Jan. 11th, 2007

doniago: (Default)
This was a "classified" topic (if you don't know what that means I suggest reading previous entries), but given the nature of it I'm escalating it in an attempt to get a more broad range of views. Any/all feedback is greatly appreciated.

I've known, online, someone in England for more than 6 years. We've chatted intermittently, though I wouldn't say frequently. He's been a good acquaintance, but I would have trouble calling him a good friend. Bear in mind that I'm pretty choosy about who I'll call "friend," much less, "good friend." I have seen pictures of what he (allegedly, I suppose) looks like, and he looks non-threatening.

Six months ago, this person (henceforth referred to as "D") invited me to visit him. I pointed out that a trip to England was really beyond my means, at which point he offered to cover the airfare. He also said that while I was there we could go to Eurofurence (think sci-fi con) together in Germany. At the time I went along with this largely because I figured, as with many other plans, it would never ultimately amount to anything. Back in October or so he brought this up to me again and I similarly humored him to some degree, though I was surprised/impressed that he was apparently still thinking about it.

A few days ago he brought this up again, and he would now like me to commit one way or another by the end of the month. He is willing to pay for my round-trip airfare as well as my admission to the con. I would have to get my own passport, pay for my own food, and quite probably pay for part of the hotel room while we were at the convention. This I can afford, I think.

In an attempt to gather more information with which to work with I contacted a friend of D's and an acquaintance of mine, who we'll call S. S went into a huff when I asked him about this, saying that I should make up my own mind about D and that he wasn't going to take any responsibility. He also called me unethical for even asking (mind you, under less extreme circumstances I probably wouldn't have done such a thing anyway). In short, S spoke neither positively nor negatively of D, though under the circumstances a lack of willingness to say anything positive could in and of itself be construed as saying something negative. Pointing out that if he is D's friend, wants D to be happy, and my visiting would make D happy than it's in everyone's best interests to support D got me precisely nowhere.

For the record D has stated that I will be visiting him as a friend, and that if worst came to worst I could get a hotel room in the area (I wouldn't expect him to pay for that, obviously).

My parents and more than one person in my "inner circle" have grave concerns about this plan, though my parents conceed that if it's on the level it is a fantastic opportunity. On the other hand, others I have spoken to think I should thank D for being so generous and take him up on this.

Realistically, if left to my own devices I have no idea when, if ever, I may get to see England, so please don't give me the "you'll get there eventually" routine. This may very well be a "rarely in a lifetime" experience. Additionally, I would be hard-pressed to blame D for being a bit upset/disappointed if I turn him down citing a (however reasonable) lack of trust.

So, faithful readers, the question becomes- what do you think I should do?

[Poll #904950]

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