I was startled the first time a net friend suggested a f2f meeting. It seemed to deny the authenticity of what we had created, not to enhance it.

Really? Wow. I had the opposite experience of craving face to face meetings with people to whom I'd grown close online.
I've met a number of people through the net... and later F2F. Most of these involved fairly long email discussions prior to the F2F event -- varying from 8 to 10 months.

I suspect that the willingness of both parties to discuss topics beyond the original reason for corresponding is the major reason that I've never been disappointed on meeting F2F. There is a depth to the individual that I've grown to know. Seeing their hair and eye color... gestures... even their use of the English language for speaking, has little impact on this "deep" knowledge.

i drove accros the country to new england and back, going out of my way to look up and visit with many of these net friends. only once was i unable to reconcile my imiage with the real person.
How can you Jill, or for that matter, you - Steve, trust that the net-pals you risk meeting f2f are safe to meet? Well, that sentence says it all, doesn't it: *trust* *risk* *safe*.

I would like to meet some of you f2f

I don't assume that F2F meetings are safe either interpersonally or physically.

I know of an IRC friend (no airhead she) who's leaving for Brazil in a few weeks to stay with the family of a net friend. How's that for trust?

Long experience with email helps. Being male helps. Being prudent about where/how you meet ftf helps.

Life's a gamble; you pay yer money and take yer chances. Even when the ftf encounter wasn't as pleasant as I envisioned, it was still worth it. Every time.

sometimes, *eliminating* the f2f is what allows one to communicate more freely. because with it one also eliminates a whole lot of bagage, preconceptions. bagage one was not aware one had strapped to ones back.

of course we're all "asocial" in the big world out there -- otherwise why *would* we be spending so much time doing what we do here? Has it occurred to anybody that maybe much of the "world out there" is genuinely "asocial," and that the Net meets a legitimate social need in an increasingly asocial world?
We call the real world "real" to differentiate it from a new, cyber-world that's begun to run in parallel. I don't consider it odd that the physical world enjoys a more honored position. It has senority, and a long history behind it.
In F2F communication, we interpret the words but there's tons of other sensory information that we use in interpretation. If we graphed on a pie chart the percentages of the different types of information we use in intrepreting F2F communication, I doubt the actual words would account for more than about 25% of the message. The other 75% of the message would be composed of input derived from the other senses.
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