I have many people I interact with on a daily or weekly basis on the web. Sometimes I get to know these people pretty well and, if I travel somewhere or they come to Austin, we decide to meet up. Often in these cases I've spent years mentally calling them peanuts (short for "peanutsfan"), even if I know that their name is "Sarah". I don't think of them as "Sarah". When I talk about them with my husband, even, they're "peanutsfan"... so that adds another layer of confusion.
I spent a lovely lunch with one of these friends and, during that entire meal, we never used each other's names - neither usernames nor real names! Not even when we first greeted each other, despite us both knowing these names as we'd been emailing back and forth about it. I didn't really think about it during the lunch and afterwards, when we were back to chatting online, we both laughed about it. We both joked that we may very well have had lunch with two other people entirely.
Part of what made this so uncomfortable was that we hadn't thought about it ahead of time and asked what name we should use. We were already past the initial hellos by that point and I didn't want to derail the flow of our conversation by asking what to call them.
How do I know which name to use when meeting someone I only know by their username?
Names changed to protect the friends