For those of us on the wrong side of the millennial rainbow, we’re still somewhat amazed at how small the internet has made the world. We didn’t used to have the luxury of online friends, instead, you were just stuck with the people around you as your friends. From the people you went to school with, the neighborhood kids and after school activities/sports to your job and grownup hobbies– your friendships were based on who happened to cross your path (and whether or not you actually spoke to them). But this is no longer true.
With the internet exploding on us and social media reminding us that the world never sleeps– online dating isn’t the only way to create relationships. No, now you can find awesome, like-minded friends through just about any social media platform. And that’s not all, it’s also made it way easier to keep up with old friends and people you’ve only met in person once or twice.
For me personally, I’ve been reaping the benefits. It used to upset me that I didn’t have as many in-person friends, but really with as much as I work, it makes sense why I don’t.
Why Online Friends Are Awesome
We know we’re compatible
The majority of my online friends come from niched groups, or we follow each other on social media. It’s clear off the bat that we already have some things in common. For example, I’m in an fitness group on Facebook where I talk to, answer questions and share myself daily with about 10k women. When something awesome or awful happens to me while working out (and sometimes just in life)– these are the girls I tell first. I know that they are going to perk me up or be my cheerleader when I need it, judgement free. A lot of the times I end up adding them as Facebook friends and we talk more one on one.
We make actual plans
Sometimes “real life” friends end up being someone you might physically hang out with–dinner, drinks, wine, movies– but rarely actually DO stuff together. The group chat I’m in has about 15 people in it and we plan on hanging out at 3 separate events over the next 3 months. We’ll be attending the Arnold Classic, getting our asses kicked at a Camp Valor boot camp and then running the Spartan Beast together. Next month I will be flying to Cali to stay with a Facebook friend, attend a NASCAR race and cheer her on in her Strongman competition. When your friends aren’t close by, you tend to actually do stuff when you get together. What’s awesome about meeting up with my online friends, is that I can plan for it better than someone who wants to hang out tonight.
You get closer
One of my best friends used to be a virtual intern for my former company and the first time we met in person? Yeah, it was at my wedding. She’s actually flying in from Chicago to visit me this week and we have all kinds of girl time planned.
Not really. When you talk to someone literally every single day you get to know them in ways you can’t by just hanging out every now and then. Rather than have to make time for a dinner or a night on the town, you can text, message and video chat whenever it’s convenient.
It’s okay if you’re busy
I know that if I go MIA, my internet friends will be there when I return. In my group chat I tend to dip in and out and no one is mad if I have to disappear to do some adulting– they just miss me! So often in real life I’ve had to dedicate myself to work and basically fall into a black hole. People get sick of it when you’re constantly turning down their invites to hang out, so I tend to not really get asked anymore.
One of my favorite online friends is a songwriter who lives in Paris. We’re both super busy but make time to connect every so often and pick right up where we left off.
More inclined to show support
Because I’m able to be present in these friendships in the most convenient way possible, when I need virtual support– they show up for me. And I show up for them. They know what’s going on in my daily life so I don’t have to reach out and ask them to support me, they just do.
They think I’m cooler than I really am
I don’t misrepresent myself online but if you’re not spewing negative thoughts and airing out your dirty laundry on a daily basis and remain somewhat positive, it’s not that hard to come off like a pretty cool chick. I’m confident, ambitious and kind but in person I feel like I come off awkward as hell. Small talk makes me feel uncomfortable, so I love that I can get right to the core of who I am online.
I’m not in any way taking away from the real life friendships I have. I tend to keep quality friends and even enjoy having awesome acquaintances, but online friends have opened up my eyes to a whole new world of friendship possibilities.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
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