How to Maintain Neofriendships
...because neofriends are people, not collectibles
Also by earthlingdreamz
We've all known people who have done this, and we may be guilty of doing it ourselves. Regardless of who requested who or how the acquaintance came about, we find ourselves in situations where we haven't heard from our neofriends in ages. Sometimes this ends up in a few less people on our neofriend list. I'll be the first to admit that I am guilty as charged of just deleting people I have lost contact with. A recent conversation with my good friend Kay has inspired me to think of other alternatives to the problem. Here, we discuss ideas on how to maintain a good relationship with your neofriends over a long period of time.
Ask for their Birthday and Remember It
When you first make a neofriend, certain basic conversational topics are discussed. Your birthdays are usually one of these. Mark it down somewhere – say the diary feature (http://www.neopets.com/diary.phtml) provided by the site. Be sure to send them a gift as a gesture that you care enough to remember. For gift ideas, most people either maintain an active wishlist on a petpage, or you can check their gallery to see what sort of collectibles interest them.
Drop Them a Neomail from Time to Time
So you haven't heard a peep from them for months? Take the lead and be the one to break the ice! Take a moment to catch up on your respective lives. Just say "we haven't spoken in a while and I was wondering how things were going?" If they do not reply, at least you'll know you tried to salvage the friendship! Alternatively, if your distant neofriend's inbox is full, feel free to send them a pile of dung - it's a time honored tradition which alerts the user that his/her inbox is full.
Take Advantage of Site Events
Maybe you’re afraid to bother them for no good reason. Keep your eye out for site events in the news or on the calendar that you can start a conversation around. For example, ask what team they’re joining for the Altador Cup or how they’re doing on Daily Dare. Perhaps you’ve never even been into these things. Well then, this is an excellent way to branch out and explore all that the site has to offer as a bonus!
Send Them a Reminder
Be helpful! For example, remind them to do a quest on Illusen or Jhudora Day for the avatar, when (if) Punchbag Sid comes out to fight, when Turmaculus is awake or when the Snowager is asleep. If they have a dream pet that is limited edition, they’d really appreciate knowing when they can be created so they don’t miss their chance.
Speaking of the avatars mentioned above, I’m reminded of another thing that my neofriends and I love to do together. Sometimes there’s no better way to have a robust conversation than by uniting in a mutual dislike of something. It is human nature to complain occasionally and I’d be hard pressed to find one person who is completely satisfied with everything. Though nobody likes a perpetual downer, this can be one way to keep a conversation going.
Join a Guild Together
One assumes you became friends in the first place out of some common interest. Be it gaming, avatar collecting, battling – there are plenty of great guilds out there to join. This way, there will be other people to chat with and topics to chat about instead of feeling like you're trying too hard to carry the conversation forward yourself. Furthermore, guilds usually offer fun activities to share in when talk becomes tiresome!
Find Each Other on the Neoboards
Based on your shared interests, you might want to ask your friend if they ever frequent any of the neoboards. If so, whenever you start a topic, be sure to send them a link. Chances are you could use both the company and some bumping help. In my personal experience, linking people to Avatar Simon games has worked well as an excuse to keep in contact. You could even consider creating a chat group. On the other hand, you should also be sure to chat on their boards as well!
Challenge Each Other for Fun
Nothing like some healthy competition for motivation! For example, challenge someone to a race to feed 75 kadoaties first. Perhaps the Battledome is more your thing – a race to train to the next strength boost or who can win the most battles against a certain challenger! For gamers, the site already provides a feature whereby you can challenge a friend (http://www.neopets.com/challenges/challenge_list.phtml). Be it avatar collecting, restocking or whatever else, if you’re a good sport, a competition can be a fun way to bring people together and help improve your own skills.
Collaborate on a Project
So you’re not much of a fighter? Consider working together instead! One interesting idea that others have done is to organize a tournament – for example battling or gaming – on the neoboards. This brings together many people from different guilds and those who are guildless. Such a large undertaking would surely be easier if you had someone to help advertise, recruit, and administer. Another idea that we have personally taken to hand is collaboration on a number of Neopian Times articles. This way, you can learn to appreciate each other's creativity and talents while trying for some shiny avatars and trophies!
Help Each Other in ANY Way Possible
...that still abides by the Neopets Terms & Conditions, of course! Whether it be helping a friend find a great new pet name or alerting them that a cheap Sword of Skardsen is in auctions, every little bit helps. Also, it never hurts to ask your neofriend about their personal goals.
Looking back on this article, I am amazed at how virtually all of these suggestions came from actual experience and have indeed helped me to stay in contact with my friends. Thus, we hope the suggestions made here will also help you to maintain a good relationship with your neofriends. Let's not become one of those people who will only add neofriends to boost their neofriend count. Neofriends are people to talk to and have fun with, not objects to be added to a collection. Let's cherish our friends because while items and neopoints can be taken away, friends will always be there.
*This article was co-authored by cyniska and earthlingdreamz.