Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

When you need a RL friend

(131 Posts)

Not sure if this is the right place to post this.

Inspired by another thread where a very lovely sounding MN is going through a break up. One of the things that was really against her finding the strength she needed, was a lack of RL support.

If you have no local family and you and a partner have become 'self sufficient' - "we have each other and therefore don't need friends" it can be extra hard to follow through when you break up. You have lost your partner, your best friend but also your ONLY friend.

I can see that you would feel awkward getting in touch with old friends in your 'hour of need' if you haven't spoken to them for a while, and sometimes talking to a professional isn't enough - you need wine/coffee/tears and hugs.

I know that the Mumsnet Local boards can sometimes feel a bit quichey (mine does - I am sure they are all lovely but it does feel like an 'established group'). Also they feel like they are places for 'fun' and not tears. And if you are going through a breakup it can be hard to bring yourself to 'join a gym' 'start a course' and even then friendships take a while to establish.

The thread I referred to earlier has (again) shown the wonder of Mumsnet with a few people local to OP getting in touch to arrange coffees and stuff. I am sure this will be a great support to her. Time and time again, I have read posts where people just don't have anyone in RL to talk to and I was wondering whether something can be done?

I know if ANYONE local to me was having a hard time and wanted someone in RL to chat to, (whether going through relationship trauma or not) I'd be glad to meet for a coffee and I know I'm not alone.

I know that historically, people on the specific thread might be the ones to offer to meet the OP if they are local, but I think it unlikely that someone would start a thread just to say "everything has gone to shit and I just want someone in RL to talk to, any volunteers in Camrbidge?"

But often that is exactly what it comes down to.

Does anyone think it would be a good idea to try to establish some kind of place for people who are lacking RL support to reach out to other MNers for RL friendship/support or is this something that should naturally evolve and be offered if felt appropriate on a thread?

I'm honestly not sure, but I am heartbroken by hpw many people are feeling lonely and alone. sad

Plus, anyone who did meet up could let other MNers know.

Derpy Mon 12-Mar-12 21:54:08

I think too there would need to be some understanding about not divulging the MN usernames of people you met. I don't know if that would be possible though; I'm not confident people would understand the importance of it.

BeerTricksPott3r Mon 12-Mar-12 22:04:19

That's a risk for any off-board contact, Derpy.

A Local nn would be a good idea.

Although, I don't want to sound all doom and gloom and I will bugger off this thread after this post, but everyone needs to be so very careful with meeting others from social networking sites.

For this reason I don't think MNHQ would formalise the idea along the lines suggested.

I do sympathise with feelings of isolation and needing a friendly ear, though.

<gets coat>

whyme2 Mon 12-Mar-12 22:04:45

I think it is a really good idea. It is hard reading threads where people have no one in RL to turn too. Feel like that myself sometimes too.

I am stuck for ideas as to how it would work though. sorry blush

Derpy Mon 12-Mar-12 22:13:00

I think the idea fits well with developing MN Local. If people are going to use their local bit, they are going to be meeting other MN users. So there will need to be some kind of safeguarding going on. From my point of view, if I were to use MN Local, I would never divulge my non-local posting name; and I would stick to that ferociously to protect my dc. But as I say, I'm not sure others would grasp the importance of it.

I don't know if the OP's desire to help others falls into the category of being vulnerable to trolls. sad

BeerTricksPott3r Mon 12-Mar-12 22:17:04

Every time you step out the boundaries of the message box you are making yourself vulnerable to trolls, unfortunately sad

How about Local Drop-In sessions?

Meets at regular times in a pre-arranged place. Needn't be somewhere you have to pay for hire, just booked table in a large cafe or something?

Theresa I must be older. I was working - Donating a day's pay to the miners incurred such wrath from my H that he soon became my ExH!

BeerTricks a local drop in might work - but i suppose that would assume that there were people who were going to 'drop in' week in week out - otherwise MNer in need might 'drop in' to an empty room sad

I just don't know. I can see the reasons why MNers and MNHQ would be wary, and my MN anonymity is something I value and protect. But maybe the Local Name idea would encourage people? And to be honest, you would only be revealing yourself to the one person you had arranged to meet. I'd like to think that this is something that could become an extension of MN via the local boards perhaps - or even just a running "RL Friends Wanted/Offered" thread that people could come to if they felt alone and in need.

Maybe I should try posting the idea in chat or something with really high traffic to see what people think?

Again last night, I was reading threads where people just don't have anyone. To me and I find it shocking. But then, if I moved to a new area, didn't have any children (or children went to a school where socialising with mums wasn't really an option) it could easily be me in that boat.

I hate the thought of someone having nobody to give them a hug or share a coffee with. It's not right

Derpy Tue 13-Mar-12 14:33:36

TBH, though, it is probably more of a Netmums thing, isn't it?

Derpy, wash your mouth out! grin

Derpy - whilst I agree that the Hunz are more likely to 'do meetups', I would far rather have a MNer in my hour of need - if you are on MN it's because you are MNer at heart, innit? And would therefore probably appreciate a more kindred spirit.

But I take your point.

It's probably not workable as an actual 'thing' - too much against the masonic ID secrecy that goes hand in hand with MN, but maybe the running 'Friends Wanted/Offered' thread is the way to go?

sassy34264 Tue 13-Mar-12 14:55:01

i think its a great idea. im not young or old - stomping all over middle age i think!

what about just having a thread that people can put their nickname on and then a vague idea of where they are? for example

sassy34264- lancashire

and then people can just pm those close to them and make arrangements accordingly.

or is that a stupid idea?

<awaits lots of unforseen reasons why that wouldnt work>

Derpy Tue 13-Mar-12 15:24:02

I should think doing it by PM would be safer. And for that one thread, you could use a different username, so people wouldn't be able to track you to your area by your usual name.

ParsleyTheLioness Tue 13-Mar-12 15:41:38

The basic idea sounds good. I don't have a problem with location as its on my profile anyhoo...
So, signing, up. PM me if you live around Stoke-on-Trent ish, and like to have coffee and cake.

sassy34264 Tue 13-Mar-12 16:24:45

i would have thought it would be good to be able to look up someone by their username under search and make sure they are genuine/ have a nosey at their viewpoints, see if you'd get on. etc.

im the same, it says im from lancs under my profile so im ok with it too. i guess if you're not ok you could choose to change your username.

sassy34264 Tue 13-Mar-12 16:24:48

i would have thought it would be good to be able to look up someone by their username under search and make sure they are genuine/ have a nosey at their viewpoints, see if you'd get on. etc.

im the same, it says im from lancs under my profile so im ok with it too. i guess if you're not ok you could choose to change your username.

nameuschangeus Tue 13-Mar-12 16:27:02

What an excellent idea. The thought that someone could be struggling needlessly is awful. Count me in.

springaroundthecorner Tue 13-Mar-12 17:33:48

Hi, just wanted to add that I think this is a really good idea. There have been some threads in the last few months where practical help would have been wonderful for the OP but no one on the threads were anywhere near by at all.

I am lucky that have lots of good RL friends and neighbours at the moment but this situation does fluctuate in everyones lives, through moving house, illness, or even just being too busy to make much of an effort.

I have a RL friend who is someone I met on line about 5 years ago. She is 10 years younger than me, lives a 3 hour drive away and has a completely different lifestyle but we have several interests in common and that's how we came to arrange to meet up and we have done that about every 6 months or so ever since pursuing our hobbies together. We met in a city centre at a cafe and it didnt at any point feel an unsafe thing to do. We were talking about this the other day and she was saying that she now has two RL friends who she has met through another friend who met them on line!! What I am working up to saying is dont be too afraid of how unsafe it might be. It can be great!

BibiBlocksberg Tue 13-Mar-12 21:54:55

...well, that serves me right for finishing the thread title with.....there's no one there...tough cheese.

Now I've clicked on it and seen what its really about I think its a really great idea!

Many is the time that I've thought that I'd love to offer someone from here some support and friendship even if that 'only' means a coffee (and big slice of cake)

Could do with widening my own circle of friends and acquaintences too, count me in.

issimma Tue 13-Mar-12 21:58:52

I'm in too grin.

I was wondering, could we have a list, like the one on locals...but that might be open to abuse.

if you had a 'local' namechange, how could the OP know you're safe?

Could someone at MNHQ help out? eg.

OP: I've got no-one in rl.
Mnetter: (gives great advice, then...) Try asking MN Connect (Link: coffee,cake and a friendly ear.)

CCcafe?

OP sends request. Then local, signed-up vetted mnetters are pm'd, they can choose to reply or not.

I know it needs fine-tuning - I'm already thinking of worst-case scenarios <shudder> and its probably a not very lucrative path for MN in terms of advertising, but it could work.

The only other alternative is pm-ing someone you want to help and asking where they live. If you're near, you go for coffee and cake, if you're not, maybe you pm other mnetters you might know near her...or have a friend who knows a good group, organisation, whatever.

Facebook isn't always the work of the devil or is it?

BibiBlocksberg Tue 13-Mar-12 22:42:19

"The only other alternative is pm-ing someone you want to help and asking where they live"

I've thought of that before but I feel like I come across as some sort of pushy stalker smile

Not very helpful I know, will try to think of something constructive to add.

Oh I Know Bibi, me too. Are we being very British or something here?

HoudiniHissy Tue 13-Mar-12 23:01:41

Gorgeous thread. I'm in too!

BibiBlocksberg Tue 13-Mar-12 23:11:46

grin tall (damn predictive thing won't let me spell your whole user name)

I was thinking that exact same thing as soon as I'd voiced the thought.

Then I congratulated myself on my infiltration into British society (german originally) smile

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now