Digital Relationships Verses Face to Face

September 28, 2012

Recently, I joined a local men’s accountability group. It has reminded me of the importance of connecting with others face to face, not just digitally.

photo by Chiot’s Run

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology, social media, and blogs and have found meaningful relationships this way. However, it takes relationships longer to develop if they’re only online.

Also, there is just something about literally sitting across from another person and seeing the life in their eyes. You can’t always get this with online relationships.

It has been really neat to for me to actually get to meet some of the people with whom I’ve previously only connected with online, like the time I went to NYC, Colorado, and Virginia. This has taken these friendships to a new level.

Question: What do your meaningful relationships look like? Are they online or in person?


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  • Reply Joe Lalonde September 28, 2012 at 6:25 am

    I’m with you Michael. Having that face to face relationship is important. Our digital relationships even change once we meet them face to face.


    • Reply Alana Mokma September 28, 2012 at 7:29 am

      YEAH JOE! It was so fun meeting you in person and hanging with you in August! I still want to do geo-cache with Josh, you and your wife but I’ve been waiting for the summer activities to settle down first. 

      • Reply Joe Lalonde September 28, 2012 at 8:21 am

        Yes, that was a blast Alana. So glad we had that opportunity.

        Anytime you and Josh want to go out geocaching, just let me know. Weekends work best but I’m sure we could find other days that work as well.

        • Reply Alana Mokma September 28, 2012 at 3:59 pm

          perfect. I will reconnect w/you soon. for real this time. 😉 

    • Reply Michael Good September 28, 2012 at 11:03 am

      Exactly, Joe. That’s been the case with my “digital” relationships. It’s great that you and Alana got to meet!

  • Reply Alana Mokma September 28, 2012 at 7:27 am

    I prefer face-to-face, but Skype has also been great (as opposed to just e-mails or phone calls). My closest relationships are the ones where I can go and grab coffee/dinner with a friend. 

    I’m hoping/planning to meet the Good family in person sometime in the near (next 12 months) future. 🙂 

    • Reply Michael Good September 28, 2012 at 11:05 am

      Alana, sounds like a great idea! If you’re ever in the Philadelphia area or nearby, let us know.
      Agrees on Skype. Video does wonders for getting to know someone.

  • Reply Michael Wright September 28, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I concur with Alana and Joe – face to face is the best.  I have a similar group of men that I always make a point of being with – keeps you visible, real and unable to hide in a sense.  My work environment has shifted to the point that I’ve got deep relationships with my team of eight people, yet I’ve only met one of them face to face due to geographical distance.  I think I know them in and out after two years of conversations and emails, but still, when I’ve seen a photo of them for the 1st time, it takes me aback a little, because I’ve built this mental picture of who the person is and just to see a photo can throw it off.

    • Reply Michael Good September 28, 2012 at 11:11 am

      Michael, that’s great to hear that you have the opportunity of a similar men’s group.
      Your comment reminds me of some of the people I started listening to on podcast only to letter see on video. You’re exactly right. You build up your own mental picture of the person that’s very limited.

  • Reply Justin Lukasavige September 28, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Thankfully, a bit of both, Michael. I love seeing my friends doing cool things around the world while I’m on twitter and facebook. I’d never see those experiences otherwise. Interacting that way allows me to build relationships and meet them in person, hopefully.

    I met a guy online just last week, and already I’ve been invited to stay with him and his family in Manhattan when I’m there 2 weeks from now.

    • Reply Michael Good September 28, 2012 at 5:59 pm

      Justin, I couldn’t agree with you more that social media lets you see cool things all around the world that you normally wouldn’t.

      Back in Manhattan? How about a trip down to Philly for an authentic Philly cheesecake? I’ll treat. 😉

      • Reply Justin Lukasavige September 28, 2012 at 6:02 pm

        Thanks for the invite, Michael. I’d really love to, but it’s a jam packed 2 days of meetings.

        • Reply Michael Good September 28, 2012 at 8:56 pm

          What days are you going to be there? Claudia and I might be there the same time. By the way, if you are ever are in eastern Pennsylvania, you always have a place to stay.

      • Reply Claudia Good September 30, 2012 at 8:20 pm

        I think you meant cheesesteak babe 😉

  • Reply Ann Musico September 28, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    I agree with Justin as I say a bit of both.  Even some of my friends, whom I’ve known for years but who live a distance away, stay in contact via social media or email.  It’s a great help, but I would have to say, to truly develop a deep, lasting, meaningful relationship nothing beats in person contact.

    • Reply Michael Good September 28, 2012 at 6:01 pm

      Well said, Ann. I have have some friends locally that I stay up to date with via facebook as well. But, no, it’s not the same as in person. 

  • Reply Chris Peek September 28, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    While I much prefer face-to-face, I believe social media has opened up a whole new means to building friendship through both contexts. For introverts, it makes it so much easier to make the initial connection online. Then when you meet in person, it’s like you’ve known each other for years. 

    I’ve developed a good friendship with you and Claudia through the online world, and we’ve been able to grow it by meeting in the real world. In the last couple of years, I’ve connected with an acquaintance from graduate school through Facebook. Because he ironically lives in my hometown of Knoxville, we’ve connected for lunch a couple of times when I’m in town. This wouldn’t have happened without social media. I can honestly boast that I have great friends all over the country!

    • Reply Michael Good September 28, 2012 at 10:38 pm

      Chris, that’s a great point about introverts. I guess online connections can work as a why of breaking the ice or at least to finding a common ground. 

      We loved meeting you and Karen! Looking forward to our hiking trip. Can we put something on the schedule?

      • Reply Chris Peek September 29, 2012 at 10:22 pm

        I want to put something on the calendar soon. I will email you in the next couple of weeks once I know dates of whether some of our family may or may not be coming to visit us!

        • Reply Michael Good September 29, 2012 at 11:00 pm

          OK, sounds good. Looking forward to it!

  • Reply Dan Black September 28, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Both are important but I believe face-to-face interaction has more impact and value. Their is something great when people gather in person to build each other up. Great thoughts.

    • Reply Michael Good September 29, 2012 at 10:59 pm

      Thanks, Dan. I agree that face to face probably has more impact. However, many of the people who have impacted me the most, I’ve never met. These being authors and speakers. How cool would it be to interact with them face to face!

  • Reply Rob Clinton October 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Relationships can happen both ways with me, but there’s nothing like meeting face to face!

    • Reply Michael Good October 3, 2012 at 10:29 pm

      Agreed, Rob. What I think is so neat is to meet a “digital” friend in person.

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