What to do when an online friendship starts to progress too fast
June 14, 2009 1:16 PM Subscribe
RelationshipFilter - What to do when a long-standing online friendship starts to head into uncomfortable territory?
posted by Inner Universe to Human Relations (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I've been talking to a guy for over a year, perhaps closing in on the year and a half mark, and I get on very well with him.
We chatted informally on a forum before we wound up chatting off the boards, and discovered we had much in common. As such, we've remained on very good terms and talk at least twice/three times a week on messenger for hours at a time. He and I have very similar tastes in most matters, and have honest debates about serious matters as well as ranting about video games and the like.
We know each others names, ages, where the other lives (though we're in different countries), and I know what he looks like (he doesn't due to the fact I'm camera shy, which he accepts; his pics are also on the forum where we first 'met' and I posted none, reducing any further pressure). He's a lovely, intelligent and very supportive guy, whom I am proud to call my friend.
But I'm now starting to get a little worried. My friend has always shown signs of affection, even to the point of admitting a sense of 'dependency' on our communications, and in the past has expressed interest in visiting the UK to meet me. I agreed that it would be good to meet him someday, but thought nothing of it as he doesn't work, and didn't seem liable to either. This affection has apparently developed even further, and he's getting serious about visiting, to the point where he admits to have looked up ticket prices and the like, as well as looking at unemployement agencies in his area/actively looking for work. He also seems to have a very idealised image of me, which isn't good...
I think the world of him as a friend, but I'm now starting to feel uneasy. It perhaps doesn't sound like much from the above, but the wording of some of his comments over the last few months... I'd like to tell him to slow down, or to reconsider his thoughts, or something along those lines without losing him as a friend. I accept that this may not be possible, but in an ideal situation...
I'm honestly at a loss. Cutting all comms with him wouldn't be difficult, but as I've said I'd prefer not to go down that route, plus I think it'd be childish given the friendship we've built up. I can understand that it might not sound so bad from what I've said, but I don't want to post examples from our talks as I want to maintain his privacy (that and I've pointed out Mefi to him on a couple of occassions; would prefer he didn't find out about my discomfort through him recognising snatches of our previous conversations).
So... What do I do? Do I tell him outright that his desire to meet me is starting to make me uneasy? Or do I try another approach? Any advice welcomed.