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Real friends vs. virtual friends

A few weeks ago, I had some trouble with my real life friends-- they were organizing an impromptu run to the movies, but I had committed to a Gruul's raid, and had to decline, to their consternation. And yesterday, the exact opposite happened-- I went on a raid with my guild for the first time in a few weeks (because different real life issues had kept me from raiding for a while), and they gave me a little ribbing about being so behind.

It just doesn't seem fair. I'm getting trouble from both my real life and my internet friends for choosing to hang out with one over the other. Of course, both groups aren't really angry at me for doing what I choose to do-- my guild isn't really bothered by my absence of late (although I don't exactly get first choice at loot rolling any more, understandably), and my real-life friends can't blame me for staying in sometimes and playing videogames (although they worry about me if I do it more often than not).

As ippy says, there are really two camps on this-- either you think that real life is always more important than virtual interaction, or that both are equally worthwhile. In the past, I've been closer to the first option-- that I should always go hang out with people in real life rather than stay at home playing WoW or Bioshock (which I will be tomorrow, no matter what my friends are doing). But lately, as my relationships in WoW grow stronger, I'm feeling more of a pull to give that priority sometimes, at least when it doesn't affect my other relationships.

Is that bad? This seems like a topic for our Azeroth Interrupted column (featured today, by the way, on the front page of the BBC's tech site-- cheers, Robin!), but I'd like to hear what you all think as well. Does real life get priority always, or is it more nuanced than that?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Odds and ends, Raiding

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