This happens all to often. Especially for poor lonely creatures like us. We go online , meet some supposedly nice guy or girl and after using up a few hundred or so free night/weekend minutes feel like meeting them. But in most cases (s)he is possibly a thousand miles apart - and both of us being overworked and underpaid graduate students - we accept that its not going to work out. End of the story? Not quite , especially if one of the persons lives in a place worth a visit. So then you have the extra motivation for having a trip down there - and probably you will find some other souls to accompany you too. And honestly - vacation are more fun and less expensive in a group unless its a romantic one. And there comes the tricky part - what do you do with your virtual friend? Do you really want to tell your buddies about this person - and make yourself a target of ridicule if your virtual friend doesn't live up to his/her online image? And suppose (s)he does turn out to be a real nice company - then can you screw up the travel itinerary to spend more time with him/her - annoying all others in your group? Its no lesser a dilemma for the other person too. Knowing that your virtual friend is coming with a gang of real friends by itself is intimidating - making your way into a group is always oh so difficult. Then you are not sure of the expectation level is - whether you can ask him/her out for a coffee alone or join them while they are in a museum? Ideally you wanted him/her alone - and you are feeling disgusted to be forced to deal with a crowd - but you also know that this is the only chance you got to make an impression - (s)he is not going to visit your city again soon. I have been at the either side of the divide - forcing my friends to waste a few hours so that I can meet my chat friend and looking on while one of my friend's chat friend toiled hard unsuccessfully to impress her!
Neither was much fun for the anyone!
P.S - Birthday wishes for Sanchayeeta (15th November).