His text simply read:
My father passed today. I'm all cried out and too choked up to talk. Just informing you so in case we don't talk , I don't respond to emails & texts you know why.
I received that text two days ago from a friend of mine. A friend I've known for years. A friend I've never seen in person. A friend I met on Myspace.
Over the weekend, I got into a conversation about making "real" friends on Myspace and Facebook and contrary to my friend (a different friend, who in a roundabout way, I actually met him through Myspace), I had lots of stories of starting true friendships online and believed that it was possible.
In the case of my friend who just lost his father, we met on Myspace maybe about four or five years ago. We both had a love of reading and writing. And he thought I was cute. But far from being a Myspace stalker looking to hook up with cute, witty writer chicks, he proved himself to be a man of depth who was interested in knowing me personally. He shared his stories with me, read my work, called me when I posted the most sad and depressing picture of myself anyone had ever seen following the passing of my father, transferred $100 to my PayPal account when my cell got turned off during my
unemployment sabbatical of 2007-2008, asked about my mother's health and recovery last year and regularly texts and calls to this very day just to say "Hey." I don't know what formally constitutes a friend, but those few things I listed are above and beyond some of the things people in my same city, same circle have done.
Or, I can take it back to circa 2004 when I met a group of young ladies online who were just as enamored with John Legend as I was. What became John's first unofficial fan club blossomed into half a dozen new friendships for me. We weren't sitting around on John's cyber jock all day; we exchanged gifts at Christmas, we prayed for each other and our families, we met for dinner, we talked on the phone, we joined together in business ventures (pour out a little liquor for Brown Gurl Magazine) and we still are in each other's lives to this very day. Facebook has made it even easier for us to stay connected, but without the connection of social media we'd still be connected because we are friends first (I like to say my "real" friends have my phone number and/or my e-mail address...bonus points if you know where I live and have been to my house).
I have a group of Godsend sistahfriends and extended family thanks to Myspace (shout out to all my J.U.S.T sistahs!). How that came about is a post all its own.
If we could go back to the days of really looking to connect with people and not trying to push our personal brands, agendas, parties and events, I think there would be a lot more stories of people making true friendships. For me, I guess I talk to strangers pretty easily. I am open, but I am also discerning. I can usually tell who gets access to the friend zone, who needs to stay strictly social.
To my friend, my prayers are with you and your family. Thank you for allowing me into your circle of trust. See, talking to cute girls online doesn't always get you into trouble :-)