A general guideline Ive gone by over the years is not to consider anyone who Ive known for less than a year a friend, for I feel it takes about that time to get to know someone. It works pretty well, but that was before The Internet introduced the concept of online friends.
Someone gave me some sage advice when he said "If you and someone arent having an eye to eye experience, then you dont really know each other." I am paraphrasing, but he was absolutely right. If you dont know someone in real life, you dont really know them.
This past week I expected to see 2 people in Vegas. Ive known them both about the same length of time (over 10 years), but one Ive known from NYC and the other - Ive never actually met. Naturally, the only person I saw was my Real Life friend, which is the norm. Not so with the online folk. I remember getting into San Francisco, and all the online friends disappeared. I took it personally then, now - eh. In fact, I now try to discourage meeting the ONL people, having become less than enthusiastic about the experience. The RL people on the other hand - I am always happy to see.
I once had a woman who knew me through Flickr in San Francisco literally beg me to come to her birthday party, even though I had other plans. I finally went. I got there, and she was distracted by the guy she went home with. She did apologize as she took off, but I was not happy about wasting my time and breaking plans.
This is why Id rather deal with the people Ive known from Real Life. We've met. They are aware I am a Big Black Man, they arent nervous and dont flake and I dont have to deal with silliness. They also know my I may be sociable, but grumpy and anti-social in real life, and generally understand that theyre not doing me any favors forcing me to be social.
Not to say there arent those ONL folk who are gracious and hospitable, far from it. Ive met 'em and enjoyed the experience. But give me RL over ONL. ----------
Now, about Vegas.
People come to Vegas, and once they come they find there are other things theyd rather be doing than social calls. I totally understand. Go forth, have fun.
But please, dear god - dont waste my time. Dont make plans and then make excuses.
Its nothing personal. I just have other things Id rather be doing. My time IS precious, thank you.
Youve come to Vegas. Enjoy it. Just leave me out of it.
Im starting to think I should really be more direct about how I feel about all this.