My Internet Friendships Are Valid, Too
March 2, 2017
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When I look back now, I find it kind of funny how quick I was to disregard the advice of people older than me.
It was all “don’t talk to strangers, Angela,” and “personal information shouldn’t go on the internet.”
I definitely knew the dangers. I’d been scared into knowing them enough in school. I can’t remember what exactly I was thinking as a 12-year-old who just really cared about boy bands, but I know now if I could go back, I’d thank that 12-year-old.
What she didn’t know then that I know now is that making that account would bring her some of her best friends only a few years later.
Yes, this is about internet friends.
Not cat-fishing, and not scary murderers like the Craigslist killer. No, just my best friends who happen to be people I only know from the internet.
I’ll be quick to admit that I find it hard to make friends sometimes. I’m not one to just start talking to people. It takes me a long time to warm up to a person after meeting them.
Internet friendship is funny in that every friendship feels accelerated. The people that I meet online are people that have the same interests as me, as specific or weird as they may be. One year it’s boy bands, the next it’s hockey.
The awkward-getting-to-know-you stage is completely skipped. First, you bond over your shared interests, and in all of my experiences, the few small conversations turn into talking pretty much whenever you’re awake. Then it gets more personal, and suddenly you’re best friends before you even realize it.
It’s 2017 and there’s still a stigma around internet friends, but these friendships are valid.
These friendships are just as real as the ones I have with my roommates, who are some of my best friends. That’s not a term I throw around often, but some of my internet friends are the best friends I’ve ever had.
Just like my roommates, they’ve “seen” me at my best, and at my worst, though it was only ever through a messaging thread. They’re always there to talk, whether it be about a bad day or just a current event in the common interest we share.
I’m there for them, and they’re here for me. When I have a bad day, my internet friends are who I want to talk to – they know enough about me to make things better.
Talking about them makes me seem well-traveled, too. My friend from Texas, and my friends from Denmark and Canada are all people I’ve either never met, or hung out with once, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they’re my best friends.
To anyone who is still wary about the idea of internet friends: don’t be. It’s okay to be a little skeptical at first, but open yourself up to the idea that friends come into your life in different ways. And, to my internet friends, thank you for being you.