One of my friends has an interview this morning, and before I had even put the kettle on I saw messages pop up on our what’s app group.
‘You’re going to smash it!’
I followed suit and added my own good luck message, and I genuinely hope she get’s the job. We all do. That’s what were like my friends and I. We support each other, constantly, in anything we do. But here’s the thing:
We’ve never met *
Weird right? So I’ve been told multiple times. I do have my friends in real-life but I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like. The two friends I see the most are both married, and have like proper grown up lives. I’m still winging my way through mine. I used to have more friends when I worked, and I still class them as friends but the reality is we never see each other now. My blog is my job now, and any bit of spare time I get I’m online. So it’s only natural that I have gravitated towards some like-minded people along the way. I just never imagined those familiar strangers would end up meaning so much to me.
*Some of the group have met each other, but I’ve never met any of my online friends, until tomorrow when I’ll be meeting 2 out of 4 of them.
Can true friendships be established online?
It’s not like the ‘you pat my back, I’ll pat yours’ thing that I first fell into when I started blogging. I’m not just reading their posts so they read mine, I’m not telling them they’re amazing when I don’t really believe it. I genuinely care about these amazing human beings, and our friendship is very dear to me. So when someone tells me that online friendships aren’t real, it really frustrates me. We affectionately refer to ourselves as the ’99’ and if you’ve ever seen the show Brooklyn Nine-Nine then you’ll know that there isn’t a tighter friendship group. We all have our demons, some of us more than others but we get through it with humour, and we hold each-other together.
5 REASONS WHY MY ONLINE FRIENDS ARE THE BEST FRIENDS
They support my blog
My blog is my baby and I have poured so many hours, and so much money into making it what it is. Okay so it isn’t amazing, but it’s mine and considering the year I’ve had I’m pretty proud that it’s still here and people still visit it every now and then. I’ve never got paid to blog, ever. I’ve had one paid opportunity to be published in another magazine but that’s it. There have been many, many times I’ve wanted to throw in the towel but I persevered and that’s mainly down to my online friends who consistently support my ideas, give me advice, proof-read posts and encourage me to keep it going.
They just ‘know’
The other day I was feeling down and I needed to get out, so I went for a drive. I wasn’t planning on doing anything stupid but in hind-sight I wasn’t in a good place. Once I got in the car I couldn’t stop driving. I had no destination, I just thought if I was far away enough from my problems they’d magically disappear (Spoiler alert: They don’t) I didn’t have to say anything that day, my friends just knew and they were there for me. A few hours later I was parked up in a Mcdonalds miles away from home and I just sobbed my heart out for a while, for no particular reason at all. But before I even knew I felt like this, one of my friends had seen it coming, he sent me this message:
When you have friends that can tell when you’re sad and do their best to change that situation, you need to hang on to them.
They make me laugh
If I’m looking at my phone and laughing or smiling, then it’s likely that my online friends are the culprits. Three out of five of us are quite heavily involved in the online mental health community and at times it can be a bit intense. When things get a bit too serious, I can be safe in the knowledge that I have a group of friends I can go to where I can be inappropriate, and feel free to use my self-deprecating humour without fear of being judged. When things get dark, these guys are my light and we will happily spend hours of our day making each other laugh and being mildly inappropriate. Whether it’s coming up with stupid nicknames for each other or sending silly videos just because, I can always count on my online friends to give me the giggles.
They are fiercely protective
As most bloggers and content creators know, social media can be a minefield. It’s crazy how you can have the most supportive and fun environment one moment and then the next be met with vile vitriol for no other reason than having an opinion. It can be a battleground sometimes but luckily for me, my friends are warriors who are fiercely protective of me, as I am of them. You can guarantee that if any hate is directed toward any of us, the others aren’t far behind offering support and telling the trolls where to go. We’ve got each other’s backs, always.
There’s no pressure
I met my friends online openly talking about my mental health so I don’t ever feel any pressure to be okay. It doesn’t sound like much but pretending to function when I really can’t just to make others feel comfortable has become a re-occurring incident throughout my life, and it’s so exhausting. With my online friends, there’s no pressure. No pressure to be happy, because if I’m sad they are just there. No pressure to go out and socialise because were miles apart anyway. In other friendship groups I’ve just felt this tremendous amount of unnecessary pressure all the time and that’s why they’ve eventually withered away, because friendships need to be natural. What I mean is, I’m not the type of girl who can keep to regular scheduled meet-ups that look like friendships goals on Instagram. I’m just trying to get through one day to the next, and the friends i have online and in real-life that support me whilst I do this, mean the world to me.
WE HAVE THE STRONGEST CONNECTION, EVEN WITHOUT WIFI
& that ladies & gentleman, is why these four human beings that I have never met mean so much to me, and regardless of how stupid it may sound to some I think if people connect, and especially for people who isolate themselves like I do, to have that lifeline of support at the tip of your fingers is invaluable. If you have online friends then celebrate them, and don’t let anyone tell you they aren’t ‘real’.
What are your experiences of making friends online? Let me know in the comments.