Online Friends are Legit as "IRL" Ones

in life •  2 months ago

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As someone who is rather introverted, works a lot, and has had tragedy strike down more than one friend (online & "IRL"); I've always appreciated & valued my online friendships. I am putting quotation marks around IRL because when you are interacting with an online friend, are you suddenly not "in real life"?

I've had a couple insensitive people make comments to the effect, "well, why should you care they're "just" online friends"? Right, because it's obviously not possible to become invested emotionally with someone who's there for me day in and day out, whereas the people I know in "real life", I never hear from?

It is no different than the emotional investment one experiences as they invest time into a pen pal relationship or time into a friend you actually see on a regular basis - AKA an "IRL" one.

In my time on the internet, almost two decades now....I've had many online pals. Some of the friendships ended, some remain ongoing for years but we don't talk regularly, and some fizzled out.

It is almost a year since @lauralemons suicide. She is in my photo collage above with flowers added for my respects to her. Those flowers came from her favorite gardens here in St Cloud at Munsinger gardens. They're my photos but she had visited them before me.

I never got to meet Laura "in real life." But we talked for about two years. We were very close friends at one point. As with IRL friendships people don't always see eye to eye so my relationship with Laura was not always hunky dory. Regardlesd, I still held & hold her in high esteem & I know she still cared about me because she kept the crystals and a stone bracelet I gave her. What hurts is that during the last couple months of her life is when we were having a "tiff." SUCKS.

The other person in my photo collage above is my dear friend @edouard who is a creative, fun, unique, emotionally in tune, and artistic person. (Go visit his blog already. Lol) He's more than a friend and we have discussed maybe meeting in person one of these days. We are also business partners in the running of the somewhat undefined Steemit Dreamit. I also chose those flowers not only because of paying respects to Laura but because I thought Edouard would like them.

In summary, if you have online friends, they are FRIENDS don't take them for granted just because you've never met them, "IRL." Chances are they could just be some of the best friends you'll ever have.

I'm also not saying you should only work on cultivating online friendships. It can be hard if you're introverted and have social anxiety like I do but a man (or woman) who shows himself as friendly will attract friends. That is a loosely paraphrased verse from the Bible, which is a book I have read, though am not religious.
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I've had a couple insensitive people make comments to the effect, "well, why should you care they're "just" online friends"? Right, because it's obviously not possible to become invested emotionally with someone who's there for me day in and day out, whereas the people I know in "real life", I never hear from?

SO MUCH THIS. My "online" friends have helped me out and been there to talk and so many wonderful things. In person, I almost never see anyone, at all. I know more about online friends than offline friends. I have offline friends who will drop in and give me an "update" on things they never told me about in the first place; meanwhile I know what many online friends' day-to-day is like. How is that less real?

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Exactly! It's totally not less real

I agree fully. I feel like I had a genuine connection with Laura as well. And I feel that it's ridiculous that people don't see it as the same as real life. It's really heartbreaking. I miss talking to Laura so much!

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It is totally ridiculous!

I think because we are introverts our online relationships are sometimes that much stronger than those day to day friendships. It takes me time to really open up to people, and in my experience people are more likely to give you that time online whereas in "real" life they either don't have the time or the patience for whatever reason. To be fair, I think I also feel more free to express myself and less fearful than I do face-to-face, so I know I have met more people (especially on here) that are more similar in their goals in life and personalities because I'm putting true self out more.

I'm sorry about your friend Laura. Death of a friend is never easy to deal with, no matter how long you have known the person. One of my absolute favorite clients (and just person in general) often reminds me grief is a long-term process, so even a year later or more the emotions are still there and deserve respect and care to work through.

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Grief is definitely a long term process. I am still not over the loss of my BFF Anna who died traumatically in a car accident in 2003 =(

I met my husband online....in fact is like one in 3 or 4 marriages (stats unsure of) are happening from "fake online people"..great take on the pain that can happen and the good stuff from the interwebs
, I didn't know you were that close to Laura and am glad you keep her memory alive <3

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Thatz cool about meeting him online, i met my boyfriend online :)

Wow, that is very touching and emotional.

I love my online friends. Some of them I have on Facebook. My guild in SWTOR and I used to talk through the Mumble server every single day. We were like a support group. We don't chat often anymore and we're all so busy so we play less often too, but we're there for each other and we care for each other very much. I value and cherish my online friends a great deal. There are amny people on Steemit too who have become friends. We connect, we don't have to be in the same city or the same country, or even continent. We connect and we appreciate the relationships we can garner from opening up and sharing with other people who respect us and show us as much appreciation as we show them.

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Thanks very much for this comment means a lot and echos my sentiments. I also have some great fb friends. Its also true constant "bff" type conversation isnt necessary but having each other's backs is.

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Absolutely. Though I'm not sure what bff type conversation are exactly lol I always thought bffs as those who have your back. But since friends sometimes enter or leave our lives, grow closer or more distant, depending where we are in our lives, to me, my true BFFs are my mother, my sister and my brother, and then my husband as my bff and partner for life. Because they will be there for the rest of my life, espcially my siblings and mom who have been there since the very beginning of my life.

That doesn't mean I don't consider other friends as best friends, but the forever part is a bit more literal to me ;)

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Oh i just meant those special bff types, we don't need constant communication with them because as you said are there for us so we don't need constant, frequent communication. Should be able to pick up where you left off. ❤ in other words even if it's been a couple weeks or whatever

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Oh ok, yeah. I have a few of those. When we see each other, we wish each other a bunch of things in case we don't see each other before the next occasion, like happy birthday, happy holidays, happy easter, etc lol It's funny.

I checked out Laura's channel. Seemed so nice. You have a big heart. Thank you for reminding us that friends and families come in different packages. Real friends are hard to come by. Great post. :)
Joy

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She was a true gem. I feel strongly that she now knows this.

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You are a gem for honoring her.
Since I have been on Steemit I have seen the way people suffer. I try to offer positive feedback. As a intuitive and intercessory prayer warrior....I learned the hard way about others lessons they are learning on their journey. Free will. Some things don't make sense, but our Father knows our hearts. You have a wonderful heart. Keep it heathy and full of love!!
I know you will. :)
Joy

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Thanks very much i certainly will try. Your empathy is something we need more of in humanity

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Thanks. I keep running into your name this week!! Yay!!
Pretty name.
Joy

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For me , my online friends are closer to me than many of those i know in real life. I am far more comfortable with chatting and sharing with them than i am with RL friends. This is due to the fact my online friends are on my wavelength, they are far more congruent with the self , are more"real".

real life friends are not always what they seem, maybe they have something to gain from you , they can use you for material things etc. Online friends like you for who you are, they dont have these same kinds of thing to gain from interacting with you, nor would they take advantage of this if they could.

Im sorry to hear of the passing of your friend, it can be difficult to comprehend the complexity of the human condition and the impact on life when it gets hard to deal with.

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Thanks for explaining the copes initiative. I'll investigate it.

That's true many online friends are your friends with no strings attached. Whereas personal gain is big with the other "real life" friends.

The internet has definitely helped bring a lot of people together and feel less alone in this world

gotta agree with this. my IRL friends are too busy chasing kids, jobs, and other obligations. I get a call once in a while, or a text once in a while, but the issue is IRL people MAKE themselves too busy.

its all too easy to invest in people who are situational friends - workmates, friend of a friend, your kids friends parents, neighbors - and then get stuck into the obligational bullcrap of polite discourse when you have nothing in common.

even having something in common doesnt guarantee you will get along if your communication styles clash.

two of my best friends I met online, one in a fan club, one playing a strategy game. we dont have tons in common, but we are friends of the heart, and that is the best kind.

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"Situational obligational bull crap"
Feels like so much of my life. And it's true just because you have one thing in common with someone wont make you BFFs. Sometimez the best words are no words at all. Some people just talk to fill a perceived void with words that are meaningless

Couldn't agree more. My girlfriend Chelsea is someone I met online. It's easy to dismiss online relationships because you're not physically in the presence of them, but that's total hogwash. Like you said, if you invest time and emotion into getting to know someone, who cares where you met them? Do words on a screen carry less weight than words on a phone? Or face to face? I think not.

I'm sorry to hear about @lauralemons. I didn't know.

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I met my boyfriend online too! Definitely carries the same weight and in no way delegitimizes it

OMG do I ever love the flowers? They are absolutely awsome. I just love them! I like how you believe in friendships without the boundaries of what’s real to a bunch of old school people. You embrace the now and this friendship is just as real as you and I. Should we feel guilty that the internet is energy hungry? Absolutely! But at the same time you can’t blame us for trying to connect in an increasingly alienating environment. I love you to bits, you mean the world to me!

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The energy hungry internet is a guilty pleasure but also the wave of the technological future - if solar flares don't knock us out ofc!
Love you too buddy!