Are Neofriends a Thing of the Past?
PET CENTRAL - We’ve all seen it. You spot a potential friend somewhere on Neopets:
they have the same interests as you, a cool lookup, a friendly personality and
a happy go lucky attitude. You click excitedly on the bar, “Make Neofriend” only
to receive the message that strikes shock and disappointment into the heart of
every excited Neopian:
“ERROR : That person has blocked incoming Neofriend requests.”
Noooo! When I was a new player on Neopets, the first time I attempted (and
failed!) to make my first Neofriend, it angered me that some people would not
want to make friends. I thought of them as antisocial (after all, who wouldn’t
want to be my Neofriend? On second thought, don’t answer that) because they
didn’t want to accept requests. A few months on, I’ve realised that the majority
aren’t antisocial at all. In fact, I’ve come to understand why they block potential
Sometimes when I log on, I have up to ten Neofriend requests, the majority
I’ve never spoken to before in my life. Hardly any of them accompany the request
with a friendly Neomail, and most are totally out of the blue. Not only is this
annoying, but it is slightly strange too. After all, how many people in real
life would become friends with someone without ever communicating with them?
Without even saying one word to them? Exactly.
This got me wondering, because although I don’t always accept requests,
I still value and appreciate the Neofriend option. I have a lot of them; my
complaint however, is that more than two thirds never Neomail me at all, and
very few stay in regular contact. Is this the same for everyone?
Neofriends have been a regular part of Neopets for a long time, and were at
first considered one of the most important parts of the site. Since then though,
have codestones, Battledome items, books and shops squashed the friend option
out of significance? I decided it was time to find out, and Neomailed twenty
of my Neofriends, twelve of which replied with opinions/comments/blatant insults,
and the results surprised me.
The first question asked: Do you get too many Neofriend requests? Out of the
twelve, ten agreed that they did. “I do believe I get too many Neofriend requests,”
agreed loomoo12. “In a way though, I am pleased people want to be my friend.”
The majority of people find it annoying that people appear out of nowhere, without
a clue who you are, and take up your time with annoying pleas for friendship.
But do you accept or reject them?
“Neofriends can be both a blessing and a burden. I for one am a very friendly
person, and it’s so hard for me to turn down that little request that pops up
at the top of the screen ever so often. My Neofriend list has been increasing
in size every single day.” Squinkygyrl is one of the first to admit she rejects
people now and then, and she’s not the only one.
To accept or reject? That is the question. And what factors affect that decision?
The first thing that most people check is the lookup, to see what this person
has in common with them. For instance, a book lover is more likely to make friends
with another book lover than a sports fan. Another factor is communication;
on the whole, the people I Neomailed were twice as likely to accept someone
who had Neomailed them beforehand, than someone who just befriends them out
of the blue.
So, we’ve covered the actual befriending, but what happens afterwards, when
the request is accepted? Do people stay in touch? Not bloomin’ likely! From
the people I talked to, the majority of people’s Neofriends never talk to them
at all. They Neomail a couple of times in the beginning, before forgetting
about them completely. It’s too late to try and carry on the friendship; their
minds are already wandering over the newest Plushie, or the latest game. They’re
fickle Neopians, ones that flit from one friend to the next, and rarely become
a true pal.
“Most in my monstrous list have never even talked to me. They merely request
me, then forget me.” Squinkygyrl continues sadly. And she’s not the only one.
“In my opinion, Neofriends are more valuable than all the Neopoints in Neopia!
The thing that irritates me though is that some of them hardly stay in contact
with me,” Sugarplumpuppy says.
The ones that you do stay in contact with, however, seem to be extremely precious
to you indeed. In fact, a lot of you agree you’d do anything for a Neofriend.
They seem to be the ones that help you on quests, lend you an ear when you’re
in need and offer friendly tips, as well as gossiping about the latest game!
In my experience, you can always expect to hear honesty from a true Neofriend
and don’t give false praise or criticism.
“Neofriends mean so much to me,” Pal49 smiles. “They are the people I can
go to for help and suggestions, and I can also rely on them for a good laugh!”
It’s true that everyone seemed to have compliments and pleasant words about
their friends (apart from the ones that were annoyed with me pestering them
-- but they’re just sensitive, and they’ll cool down. I hope).
Timnf was particularly praising of his friends (it flattered me to know I’m
one of them). “Neofriends are great, because they can be the person down the
street, or they can be the person in Bangladesh you may not know, but you will
always know that they stick by your side, no matter what.” All together now,
aaaaaaw! Makes you feel all warm and gooey inside, doesn’t it! It certainly
returned my faith in my pals. Are all this pleasant? Another point I noticed
was that a lot of people talked about materialistic things when discussing Neofriends.
Gifts are often traded, but do they make the friendship? It’s true that 30%
of the replies I received contained discussion of items.
“My Neofriends are very helpful, one of them even gave me a Christmas Harris!”
giggles Windowsill_deluxe, recalling his past.
“You can’t buy real friends though,” Liselottewocky argues, and I agree. It
doesn’t matter how much you spend on them, they’ll only think of you as a place
to gain free items. However, it certainly doesn’t mean you should refuse them
-- that could potentially offend the Neofriend! No, just don’t ask and be grateful
when receiving, that’s what I think anyway.
There’s a very fine line between a friend in need and a beggar, but I think
istillcantthinkanyth explains it perfectly. “If you can meet enough people,
you will usually be left with a mate for life! And if the person is rich, you
may find yourself lucky with a few little gifts…” Thanks very much to all the
people that replied to my annoying Neomails-- hey, at least you can get your
name in The Neopian Times! Seriously, thank you to my TRUE Neofriends that replied
-- that is istillcantthinkanyth, squinkygyrl, thraxar, happypet400, pal49, neo_now_forever,
loomoo12, windowsill_deluxe, galadriel_alia, Liselottewocky, Sugarplumpuppy
and last but not least Timnf. You’re the greatest guys!