People you know only through email, chat, or other electronic medium, who you have no intention of ever relating to in any other way, are what I would describe as ‘virtual friends’. These are relationships that have very low lasting value, where the shared experience is perhaps a step up from pen pal. There are those who can maintain an interest in that type of ongoing relationship. Still others require some face/quality time to feel really connected. Yet everyone has their own definition of what they would call a ‘friend’. That disaparity in definitions may also be an explanation for the disparity in how different people approach religion/spirituality. I think it always helps to be looking forward to the next meeting with someone; the next chance to get together to share ourselves, an experience, a part of our lives for a time. The problems arise when people want more of that than a person can reasonably give. We shield ourselves by formalizing relationships.