I belong to an internet message board for sports. Through that board, I have made a number of friends and have even met some of them for sporting events. Others I call friends even though we will never meet. The number of people who post on this board is rather large, and yet the board has a warm family atmosphere.
Among those whom I call friends from the board, there are probably about 8-10 that I consider "good friends." These 8-10 people are those whom I always try to be supportive of when they have a problem or need someone to talk to. Likewise, I had thought that I could count on the group as being there for me if I need someone too. My internet friends are another group of people that I care about just like my friends here at home. The only difference is that they are my long distance friends.
Friendship is not something I take very lightly. It is more than just an acquaintanceship and more than just turning the friendship faucet on and off. In the past, it has usually been me who was there for others, but recently, I needed some emotional support and sought it from my group of close friends.
Lately, there has been a lot of stress in my life culminating two weeks ago with the funerals of two people I knew occurring in the same week. What surprised me was that the very internet friends in whom I had invested the most energy and support in the past were not nearly as supportive as I expected them to be. I got plenty of support from other friends and acquaintances, but not from the three people I thought I was closest to. It was so disappointing and it hurt me deeply.
Since then, at least one of those friends has had some problems and I reached out again to them. I truly was worried about the situation and let them know how much I cared. They seemed to appreciate me when they needed someone to talk to. However, when I recently asked that friend as to how things were going, they first ignored me and then blew me off. I was completely dumbfounded. I do not understand how someone can turn friendship on and off like a faucet with no apparent rhyme or reason for the friend left standing in the cold.
I really care for people. It is a basic part of my generation. However, nowadays I am learning that most people really do not give a damn about others. The internet has created a safe haven that gives them a degree of anonimity. This anonimity allows them to be rude and callous, by turning the faucet of friendship on and off to suit their own needs while ignoring those of the person who thought they were a friend. They don't even seem to realize that they are hurting others in this way.
Friendship is a two way street. When it is only one way, the giver gets emotionally depleted and the relationship dies. Right now I feel very emotionally depleted. It hurts so deeply!