Forum

Do you meet online "buddies"? (not MS)

I know some of you here have - but I’m not just talking about other folks with MS.

If you do, how well do you feel you have to know them/have been corresponding, before agreeing to the meet-up?

I’ve recently become “chatty” with an Italian lady - a teacher from Milan.

Exchanged a few e-mails - not more than three or four.

She is very gushy with her compliments, which I feel slightly uncomfortable with - but then, I always did put myself down a bit, and feel suspicious of anyone who was “too keen” (remember the old Groucho Marx thing of: “Don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as a member”? I also have to bear in mind there is a culture difference, and we Brits are notoriously reserved. If you happen to be Italian, greater demonstrativeness may be the norm.

Anyway, you know by now what I’m going to say. She is coming to England as soon as Saturday - apparently to attend some English course in Kent - and is talking about journeying all the way to Bristol to meet me (not sure when, but presumably not long after Saturday).

This has thrown me into a complete spin.

We’re both straight, in case you’re wondering, so definitely not a date or anything (unless I’m bloody dense and have misread everything!)

Her professional credentials check out - or at least, there is somebody of that name, in that post, in Milan (doesn’t conclusively prove she is that person - but at least that they exist).

So, what do you reckon?

I’ve no particular reason to be suspicious, and obviously I’m not going to fall for any nonsense like: “My passport/bag/money was stolen - please can you lend me something to tide me over?” (I would advise: “Go to the consulate, or to the course organisers - they’ll sort you out.”)

I just feel a few e-mails aren’t really enough to agree to meet someone, and wonder why she wants to come so far out of her way to do it. Should I risk hurting her feelings, and telling her I just don’t feel ready, after so few e-mails (with the implication I might not trust her)?

On the other hand, I’m always moaning about being bored, and my horizons getting narrower. Should I treat this as a wonderful opportunity to meet a potential new friend? I’m sure it’s very nice to have a pal in Italy, and could work out just great if I ever felt like making a trip in the other direction.

I do have a habit of thinking of reasons to say no to everything - I don’t know if it’s the illness, or just me - and then bemoan that nothing interesting or unusual ever happens. This is something interesting and unusual, so should I just say: “Yeah, let’s do it! Let me know which day you can come, and I’ll book us somewhere for lunch!”?

Really stuck. I think if we’d been corresponding longer, I might feel a bit easier about it - but of course, fate doesn’t always work out that way. She’s in England when she is, and I don’t know if this will be the first chance of many, or if it’s a case of do it now, because it may not crop up again for years.

I’m just not a very “seize the day!” type of person - I wish I was. :frowning:

Tina

x

What have you got to lose?

Des

I know, you’re right - nothing! It’s just it’s making me anxious, and you know what anxiety’s like for MS!

I feel I’ve been put on-the-spot a bit, but I’m sure she’s not doing it deliberately. She’s probably thinking: “What a pity, to be in England, but NOT make the effort.”

Tina

Tina I wish I knew how to advise you, I too tend to overthink things. Will she be expecting more than a lunch after travelling so far, will she perhaps want to stay over and expect you to put her up and take her sightseeing? I’ve got a load of question that I’m sure you have asked yourself already, have you asked her anything re her expectations of your meeting? Lunch would be nice but how awkward would it be to say “bye nice meeting you” after a two hour lunch when her only train doesn’t leave for another four hours.

On the other hand I have a load of friends I met through a website. We have weekend meets, Christmas nights out and I’ve just spent a week in Turkey with 14 of them.

I don’t think you would be risking anything sinister by meeting with her, the worst thing to happen could be awkwardness and disappointment. It could be the start of a good friendship and open up new opportunities for you.

Jan x

Why not read your emails again and then decide.

Des

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Jan,

I agree it seems an awful long way to come for just a lunch, but I’m certainly not ready to accommodate a complete stranger in my home (I don’t do it with family, let alone someone I’m meeting for the first time).

She does know I’m ill, so it would be unreasonable if she thinks I’m going to accommodate and entertain her on an extended visit - she will have to be responsible for her own arrangements.

I did wonder if she even realises how far Bristol is from Kent, and that it’s completely the other side of the country! Will she still be so keen when she realises is not just a minor detour, and accommodation is not on offer?

Obviously things to be clarified on both sides, and maybe she’s just had a whim, but will be put off when she realises the practicalities.

Dunno…

I do moan that I’m never going to make any friends sitting here behind a computer, but it’s not so rare these days.

Tina

x

Hmmm. Could be an idea. I’m already sure there’s nothing sinister in them, but the only thing I would say is she seems a bit full-on, a bit fast - but this may be down to cultural differences, as I’ve mentioned. There’s nothing inappropriate in what she’s written; she’s not saying: “I love you!” or anything, but it’s a lot more gushy than English people typically are with new acquaintances.

Now I’m feeling bad, because I’m thinking: “You’re uncomfortable because she’s too warm? The poor woman was nice to you, and now you’re thinking it’s a danger sign?”

Tina

I know how you must feel Tina.

All I can do is tell you what I think I would do.

I would treat it as an exciting lunch when I would be meeting somebody different and talking about things that are all new to me. I would arrange to meet away from my home just for lunch and a long chat. Mind you Kent to Bristol is a long way just for lunch I suppose. She may be thinking of making it a day thing. Mmmmmm!!

I personally wouldn’t be comfortable inviting her to my home in case I didn’t like her. Mind you, you sound like you are a good judge of character and if you meet for lunch and suss her out you can always go from there. Or not if you don’t want to carry on the friendship. Difficult though.

Shazzie xx

Hehe,

Well I did forget to mention my house is a tip - haven’t been able to cope with housework OR decorating for yonks.

So maybe if I didn’t like her, fastest way to get rid of her would be to invite her back! Quite sure I’d never see her again - LoL!

But even if the place was immaculate, it’s just not in my nature to invite someone home whom I don’t know at all. Some people are wonderfully laid-back about that kind of thing; open house. I’m not one of them. I don’t think she is a murderess or a thief. At worst she might turn out to be a bit emotionally needy, which does not put me in any personal danger, but could be a bit stressful.

But I still think strangers to the home is a no-no, regardless.

She is working, and can afford to come to England in the first place, so presumably could afford a night or two in Bristol, IF that’s what she wants to do - otherwise I think it’s too far for a day trip - but who am I to say what she thinks is reasonable. I view everything from the perspective of someone who’s permanently tired. Maybe, for her, 6-8 hours round trip for a day out is not as unthinkable as it would be for someone with MS. I don’t even know if she would be driving or planning to take public transport. Both would be a bit of an ordeal. I would have some worries about a foreigner spending so long on the road. Sorry - that sounds really racist - I just mean it would be really tiring for her, and she won’t be used to driving on the left. I’d worry she’d have a momentary lapse and have an accident. I’d certainly feel dreadful if anything happened to her, because she’d wanted to make a 3-hour excursion to meet me!

Tina

x

HI Tina

I agree it’s unexpected for this lady to want to travel from Kent to Bristol, but maybe she’s not aware of the distance… there’s lots of for and against that has already been mentioned, and ultimately only you can decide.

Why not try to take control of the situation, so that if it happens it is on your terms? If it was me, I think I’d email back and say it would be nice to meet her, but ask if she realises the distance and has she thought about how she would get to Bristol. If you looked on National Rail Enquiries, you could get a rough idea of train times etc and could then say you would be willing to meet for lunch at such and such a time and place “which would mean you could get the … train back to Kent”. Obviously, if she planned to drive that would be slightly different, but what I’m really suggesting is that you offer to meet up on YOUR terms, clearly define what those are and make it clear that your terms are not negotiable. Of course you run the risk of her not being happy with that, but if you wanted to you could then explain that your health doesn’t allow you to do any more than what you’ve said.

I would say proceed - but proceed with caution. I wish you well with it whatever you decide.

Hazel

x

She is going to spend a lot of time and money travelling to see someone who she has had 3/4 e-mails from. Why?

If you do decide to meet her I would suggest you meet her somewhere midway between Bristol and London for lunch and see what her response is to that suggestion.

My gut feeling is that there’s something a bit fishy here.

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Tina,

While there could be something suspect here, because that’s always a chance with everything, there probably isn’t. I’ve had requests to meet up from people that I know online, and there was no ulterior motives behind them (not that I did meet up with them).

One was from a girl who was on my friendlist on this Japanese doll site that I used to play on, it’s shut down now or I still would. I’ll give a bit of background so you understand how minimal the connection between us was. You got a doll that you customised with hair, make up, accessories and clothes. This was my penultimate outfit on there, made up of a lot of my favourite items: http://i.imgur.com/ZnPEKoE.png I miss that site, my girl was pretty! :frowning:

You bought the items by earning ribbons, the site currency. You got these by uploading pictures of your own clothes, and from other people commenting on your stuff, and you commenting on their’s. If this person was your friend you got 5 ribbons instead of 2, so you’d basically add anyone and everyone to your friendlist!

Anyway…one of the girls that I’d swapped intelligent comments with (most of the comments were just things like, “cute! ^.^” because so many didn’t speak English) PMed me one day as she was coming to England. She was very apologetic (a v.typical Japanese trait!) about being so forward, but asked if I lived anywhere near London and would be interested in meeting up to go shopping, as she knew no-one in this country. It wasn’t something I was able to do, but I think I would have if I could.

The other was an American girl, a member on the forum that I work on, same kind of scenario, coming to England and not knowing anyone, so she asked me because she looked on me as an authority figure that she knew and trusted, I never chatted with her or anything. I actually didn’t like her at all, so I didn’t want to meet up with her. I made very nice excuses though, because I’m not a hag.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is, loose internet connections spawn meet up invites, and when they’re same gender ones there’s every chance that it’s totally legit. If it was a guy there’s always the risk of it being someone hopeful of a quick leg-over, isn’t there! I agree that this lady’s exuberance is likely to be her just being typically Italian, the flip side of that being your reticence is likely to be just you being typically English, lol.

I agree with Hazel about hammering out some logistics and then seeing if she’s still up for it, and if she is, go ahead and enjoy it :smiley:

Morning morning, years ago when I was more intrepid, not married, no kids, no known MS, I wouldn’t think twice about suggesting to a friend in a country, to meet up even if it was a distance-- And remember London to Bristol isn’t that far when you scale to US or something. Sorry not familiar with Italy, but different people might not think this is that far if they’ve already come to UK, it’s what 3 or so hours by train? Can’t remember exactly.

but of course now, I would be exactly the same, stressing about practicalities etc. have you talked lunch? Is she happy to lunch then leave, or has she suggested a longer stay. Are you actually able to meet mid way as someone suggested, or would that freak you out? And suggesting midway, your being helpful so she doesn’t travel too far-is there a possible mid point?

i don’t think she is being particularly weird, if she is genuinely coming over, she prob just thought “I could meet my new friend Tina”. Is she over for work etc?

but ultimately, if you just want an online relationship, maybe just be honest and say you don’t feel comfortable meeting her, and see if you want it to continue afterwards. Reality and online not always same thing??

But of course whatever you decide, you must keep us informed, because all your saddo forum friends are nosey xxxxx

Yes yes, indeed we are! <8D

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Hi Tina, Dawn here.

I connected by email with a fellow MSer several years ago. We were both having some similar family issues. We took our contacts away from these boards and swapped details.

After much email and phone contact I went to meet her for lunch near her home when we were on holiday nearby. It was really good, and as a result she’s been to our home to stay a couple of times, lots of fun!

In our case it has been enjoyable, we are still in touch, reminds me we should try to meet again soon!

I know what you mean re wariness, it isn’t what you would usually do. Me neither, but we both took the plunge and it worked out well.

Have you thought about talking on the phone or similar?

I agree with most of the comments. What do you have to lose? The same basic security applies to all internet relationships really. Meet in a public place, on your terms and if you find you don’t really have that much in common, you can walk away without having lost anything.

I have met up with people through online requests. Sometimes successfully and sometimes I walk away thinking ‘I’m never going to meet them again’. The thing is you don’t know if you don’t try. I think I’m getting more adventurous as I get older, it beats staring at the same four walls.

I shall wait with baited breath … I’m nosey too!

Tracey x

I once met a woman I only knew online in London, she’d be coming back to the UK after travelling and lived in Wales - she wasn’t going to be able to arrange anything, so I booked and we shared a twin room in a hotel.

I assured my husband that I’d get the train home if I thought she was a nutter The poor woman got her card cloned somewhere along the line bu there were no dramas.

Since then, I’ve stayed at her house and she’s stayed at ours. We met via a band’s fan-club and we still meet up at gigs, usually with a bunch of other people and we’ve even met up in groups when there’s no gig,

It might be just fine and you might be friends for years. Just make sure someone you trust has tabs on things.

Sonia x

It’s been interesting reading all the comments. At least nobody has reported meeting up with a complete psycho.

I’m an absolute master at procrastinating - especially about anything I feel anxious about (which is most things, lately). So I still haven’t done anything about it. I was hoping to write to her first thing this morning - pointing out what a long way it is, and at least half-hoping she’d have second thoughts.

If I don’t send a response before she sets off, then it will be obvious by default it’s not happening, but I appreciate that’s not a very kind or polite way of doing things, and I do owe her some kind of reaction, even if it’s that I’m very sorry, but I don’t think my health is up to it at the moment.

Not entirely untrue, as I seem to have a sore throat and ear infection at the moment, and don’t feel quite myself. If I arrange to meet anyone, I feel as is it should be the doctor, ahead of an unknown Italian woman. I think perhaps that’s partly why I’m finding everything so intimidating. I don’t feel very well in myself.

If she’s over here for a couple of weeks, perhaps she could come towards the end of her stay, and then I’d have time to get some antibiotics, or whatever it is I need to fix whatever it is I’ve got. :frowning:

I think she’s probably genuine, and the only real risk is of getting myself too stressed and worked up about it.

Tina

x

Well there is more than one potential reason for that, Tina! :slight_smile:

Seriously though, I think you should stop wasting sweet life with over-thinking and just arrange to meet your friend.

Alison

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LoL! Never thought of that, Alison - the ones who met psychos can’t post because they’re chopped up in a suitcase somewhere. :o

T.

x

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