Well then let me change the question, is internet frienship much different from real life friendship if you never seen someone in person? How can someone truly call someone else a true friend when they never seen them in person? At least in person you can observe someone in its natural habitat but on the internet you cant. You just see what they allow you to see and thats it.
Have done an actual relationship (which led to a face to face one) over the internet - which was not originally planned, but developed over time. Also, I have many true, several-years-long friends that I've made through the internet; some, I've met face to face, and others, not yet. Some friends I originally made face to face have become better friends even though we now only talk over the internet. Funny how that works sometimes.
In response to the quote above, I've been fortunate that the online friends I've made aren't different in person. The only thing that factors in are their friends/family, who I usually already know about and have been explained to me in detail. I don't hold back with myself if someone is potential to be a real friend, and I've gotten the same in return, so that's why I personally don't feel that someone physically being there is necessary in order to legitimize a friendship. But that depends on whether the person on the other end is a liar or not. I don't believe in lying about myself online, even though a lot of people do and it's expected. However, I don't use my real name in places where I know it won't matter. Nobody in this forum (or forums in general) cares about knowing me or about being a real friend to me, so that's why a handle is fine - because, by their nature, forums don't seem like the best place(s) to make friends (at least to me). The way people share their opinions tells a lot about their character, and is actually a good weeding-out process in determining if someone is friend potential (but it's not something I think about because I'm not looking for friends here, just ppl to chat about wrestling with). But "Mrs. Austin Aries" represents my real self.
I've also had pen pal friends that I met in person. One of my oldest friends is a guy I originally met through a pen pal site. And one of my oldest female friends is a chick I met through FanFiction.net (of all places) and became pen pals with. Some of my internet friends are as valuable to me as my face to face ones, and vice versa. There are ways to show that without being in the same place, I've found. It really does depend on both sides
, because I've had people that I've met face to face (including blood relatives) and have known for years and never get to know them as closely as some I've met online.
But in order not to be killed or take advantage of, I am careful. Just throwing that in there.