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Published:June 7th, 2007 10:27 EST
Can You Make Friends On the Internet?'

Can You Make Friends On the Internet?'

By Carolee Kaufold

Can you make friends on the Internet?`

Gone are the days of meeting folks at little league, on the commuter train, and at the door asking for a cup of sugar. In the last few years real friendships have been made online. My son ThomE, met his wife online just because he was looking up different birth dates and she happened to have one on that date. Now with 2 year old twin boys, they have been married for 8 years.

I am disabled and found a way to meet friends without ever leaving my seat. I found a rare group of women that have so much in common, you would think we are related. In fact, some of us look like each other. I have had the honor of meeting a lot of them in person. Most have come to Florida and I live near Disney World, so they come on by.

I have been to other states and met more of these women. We all wondered if it would be safe to meet an "unknown" person, but we took a chance and our lives have been filled with support. We have been there for births, marriages, new jobs, death, illness, good times and sorrow. They are the breath I feel when I am worried. They are the warmth I feel when I cry, and the soft breeze when I laugh. I can feel their touch and the care in each e-mail, phone call or snail mail I get from them.

When ThomE was getting married in California, our family traveled from the East Coast, but we didn`t know anyone else from there. I was called to the lobby of our hotel because someone wanted to meet me. There standing with gifts in her hand was Laurie, she was representing my e-mail friends. We call ourselves The Girls Club, we number about 30 and are all different ages. Laurie offered to drive over an hour away from her home in LA traffic to give me Mother-of-the- Groom gifts. How about that? When my grandson Nathaniel died, they were there in a spirit filled way that could be felt by all my family. For new homes and new jobs, our Girls clubs cheered. For sadness and sorrow our Girls Club cried.

A few years ago, the Girls Club had a meeting in Atlanta, Ga. It was a hoot, they all brought home-made gifts and something from their home state. They even got tattoo`s! OK, the kind that wash off after their husband fainted when the gals returned home. They had a sleepover that kept the Hotel staff laughing all night. Five came to stay with me in Florida, and we never got to sleep... all we did was laugh and chew on ice chips. We shared our scars from life and illness, we showed our faith and hopes. These gals are amazing. Out of the five, three looked like me! How does that happen? It was all in God`s plan!

Lately, I have been meeting friends from far away... not just far away, but far far away. At first it was Ireland, Scotland, Guam, Japan and the Philippines, then my world opened up wide and I met a young man that lives in Nepal. Who would have ever guessed that a 63 year old grandmother would get to write, meet, talk and love so many new friends.

So what have I done for my new friends? I laughed with them when we had a wedding shower and a baby shower online. I cried when a parent died. I shook with fear I heard one my Girls Club friends new house burned to the ground. I celebrated new grandchildren, new homes, and getting a clean of health from the doctor after a long illness. I waited online with the others on 9/11. I reached out to friends that were in need and called friends that needed to be cheered up.

In the years as a travel agent, I got to see and meet a lot of people, but it was only for a plane ride, a cruise or a hotel stay. We would exchange information, but life happens and you lose track after a few Christmas cards. We know online pals, they are there on your Buddy list. They are a key stroke away; you can even have a picture of them in your computer files. You know their birthdays, their kids name, if they have a cat or dog. You know what they spouse or partner do. You know were they were born, what schools they attended and if they have a passport. Why? Because you have opened a new internet door that brings in friends you thought it was not possible to meet. How many of you know someone from Nepal? I have even found friends from childhood. One tracked me down just by searching Google for my name.

So the answer is yes, the best kind of friends.