does not do justice to the relationship.

I really care that Sandra lost her husband, that Alicia got settled in her new place, that Sarah is expecting a baby, that Tiffini has the courage to start a new business ... and the list could go on and on.

That is why I love this phrase, "Virtual friends ~ Real sisters." This is a t.shirt that was designed by my virtual friend/real sister, Jen. Jen hosts a wonderful community called Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood

You have heard me talk about these lovely ladies before. I call us the Soli Sisters and have found great friendships here.

Skype friends and virtual friends have been my life saver.

So now, sixteen months in ... how is it going for me in the friends department?

               *I have found significant ministry 
                 and friendship with the young 
                 women at our church

               *One of my blogging friends has
                 become a face.to.face friend
                 (Thanks, Shelly)

               *We have built fun relationships
                 with two of our neighbors (darling young
                       families)

               *I have made so many virtual friends,
                 that it is hard to now find time for all
                 of them.

               *I still skype often with friends around
                 the world.

               *And, just last week, I realized that for
                 four days in a row, I met with a real
                 live person, that knew my name. (and 
                       it was not Dave or Jenny)

I am still not where I want to be (in the friends department)
but this is real progress. And, I am grateful, for sure. 

Do you have good friends? enough friends? skype friends? virtual friends? Talk to me.


ps. Hop over to Jen's site to order this cute tee.

      

              

28 comments:

  1. We've moved four times in our marriage--major moves. Each time, the boys were young and their ages made it easy to make friends. I have a "trail" of friends in California, Texas and S.C.. They are friends I keep in close contact with and see fairly often. When I entered the world of blogging, I did so with some degree of trepidation. I was opening myself up to complete strangers. But, isn't that what we do in face-to-face friendships in the beginning? I've made friends in the neighborhood, at church, at schools and through the friends of my children. I have a lot of friends here. Some are casual, some are close and some are like family. I've especially enjoyed face-to-face meetings with some blogging friends, you included, and treasure them.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  2. I've so enjoyed getting to know you! It *is* lonely moving area, because *real* friendships take time to develop and mature. I always wish they could be rushed!!

    Sarahx

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  3. Bonnie ~ We need to plan our next get together. I would love to see you again.

    Sarah ~ We are planning our trip to England to visit Christy, so I look forward to meeting you, face to face, too.

    I love blogging.

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  4. Love this post Glenda. I think it's always the challenge about moving - so I'm glad you are honest about it here. But I also like that you highlight the importance of skype, and blogs to keep connected to the broader network of our friends. Sometimes I feel like everyone is moving all over the place, and it's so hard to keep a consistent network, but I think we do have the tools to do it now, it just takes some commitment. I've been thinking about this a lot lately - how to maintain long-lasting friendships while still building new ones. Thanks for your contribution!

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  5. You are right, the term - "blogging friends" doesn't do it justice! I wrestled with this term recently, for it indicates that these are friends I've met through blogging. But many are so much more than that. :)

    So glad you are making progress with friends. I can relate a bit, we moved from NJ to KY eight years ago. I had one good friend here in KY, but she has since moved. It has been slow going. Working on branching out.

    Have a lovely weekend,
    Karen

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  6. I love my blog sisters, as you do...have met four of them and they were all great treats. I have ambitions to return to Norway and meet a witty friend in Bergen, also Ireland...yesterday, we met two people from northern Scotland who own a hotel in a destination where we are likely to travel...after the Olympics are over in London this summer.

    Meanwhile, I have wonderful long-time friends in both places we live. Each time we move north or south to our snowbird locations, everyone reconnects...and now we're making more friends at church who are also snowbirds...we are all like flitting birds or butterflies, briefly touching down and then tasting sweet friendships in other places. Lots of fun. However, family members are our most secure friends.

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  8. I always love my visits to your blog and consider you a dear "blog friend" but more of a sister of the heart and spirit. Anyone who says you can't make real friends online isn't trying. I have made some amazing blog friends into face-to-face friends. Many of my friends have moved away from our big city world and it's hard to keep up. I haven't moved but find myself a little shy in the friend dept. these days. I know reaching out, making plans with friends within an hour's reach and meeting new people is the way through, but it is not always easy. Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration to maintain friend(ly) efforts!

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  9. I love it...Blog Sisters. It is so true. I really care what goes on in the lives of the wonderful gals I blog with. And the comments that are left on my posts are so genuine and heartfelt.

    I am very much like you in that I am shy but can be outgoing. My friends are few but we are close. I have lived in Chicago {and the immediate area} all my life, but people come and go. It is always a treat to make new friends. The blogging world has introduced me to women that I later met face to face. It's amazing that I felt we had known each other forever. Maybe because we are more genuine on our blogs?

    This is a great post, Glenda...it really made us open up!
    Have a wonderful weekend...didn't we deserve this rain?!

    XO,
    Jane

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  10. Good reminders that it takes TIME to develop new friendships and community! I am in the slow going proces myself! Skype and blogs and emails have been lifesavers!

    Love you
    miss you

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  11. I am blessed to still be living in the same area where I grew up so I have kept in contact with and have many groups of friends. So there are my "Lakeville" crew ~ the ones I grew up with. Then I have my "Eaton's" group ~ the department store I started working at when I was 17 yrs old and was there for 17 years. I have my soul sisters ~ girlfriends that are like sisters to me. I also have my "Buds" ~ we met on the Martha Stewart weddings board and moved over and created our little Yahoo group ~ 12 years now we have been together. Then last but not least I have my virtual friends ~ ones that I have met through blogging. A couple of my buds are also in this group and urged me to start my own blog. Little did I know of the friendships I would make with a wonderful group of women. Great top Glenda! Have a wonderful week-end.

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  12. I've lived in the same area my whole life. In fact, I live in the house that my parents bought when I was 9 years old! I have made friends where ever I have worked, attended church, women's groups I have joined. Now I have Blog friends too! I have not met any in person yet but would love to.....maybe someday, Glenda!

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  13. And you are such a sweet blog friend, too, Glenda. Thanks for this reminder that 1.) finding, making and keeping friends is oh-so-important; and 2.) being a friend is the surest way to do #1. You are very good at that.

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  14. I can so relate! I moved several times growing up, but when I got married I didn't move again for 25 years. Then 5 years ago my husband got transferred and we moved. No kids in school, large - very large - church. It was a challenge to find and make friends. But I'm getting there...we have a family prayer group that meets regularly, then last month I started meeting with women and that helps.

    I would love to be close enough to be your real life in person friend! I think I would just love having lunch with you! BTW...love the look of your apartment.

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  15. Glenda, you captured this beautifully. I remember moving HERE to Seattle (smile) 20 years ago from California. I stood in my living room and cried most days for about 6 months. NOTHING was familiar, no one knew me...I was lost.

    Now God has brought depth into my life and blessed, blessed friends (live, up close) but now, newer ones in this online community. there has been so much encouragement and joy.
    I hope to meet and greet you and many others in person over time--who knows what God could do?

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  16. Bless you, Glenda, for caring; your prayers and the prayers of so many others have held me whole these many long and difficult months. From the start of Dave's illness to now, more than four months after his death, the pain is fresh and the grief still brings dark thoughts.
    Dave and I were so close, together 24/7 and did just about everything together. We were best friends and his death is felt deeply; it's split my world asunder and, most days, I am adrift. There have been an occasional good day but not nearly enough of them; the grief is an all too constant companion.
    As to friends...would it surprise you to know how many "friends" have gone? One woman, whom I've known for more than four decades when we first met at Bible college, wrote a letter, making sure it arrived just a day or two after Dave was buried. She wrote, "so sorry about your loss but I came out of the "closet"; I'm now a liberal and we have nothing in common anymore." She's also ashamed we met at Bible College and funny, me the ole hippie, is proud as punch of my traditional, conservative upbringing AND Bible College.
    Another "friend" asked Dave and I for a loan of $6K (we were unable to loan her the money) and, 2 months later, when I told her Dave had cancer, she never responded. Her new “project” are American Natives on the res; I wish her, and them, well. Where we live, there is one friend who is constant and I've met two others with whom friendships are being formed. God is good.
    So, virtual friends have been a lifesaver and a lifesavor for me. So many have stood in the gap, are standing in the gap, for me. Some days my only prayer is, "WHY God?!"
    I cannot skype due to bandwidth but I do use the telephone. My Beloved Sistah and I talk almost daily and other loved friends and I talk every few weeks.
    Surprise found me when you said Christy moved 7 months ago; that does Not seem possible! I'm sure the months have been long for both of you and I share in your joy at having your family together at Christmas. The tee shirt is AAAdorable!
    As to friendship - well, they take time and commitment and it seems few people are willing to invest either. Yet, people, women especially, bemoan the lack of friendship. There is a solution but it involves saying "no", a lot, and women, generally, aren't very good at saying no.
    Some women, when they buy a new article of clothing, take an older article of clothing to the thrift store. I do that with commitments...if I want to do something new, I have to give up something old. It's the only way I can "control" my time and make sure there's time for the important stuff first...God, me, family, friends. My place in line has had to move up since there's now only one, not two.
    Excellent post, Glenda, as always you're spot on as you've hit the nail square on the head.
    God bless you, yours and the work of your hands and heart.

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  17. Glenda, It's been awhile since I moved but I remember how lonely it felt for a long time and how it takes so much time to build relationships and have friends that know the "real you" - I know that each day, week and month that passes will make you feel more at home and soon you will be looking back and thanking God, once again for giving you wonderful new friends and sisters in Chicago!

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  18. Hi Glenda--

    I just read your last several blog posts. It's nice to catch up with you.

    You are a wonderful, lovely person. I am glad that you're making some new real-life friends in Chicago, but I know how you feel--blogging friends ARE "real," aren't they? The best is when you actually get to meet them in real life--it seems as if you've always known one another!

    Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

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  19. I have "met" so many friends through blogging/facebook. It seems strange that I have never met some of them face to face and yet I feel like I have. It's amazing to me how Christian sisters truly are sisters, whether "in real life" or on the internet. I have prayed for these ladies, they have prayed for me. There is mutual love there. Such a neat connection!

    BTW I moved fomr Indiana to Iowa 7 1/2 years ago. Making new friends is hard, and lonely at first. It just takes time. I'm incredibley thankful that God has brought into my life an amazing "collection" of women. So thankful I moved here and met them. Can't imagine how much different my life would be without them!

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  20. Time not only heals it also makes all things possible. I'm so glad you've found the beginnings of new friendships. There will be many more. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  21. I've moved a lot, too, and although I make friends easily, I still haven't found the close friends like I had in L.A. My blog friends make up for it, though, and several of them have become face to face friends.

    Won't heaven be fun???

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  22. I feel the same way!
    I am much like you
    blog friends just seems...so...emtpy
    when in fact - I have been beyond blessed
    to know the women that blogging has brought into my
    life. I consider them real friends that I pray for, talk with
    think of..love.
    And you are one of them:) Love you and I am so happy to hear
    you are making more friends..it will just get better and better.
    xo

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  23. yea for you..this is hope!!! Our Bible study group is so welcoming to others....I know it is a blessing to them. And in the short time i have been blogging I feel like I too have met friends...and i keep checking on them on line...to make sure they are ok....
    happy week blogging friend!!

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  24. Blogging friends does not do it justice, I agree! Thanks for the post. Glad you are being blessed with friendships in all sorts of ways. SDG is great!

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  25. I appreciate your insight. I'm on the opposite end of your experience. We've been in our general location for 18 years, and this specific house for almost 9. I've got amazing face-to-face friends through my church. I've heard so many people talk about their blogging friends, but I'm new to that world and haven't gotten there yet. Not sure how to go about that one, either. Often I feel like I'm a day late and a dollar short in the world of making online community happen. But, like I said, I've got amazing face-to-face sisters, so I'm counting my blessings.

    It's encouraging to hear your progress, and I think it's neat that you're able to pour into so many people - in real life and online! God Bless!!

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  26. Glenda, I just had to pause before I could write a comment. I looked out the window to keep the tears from spilling over my eyes. I am just amazed at all the good work He has done through online friendships and through SDG. I am so thankful to you -- one of the founding members -- who has spent so much time helping this community to grow, imparting love and wisdom all along the way. You are a gift, Glenda. A precious and sparkling jewel in His crown. And I am overjoyed that you have created friendships in your new city, too.

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  27. I love Jen's "virtual...real." Like you, I have so many new friends, friends whose heart beats with the passion of mine. While I write about Sheltering, I have had so many shelter me. I am amazed at the largeness of their hearts -- yours included. I have many friends but the virtual friends have added a rainbow to my life.

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  28. Do you know about http://virtualfriend503@blogspot.com ?

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