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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 22nd day of Swimming, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 125 > Articles > Are Neofriends a Thing of the Past?

Are Neofriends a Thing of the Past?

by arden_starr

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 Neofriends.

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!

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