How do you feel about hopping on a train and meeting up with people who you’ve only ever “chatted to”on social media? Six years ago my friends thought I was absolutely bonkers when I told them that I was going to meet up with two Twitter “friends” whom I had been chatting to for sometime. They feared for my safety. What if my “friends” turned out to be a perv and I ended up locked away in a cellar in the depths of Somerset and used as a sex slave ? Nor could they understand that it’s possible for friendships to develop by communicating via a keyboard. I assured them that after all the messaging that had bounced backwards and forwards between the three of us over how ever many months since we started, I was pretty confident that Tina and Karen were who they said they were and that by embracing social media, the opportunities to make new friends who previously you just weren’t ever going to cross paths with, was an exciting prospect.

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So, I hopped on that train and made the short journey to Bath to meet up and spend the day getting to know the two lovely ladies who I’d connected with over the months.Being on Twitter our chats had been somewhat brief as it’s difficult to get a decent conversation going when you are restricted to so few characters. It was time to have a decent conversation without being rudely cut off mid flow. I would be fibbing if I wasn’t a bit nervous about meeting them. I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly out going person and worried that I would come across as too quiet and possibly boring! What if all three of us didn’t click and we’d be sat there nursing our teas and nursing awkward silences?

As it was, we met, hugged a bit awkwardly and basically didn’t stop talking for the whole day and six years later we still meet twice a year, hug each other tightly and still talk and talk and talk as if it’s going out of fashion. I had to laugh the other day when I announced on social media that I was meeting up with my Twitter friends. One of them pointed out that we aren’t Twitter friends anymore, we are real friends, and of course she was absolutely right. Despite only meeting up twice a year because we are all busy and everyday life gets in the way, we treasure those days together. We laugh, cry, advise and listen to each other. We share good news and not such good news. When I got married in 2012 my guest list wouldn’t have been complete without them being included and I felt very honoured that they were there to share my special day.

Social media, especially Instagram has become a big part of my life lately. You may think that sounds rather sad. Isn’t there enough happening in my “real” life to keep me occupied without needing a”virtual” life too? Well, to set the record straight there is enough and I’m really quite happy with it. To me, Instagram is no longer solely about admiring peoples images that they’ve posted, it’s about the wonderful friendships that I’ve made with other IG’ers since I started using it. Mr R has got used to me deep in conversation on my  iPad or feeding him snippets of news of the goings ons in my IG friends lives. He doesn’t think that there’s anything odd about me having online friends and as he’s away during the week, he never has to worry that I’m lonely.

Last year I was lucky to meet Amanda in Bristol and Annie and Janet in London. What lovely, special days they turned out to be. This year I really hope that I’ll get to meet more. What would be brilliant is if there were such things as IG friends meet ups. Wouldn’t that be such fun! If I were an organising sort of person then I would definitely organise one.  Friendship is very important to me. The older I get, the more I value it and it doesn’t matter if my friends are those that I see daily, or those that I have in fact never seen They are very much all real friends and are all equally important to me. Right, it’s time to stop typing this post, make a cup of tea and catch up with some lovely ladies.

Until next time….xxxx

 

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