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How Much Do Your Online Relationships Matter to You?

As reported in the The New York Times, a new study reveals that men are just as attached to their online communities as they are to their real world relationships. Women, on the other hand, reported having a deeper connection to their real life encounters. The article didn't offer explanation for these varying viewpoints, but I'm sure there are many reasons why men and women are different in this respect.

There is something important about a physical relationship — a lot is said through someone's tone and body language — but I have to assume that even if it seems strange to some, online friendships and communities can be just as significant to a woman as her real world ones. But surely it depends on the woman, so since I know you're all active online, I'll ask you: Do you have any online relationships that you value just as much as those in your real life? Or do the connections you create online always come second?


Join The Conversation
sweetpeabrina sweetpeabrina 8 years
I only have one online friend - and she means a lot to me. :)
livline livline 8 years
I agree with lickety split and sundaygreen… My online friends have become very important to me. I work for an online company, so I'm already on the puter all.the.time. I also keep my online friendships on the downlow from my flesh-and-blood friends because they don’t ‘get’ it. Many of my online friends I’m close to are ones I knew waaay back in the day and haven't seen in 15 years, like high school or even grade school. So I feel comfortable that I actually have met these people. I've yet to get close to any online friends that I've never met in 'real life'.
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
I have a lot of friends who I met through online communities. Maybe more than in real life. I am not an amazingly social person IRL so the internet has SAVED me.
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
...not to mention: online 'friends' got me in an assload of trouble. I was naive then, so I'm trying to be careful now as a result of all that awful mess.
Muirnea Muirnea 8 years
I agree winniecooper, I feel like some people (not all) use the internet just b/c it is easier and doesn't take any effort. If that's why someone is making online friends, I think that's a bad idea...but I don't think it's all bad to make friends that way.
indielove indielove 8 years
kiwitwist: It IS easier talking to an online friend. I agree there.
b1uebunn b1uebunn 8 years
I definitely have some great online friends. I really like the semi anonymity of it, but I would also gladly know many of them in real life. It's different and fun and interesting. They fill a different niche from my real life friends.
sandy82 sandy82 8 years
I have a wonderful group of online friends. One is on a tv show forum, the other is on sparkpeople. I've known some of these women for about 4 years and it goes way beyond what we first started talking about. I really appreciate their support.
kiwitwist kiwitwist 8 years
I have some very good friends that are 'online'. The only scary part about online friends is that they can disappear without a trace. I find it easier to talk to an online friend though.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Exactly, indie :) There are a few people on here to whom I feel close, but that's about it.
indielove indielove 8 years
I do love my Sugar gals though...they're amazing women but besides email swapping with a few of them, we don't get TOO personal.
indielove indielove 8 years
I used to feel that way about the folks I met online. There were instances where I got too close to them, we would call each other to chat(even if they were overseas) or text. It's not a good idea to share telephone numbers online, it's a bit too personal. Practically all the people I was close to online, I don't speak to anymore. Things change, people change...we couldn't relate to each other anymore. There were some great times that I'll never forget and there were one of two of them that I thought we'd be friends forever but it didn't turn out that way. These days I only talk to one guy I've 'known' for over 4 years now. He's still pretty cool. He knows quite a bit about me and we used to text back in the day but not anymore.
sundaygreen sundaygreen 8 years
I've made some online friends and there is one that I talk to almost daily who lives on the other side of the world. What I find difficult is discussing these friends with my real friends (which I don't). None of my friends use the Internet as much as I do, and certainly don't join communities like this... so I pretty much keep my 'online life' on the down low.
winniecooper winniecooper 8 years
Ugh. Someone recently said that we should be 'Facebook Friends.' I said no. If you're really my friend, call me up and see how I'm doing once in a while! And put in some effort to actually see me in person. Imagine a little something called EFFORT these days?
Mykie7 Mykie7 8 years
CYL I think you're right. My "Group" was about women that were all pregnant, so I think the conversations we had were of a deeper nature and as such nurtured deeper friendships. Celebrity gossip and TV shows are pretty mundane subjects and don't require much depth of thought, so making online friendships from those would definitely be a little more difficult. It's when the friendships you make THROUGH those topics branch off in other directions that a friendship forms.
CYL CYL 8 years
Oh gees this is funny. My boyfriend is on a Car forum for Subaru owners and they talk about their cars, sell their car parts. Organize car meets. And I think he feels a lot closer to them than me. He's even met some guy for lunch to take a look at his car...and met up with some other dude to buy some springs off of him. It is all rather amusing and funny. As much as I love the girls on all the sugar networks, I don't think I would be like "hey let's meet up and discuss TV shows, or celeberity gossip" you know? Perhaps it is just the type of online communities men belong to.
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
well men don't usually go very deep with their fiendships, so i can see where it would be the smae for them. what do they talk about mostly; sports and work. i have some really good online friendships here and we know details about each others lives that no one else knows. most of us have been in the group from before they started keeping track and several have met in person. (so does that make the friendships not "online" anymore?) it's been really fun to be a part of things like marriage proposals, wedding planning, pregnancies, etc. and there have been heartbreaking, life altering experiences that we have supported each other through. i'm very attached to my online friends!
glam-sugar glam-sugar 8 years
I have some online friends that are very important to me.
Mykie7 Mykie7 8 years
My online FRIENDS matter to me. I have a group of Moms that I met when I was pregnant with my youngest son, and some of those women have become personal "physical" friends as well as online friends. So for finding and meeting new friends, I value the internet quite a bit. I don't think though that a romantic relationship can have a good foundation when it's started on the internet. That's not to say you can't meet someone on the net, then meet them in person and have the relationship be good. THAT is certainly possible. But these people that say they've "Fallen in love" over the internet and phone calls, I don't think that's possible. I don't think you can really get to know someone without touching them, being with them and being intimate (And I don't mean sex, intimacy means a WHOLE lot more than sex).
skigurl skigurl 8 years
i don't have any online relationships with people i've never met before of course, i have nearly 600 facebook "friends" many of which i would know nothing about without our online connection (but i have known all of them in person at least once in our lives and many many of them were important to me in the past, be it elementary school, highschool, colleage, past employment etc.) without that online connection i would have lost touch with people i value. i know it's hard to explain but i'm not a phone person and not one to be very good at keeping in touch. i'm more "in the present" when it comes to hanging out with people...whereas i have other friends who love to keep in touch and hang out with random people from her past all the time as they pass through her city etc. that being said, i'm happy technology has afforded me the ability to keep in touch with so many people i've met over my life, but in terms of meeting someone online and actually valuing that friendship, i don't have that but i do enjoy the discussion with other sugar gals...but i know nothing about these people, which may heighten the interest because all of our viewpoints are so different/similar depending on the situation whoa that was a lot of posting. sorry!
cravinsugar cravinsugar 8 years
I have a couple of friends I met on popsugar that I care for a lot! But, it is harder to keep in touch with people you don't get to see on a regular basis.
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
Huh? I so didn't mean to copy the smiley... it just happened. sorry!
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
Online relationships can be just as dishonest as physical relationships. I prefer physical relationships because you miss out on the nuances that make humans unique. Like a smile, a laugh, a nose wrinkle, a dimple that appears on certain words. How could a computer monitor ever compete with a pair of human eyes? Honestly, if I say something and it was taken differently than the way I meant it because you couldn't see my smirk, or lying eyes when my face is makes the relationship false and disconnected. Online's an okay way to start...but for me, it takes much more than that to make a friendship or love affair. :)
Muirnea Muirnea 8 years
WOW! 8-0 My bf and I were just discussing this this last night. Perfect timing Dear, :-P. I don't really understand where my bf is coming from...he has lots of online friends from all over the whole country, even some that he has felt close enough to go visit in real life. And some he talks to daily, as much or more than people he knows in real life. And he considers those friends, even the ones he has never met, good friends just like the people he knows in real life. Oh and he brought up a good point: that it is easier to make friends online b/c people are more open to it. You have to spend more time with someone in real life before you can just be like, hey lets meet and talk tomorrow or you come off as a crazy stalker, lol. But actually, I think that kind of proves my real life you actually have to spend time and effort to get to know the person, that makes it a more solid real friendship. I disagree, because I don't think you can be that close with someone you have never can never truly know a person just over the phone or internet. Like Dear said, tone and body language and things like that are so important!! You might be "friends" and enjoy talking and discussing things...but a true friendship like you can have with people in real life? I don't think it's the same at all. I think that guys don't really see body language and pay attention to tone in real life, not as much as girls do at least. So, when they talk online tone and body language don't matter b/c they don't pay attention to it anyway. Girls for the most part do notice that stuff though, so when girls talk online, they feel like they are missing a part of the conversation. Sorry for the super long post, but I have been thinking about this a lot and it was bothering me, ha. :)
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