Meeting Strangers On The Internet

I don’t know why I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Maybe it has something to do with my own (still-imaginary) podcast, and the fact that most of the writers I know are, in fact, internet friends. And–I’m well aware–some of them are practically local, and writing in practically the same genre.  And maybe it has something to do with the fact that the girl who was found dead the other day was last seen alive by her Tinder date.

There are people I’ve known on the internet who I’ve met in real life. I mean, I’m not Amish, or anything.

But, you do have to be careful. You know the whole meet in a public place and tell people where you’re going drill.

The longer I think about it, though, the more I think that the type of website where you meet them makes a difference. Think about it as the difference between the guy you’d meet in a sports bar vs the kind of guy you’d meet in an art gallery.

Or, you know… the kind of person you’d meet in a Normal People bar vs the kind of person you’d meet in an Axe Murderer’s bar.

Call me old-school, but in general, I tend to go on line to meet the kind of people I’d have trouble scrounging up locally. I have specialized interests, and I tend to frequent websites intended to discuss those interests. (or, at least, corners of larger websites where those things come up.) It’s hard to fake a specialized interest, and harder to maintain that pretense over time.

I might not have any idea which one of my internet friends is a hard-bodied investment banker, but by golly, I know which ones can wrangle an Oxford comma. I have a pretty good idea of which ones are actually writing novels and which ones are just talking about it. And I know which ones are actually dancers, and which ones… **ahem** aren’t.

Time’s a factor, too. Me? I bought a lifetime membership to my chosen writers’ forum years ago, so… the people I’ve met there? Some of them have been around for a really long time. (Adult long time, not teenage-girl long.) Consistency over time matters.

And everyone I’ve met has turned out to be a non-axe murdering human being.

Of course, I’ve also met them at organized events for the special interest in question… well-lit, public places. And I didn’t go there specifically to meet them.

I’m not sure how that translates into dating sites. The time factor is probably the biggest similarity. The longer you talk, the longer you have to decide whether what that axe-murderer says is consistent, or not. Is his dog’s name the same this week as it was last week? No?

I’m pretty sure most people would take it as an unwillingness to commit, if you told them you had a lifetime membership in Plenty of Fish, or Tinder.

And I’m not sure how the whole thing translates into identifying and trapping a podcast co-host. After all, being axe murdered on air might be just the ratings boost we’re all frantically searching for these days.


  1. Reply

    Met my BFF online… of course, it was on a specialized-interest site, and I’d moved from online conversation to phone conversation and had known her almost two years before I first flew to meet her… so yeah, no Tinder tips here. 😛

  2. Reply

    Meet my BF and 10-year roommate online thru special interest group. Knew for 3 years, interacted every day on the phone until we met the first time face to face. We got on good had lots in common and became roommates which lasted 10 years. So yeah, I think it is the places you go online, length of time, actions and communications, honesty and absolutely no evasive communications or questionable interactions and communications those should raise red flags.

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