It's wonderful that we can have so many friends, that we have never met. I'm wondering what do we mean by 'friend'? What is the etiquette for friends?

What does an A|N friend mean to you? Do friends get birthday presents? :-)

There will be as many answers as there are people on A|N. I'm interested in what people have to say.

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A lopt of people have offered definatios of "friend" here and I can't really disagree with any of them. I've been on myspace for several years and have about 6 or 7 people that I keep in regular touch with, not counting family. I would love to meet them in person but time and distance are a factor. I recently joined facebook and most of the people I "friended" there are people I've actually met, plus family. I keep getting requests frome people who went to the same university as I, but I don't remember them for the people I went to high school with.....the "Are you fucking kidding me" song says it perfectly. Most of the people I went to school with made my life miserable add there.

My idea of a friend is someone who is usually like-minded, tolerant, intelligent and gentle natured. I love a dry, sharp sense of humor, but mean-spiritedness is not invited to dinner. There are several of you guys I would love to invite to my home and cook for. I think we could have a great time and conversation while enjoying the drink of choice. BYOB! Daniel, you're one of my favs. If you and your partner are ever in Oklahoma.....give me a call. I can cook vegetarian.
Somewhat because of this discussion, I finally sent out 22 invites and got back 20 confirmations. I'm still holding out hope for those two and I'm not done adding. Like gaining friends in the non-virtual world, I like to "get to know" someone before I consider them a friend. (The "have a beer with" standard sounds good to me.) "Getting to know" on a forum like this takes some time to read the person's comments and see if they share many (not all) of your own viewpoints and values. On the flip side, by waiting some time to allow all of you to "get to know" me, I wanted to share my viewpoints and values so you could make an informed decision to consider me as a friend. Thanks to all that confirmed and hopefully those that will confirm in the future.

Now, I need help moving next weekend, and I need a ride to the airport, and someone needs to look after my husky, and someone else... I'm just kidding... Have a great day!
It is a pleasure to connect with people, even in virtual mode. It is similar to having a bunch of pen-pals but everything happens faster, more conversationally, and we don't need to pay for stamps.

The friends I have here, on Facebook, and even from XBox Live are very real people to me. I have a Scrabble opponent on Facebook that I have talked to on the phone, and several gamers that I have visited for a beer while traveling. Same thing with the old AOL chatrooms; I actually dated a lady from there (and neither of us regrets it although it ended somewhat quickly).

I've never found the online friendship to be an unusual thing and every day I look forward to reading what my friends here are discussing.

I always figured "Friend List" was another way of saying "Address Book".

Too true!!
If we had an international conference thingy, as long as you didn't speak into the collar of anyone wearing shiny shoes, you'd be fine.
Facebook almost singlehandedly turned me off of any on-line social networking. That place is a mine field, the rampant faceapp, poke, ninja, pirate... I lasted 1 week before I disabled that email-address. Personally I would much rather friend someone here, then anyone on Facebook.

Friends for me here are definitely people I would like to have a beer with, as was so nicely put by others. I should friend more people then I have, but honestly facebook has left me gun shy. However I will say there is so much less "noise" on this site, you can actually have discussions with people. It gives one a chance to get to know, what they are about. I haven't refused a friend yet, nor have I been refuted, all in all a pleasant experience.
Facebook, to me, is the greatest online invention since IRQ/AIM/etc. I keep track of the people I want to, I have some light distractions if I choose, and I have to do NOTHING if that's my preference. It's perfect for me.

I have 30 friends or so, most never intrude on my space (excusing the pun). I can easily keep tabs on a few friends, friends of friends, family, and golfing buddies....and nobody else can intrude. Perfect for the selective internet junkie. :)

lol I think your friends average social IQ might be higher then mine.
I'd buy a beer or a coffee for any of my A|N friends.
me too.
I'd accept a beer or a coffee from any of my A|N friends. Seems we're perfectly matched.
I just assumed my A|N friends would care for me in my dotage, which should start in twenty minutes or so, by my watch.

Actually, I think of A|N's friend status as a way of letting people know I'm a fan. We only have each other's writing to go by, so my A|N friends are people whose writing I enjoy, whether I agree completely with everything they say. Having said that, I think people use masks IRL too, so I don't think of my interactions on A|N as any less real or less social than anywhere else. In some ways, it's a more personal connection, because we tend to talk openly here about things that really matter to us, whereas we probably restrain ourselves mightily at family gatherings and such.

Several people have mentioned the shortcomings of Facebook. I too find it alienating, which is bad news for the people who run it. It's never good when your product or service does the exact opposite of what you'd hoped. I find the Facebook UI annoying and baffling, I don't trust the apps with my personal data so I don't use them, and most interactions on Facebook seem to be remarkably superficial if not simply noise. The worst problem with Facebook, though is the inability (at least, I can't seem to figure it out) to create circles of friends with different interests that you can talk to without everybody else listening in. It's as if the Facebook designers just assume that every friend will be equally interested in every other friend's every interest. I'm sorry, but even if I wanted to keep up with an exponential stream of personal hobby updates, I couldn't. A|N is a much more compelling experience for me.




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