Why Making Friends Via The Internet Is The New Normal

If you were born between, let’s say, 1985-1999, you’ve probably heard these words: “Don’t talk to strangers on the Internet!” Well, sorry, Mom and Dad. Chatting online is pretty much all our generation does now, and you know it. Sure, there’s a chance that there are twisted, creepy people behind the screen, but I’ve also met some amazing people through the Internet who have changed my life for the better.

I can totally understand why some people see meeting friends online as weird.

These are folks you meet through a screen. You’re not seeing them in the flesh, but you are expanding your mind to new thoughts, new ideas, and even new accents.

I feel as if making online friends somehow tests our ability to wait. In some space in time, you will meet your friend of two years who lives in Ireland. You just have to wait it out. I personally have local friends, but somehow, I feel a tighter bond with people who I meet on the Internet  

I started making friends through the web at the tender age of twelve.

And while that’s risky in and of itself, those early friendships from a decade and a half ago have stayed with me to this day. When you connect online, you meet people of all creeds, ethnicities, and regions, from California to China, from Florida to Liverpool. A person from the UK’s lifestyle could differ from that of the dude you met from Nashville on a gaming server. These differences really give you a sense of how people think, what they do, and how their views compare to yours.

People in my life often say, “You need to meet real people,” or “Do you have real friends?” Well, the people I meet online are real; I’m not talking to E.T. on a daily basis. They have thoughts, struggles, and insecurities, just like anyone else. More to the point, though, they have real lives and real life friendships. The Internet is just an extension of their personalities in the world that already exists around them.

Heartbreak and lies are familiar territory for me. When I was at my worst, though, I could hop on Skype and cry to a friend or produce a cool podcast to share my progress with the world. My online friends  have always been able to cheer with me the loudest (if their volume is all the way up) or virtually wipe my tears whenever I stumble. They are some of the most humble, giving, caring people I’ve met. Despite our differences in time zone, location, and even perspective, they’re all pretty cool. My online friends each have their own interests, quirks, and  distinct reason for our friendship.

So, if you have online friends, embrace every moment.

Tell them you love them, be proud of their accomplishments, celebrate with them. Just knowing that you can wake up, and they are right there when you hop on your MacBook is seriously the best feeling in the world. Just make sure you send some emojis, too… everyone online likes that.

Featured Photo via Apple

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