Parents always say “don’t talk to strangers” and when social media started growing, they started saying “don’t talk to strangers on the internet.” But, if we are being honest, we all ignored them and talked to people all over the world. We realized we had things in common with strangers who lived so many miles away. We befriended them and spent uncountable hours talking to them. Just like that, those friendships became just as important as “in real life” friendships. Many people do not believe that. However, here’s the truth about online friendships: they are real.
Photo: Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash
When you meet someone online, you start talking to them because you have the same likes and dislikes. You start bonding over TV shows, movies, music, books, and any passions you have. You share your thoughts with them and get to know them on a different level. That is how many friendships start. So, why would you see online friendships as any different?
Throughout the years, I have heard so many people say those friendships are not real because you do not get to hang out. My best friend – who I met in high school – and I live on different continents and we can’t hang out. Does that mean our friendship is no longer real? You do not need to see a person on a daily basis to consider them a friend. A friendship is not just made of the moments you spend together. Thanks to technology, video-chat makes hanging out possible in a different, yet meaningful way.
Friendships are made of memories, inside jokes, support, and love. I guarantee you find that in online friendships. You have to scroll through Twitter for five minutes to see how much of that goes on between so many accounts. You follow someone, talk to them, get to know them. Next thing you know, you are crying with them when their partner dumps them. You’re sending them stickers of their favorite show, or watching movies together over FaceTime.
Sometimes, you get to be yourself more online and that allows you to connect with people on a deeper level. It is not because you are hiding behind a screen – although that helps a few people – but because you are not afraid of being judged. There are times when online friendships allow you to be yourself when you know “in real life” that is not a possibility. They encourage you to love everything about who you are and to be comfortable being your true self.
I joined social media 11 years ago, and I have met so many people who have become my best friends. They have been there for me during some of the worst and best moments of my life. They have called me when I was down and celebrated all my accomplishments. Just like my friends “in real life”, they have been the best support system…sometimes even better.
Do not let anyone tell you the best friend you made online is not real. Show them what your friendship is made of and then maybe one day you send them pictures of you two together…you know, making it real in their eyes.
If you have an online friendship, you know they are as real as it gets. If you do not, I encourage you to put yourself out there and meet people (you may meet your best friend for life). Social media has its disadvantages, but it sure is great to connect you with people who are like you in many aspects and makes your life better.
Lara was born in Argentina on Christmas; raised there and in Mexico. She graduated university with a BA in Latin American Literature and then moved to America where she currently lives with her girlfriend and cat. She works at a daycare as an Infant Teacher and during her free time you’ll find her reading or watching several TV shows while drinking diet coke.