“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” Anais Nin

There’s nothing like having friends.

That feeling of closeness between kindred spirits is simply delightful.  That’s why most of us loved the TV series, “Friends.” It was popular because you could sense the underlying, REAL friendship between the characters on the program. Their spirit of having fun together was mesmerizing.  We couldn’t wait to watch another episode.

Millions tuned in regularly, because we really cared about Joey, Monica, Ross, Phoebe, Rachel and Chandler. We knew all about them.   It didn’t matter if the plot was fictional. The point was – the TV “Friends” were our virtual friends! (Of course, it was a one-sided relationship because the actors didn’t actually talk with us. We just listened to them.)

Now, with the world getting closer through the internet, we have many opportunities to become friends with people through our computer screen. We call them, “virtual friends.”

What does being a virtual friend mean?

Virtual friendship IS a real friendship. It’s friendship with those you’ve never met in person. Google says: “True virtual friends are never in the same physical presence of one another.”

But what happens when your friendship grows so strong that you want to meet in person? I have to admit. It gets even better! There is nothing like a real hug. Virtual friends can still become in-person friends, who you just get to see more often through a computer screen.

Two members of the Go Read community have been virtual friends of mine for a long time: @Roland Takaoka and @Burt Kempner. Both live on opposite sides of the country – California and Florida. Both are talented professionals. And both are people I care very much about.

At this point, I’ve been lucky enough to meet Roland and his wife twice. I hope to meet Burt and his wife at some point in the future. (Yes I do, Burt!)

A short story of my virtual friendship with Roland.

Our Meeting

Roland reached out to me after watching one of my live Google Hangout On Air programs. He liked my show, “The Difference Makers, and we found it easy to talk.

Using a live video format called a “Google chat” (or “Google hangout”), we could see and hear each other, so it was almost like being together in person. I don’t exactly remember when it happened, but Roland volunteered to work with me as a technical “wingman” for my online “Difference Makers” shows.

It’s almost impossible to interview a guest and keep track of the audience’s written comments simultaneously. With Roland helping me, I was able to have an interactive show that ran smoothly. I could have no better friend.

For almost every program, Roland was there. Preparing for thirty minutes before each program.  Making sure the sound and lighting was just perfect. Helping my guest feel comfortable. Monitoring comments from our live audience. Soon, my husband Joel got to meet Roland through the computer.  Then, we both met Roland’s wife Barbara, and we all quickly became friends.

Highlights of our virtual friendship …

  • A caring, giving relationship
  • Being trustworthy and kind
  • Willing to support each other

When The Opportunity Arose… Guess Who We Visited?

Joel and I wanted to take a quick getaway last year, and we decided to visit California. Can you guess who we saw?  Our virtual friends, Roland and Barbara!

What a joyful reunion! We knew each other so well. We couldn’t stop talking. And laughing. And giving each other hugs.

Here we are at The Mission Restaurant in San Diego.

Before we knew it, another year flew by

Over the past year, our virtual friendship has benefitted from that personal experience. We’ve collaborated in business and supported each other as friends.  When Joel and I considered a brief vacation getaway, we decided to see Roland and Barbara again.

On February 4th, 2017, Roland invited me to be a guest on his “Saturday Morning Marketing Smarties” show. For the first time, we were talking from the same room!

The program was focused on, “Virtual Friendships Turning Real.” Roland’s virtual friend, Bill Graham from Belize, volunteered to be the wingman, handling the audience comments. Roland was the host, I was the guest, and we had a wonderful time. How exciting it was to be sitting in chairs side by side.

Here we are before the broadcast…

What can virtual friendships mean for you?

Virtual friendships, like any friendship, must be based on trust. It’s important to have integrity. Keep your word when you make a promise. Stay in touch. Once trust is established, a virtual friendship will reap the same joyful rewards as you’d receive from any good friend.

Vaudeville performer Will Rogers is credited with saying, “A stranger is a friend I haven’t met yet.”  Isn’t that a positive way to look at people?

Let’s consider making strangers into new friends. All it takes is a smile. A kind word. A thoughtful action. We all share the same earth, air and water. We’re one humankind. If more people understood that oneness, our world could be a more peaceful place.

I invite you to discover the invisible bonds between us.

Together, we can gain new perspectives as we learn about each other, building relationships from our heart. A virtual friendship can start with the simple words,“What can I do to serve you?”

Let us savor the gift we give ourselves… the gift of friendship that can touch our souls forever!

Lynn Sanders extends a big “Thank You!” to @Ken Dunn for creating GoRead, the fastest-growing community of readers, writers and authors, and @Bill Bergfeld, for taking so much time to explain the technical details behind this marvelous site.

You can get connected with Lynn on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Feel free to subscribe to her free story marketing tips at: https://differencemakersmedia.com.