Moving Alone

A few months ago, I had trouble moving a couch.

I had just bought it earlier that afternoon and it was being delivered around 6 PM, so there I was waiting in my house by myself, thinking: “I need someone to help me move this couch.” For some reason, I couldn’t call anyone.

Even worse is that I knew some people were literally a block away. Alistair Croll lived a block from me then and I couldn’t bring myself to call him. This perplexed me more than anything– we are social web friends, we’ve had beer together, so why couldn’t I ask him to help me with my couch, even though it would have been no trouble?

I wonder if other people feel this way. If I know someone from the web, why are they on another level than a regular friend? Why aren’t they really in the circle until much later? Am I feeling them out, or do I not want to owe them– even for something so inane as walking down the block and moving a couch up a flight of stairs? I can’t figure it out.

But something will happen if we are on the web all the time and this is the only kind of friend we have. If we can’t call anyone in a time of need, not only will we be very lonely, but our backs will hurt from moving a bunch of heavy stuff.

There’s got to be a better way… right?





5 responses to “Moving Alone”

  1. Susan Villas Lewis Avatar

    Ha! One of the criterion I use in decided who gets to be a Facebook friend is whether that person would let me crash on their couch if I were in town. And some online friends definitely rise to that level. But some will always stay in the category of acquaintance not matter what. You’d have a beer with them, but a couch will never enter the equation of your relationship. That’s true of some people no matter how you know them. I’m not sure the online vs. “real” life connection has anything to do with it. (Other than making it more likely that your friends live on the other side of the world rather than the other side of the block.)

  2. reikob Avatar

    I think that most people feel the way you do. Why is that? If we are to transcend web and real life, we need to be not be afraid to take that step, (leap of faith?) and maybe put yourself out there, and not just live on the web.

    I would have come to help you move your couch..I already feel I owe you because of what you put out there everyday – here on this blog.

  3. CT Moore Avatar

    I think this is why online networks get so excited about events such as Podcamps and TweetUps: it forces them into a shared space, and lends the relationship a bit more legitimacy — kind of like breaking bread at a Geek Dinner.

    But even at that, I think what limits our online relationships is that they’re based only on shared interests. The relationship I have with family, friends I grew up with, and people in my neighbourhood is that we all share living space. And I think there might be something in that shared living experience that makes it easier to ask them for a cup of sugar or help moving a couch.

    ‘Cause if you think about it, even office colleagues aren’t ‘real friends‘. Yes, I share space with them 5 days a week, but even that shared space is based on a shared interest — getting paid. We don’t actually share living space. The difference, I think, between office colleagues and friends/family/neighbours, is the same difference between the village market and the village neighbourhoods.

    Or maybe I’m just blowing hot air [shrug]…

  4. Jeff Maystruck Avatar

    Using Seinfeld as a precedent, helping someone move is a large step in a relationship. You can be friends with someone for years and still not be on a “moving” level. I think we can use situations like these as a test to determine level of friendship.
    Personally I hope that most people would go out of their way to help a friend (even if it is just over the web). At least your friend down the street knows that you trust him enough to ask for help. More of us need to step out of just being digital friends and actually be real world friends. It’s in times of need that friends fulfill their greatest deed. (I may have just coined a phrase there)


  5. Tracy Lee Carroll Avatar

    I don’t know… I don’t seem to have that problem. I once helped an online friend (who I had never met in real life before) move two large dressers. They were so large, in fact, that they couldn’t fit in my beast of an SUV so a pulled a marathon phone calling spree to find another friend with a pickup truck that I could borrow at 8pm on a weeknight. Not only did I find one, but we managed to get both dressers moved. It was an evening I won’t forget soon…and yet, I haven’t seen this person again in person since that time. We are still Twitter friends though and if she needed help, I would offer in a second. I would also not hesitate to ask for help.

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