I really do consider a lot of the people I met online to be friends, without needing an "online" or "IRL" prefix.
Same here. And all of my online friends whom I've met in real life have smoothly morphed into real life friends. There was no morphing required as far as character was concerned. Forming a visual image and adapting to some subtle European-American differences did require some learning, but this didn't matter in the big picture.
I do see a difference between online and IRL, though -- for example, Craven is currently making a website for the committee I'm on (thanks again!) and so he is dealing with people I know... IRL. It's WEIRD.
I know just what you mean. As I think I wrote you a couple of weeks ago, there turns out to to be a professional, real life connection between the wife of my closest co-worker and your husband. It's not an important connection at all, but nevertheless I was initially confused when I found out about it. My gut reaction was "Waidaminute
! Does this mean that this E.G. guy, like, kinda, exists
or something?" About a second later, my intellect kicked in, felt embarrassed and replied "You know he does. Don't be silly!" Is this compatible with the weirdness you've experienced?
Guess that could just be a different social circles thing, though.
Now that you mention it, I think you're right. I've been moving around a lot throughout Germany during my life, so I have several distinct circles of friends and friendly acquaintances. To test your idea, I just imagined coming to a party and discovering that some of my school friends have just bumped into some of my college friends. The thought feels weird in quite a similar way.