Do internet friends count as real friends?

How many friends do you have? Where did you meet these people, or have you ever met them? Do you consider the people you know online as friends or are they simply a user name to you until you meet them in the flesh?

While having a discussion with a friend (in person) the comment “At least I have friends I can meet up with, ones who aren’t over in America” was spoken. This was a dig at the fact that some of the people I consider closest to me, I have never met. They are my online friends. People who I have known for as much as ten years.

That flippant comment got so far under my skin, it didn’t simply hit a nerve, it went to the bone. It is my opinion that if you need to see people in the flesh to consider them a friend, you are cutting yourself off from some of the most amazing friendships you could possible have. At the start it is as simple as finding it easier to talk to someone who doesn’t know you or the people you are talking to them about. They have no preconception of you, or others and can give you an unbiased opinion after listening to you. You talk to online friends about more personal topics and they talk to you about theirs. You become vulnerable, honest and non-judgemental with each other. You bond and form a connection. It is beautiful.

Making-friends

I have some amazing friends who I met online during my eating disorder. We supported each other, we got sicker together and we recovered together. They were my counsellors, confidants and biggest cheerleaders. They knew what I was going through because we were going through it together. Any time I have good news or bad news they are there to listen, laugh and cry with me. They are people I think of telling first because I know they will be happy for me or understand my troubles. We sends cards and gifts to one another, we do everything flesh meeting friends do, except meet each other. It hurts at times that we are unable to do so. We’ve learned to communicate with our words. We’ve gotten to know the real person. We have people that we know we would see on a regular basis if we could. It gets lonely at times. I’ve lost people I’ve known and I can not tell you how much I’ve cried being unable to go to funerals and knowing no matter where I travel, I’ll never get to meet them, hear their voice, laugh or hug them.

I have unlimited love in my heart, why would I limit who I give it to? I’ve meet far more deserving people online than I have in person. What conditions do you have surrounding friendships? Are you cutting yourself off or do you agree that if it’s online, it doesn’t count? We set our own limitations in life. Having to see people in the flesh is one limit I’ve gotten rid of and I’m glad I did.


One thought on “Do internet friends count as real friends?

  1. A very sarcastic remark made with intent to ridicule, I would have to say there. An interesting question, which could throw up complex answers but I’ll try and be brief. As one guy recently put it when dissing social media: “you could have 500 friends on facebook and four of them turn up at your funeral.” That aside, online can be a great source of finding people with common interests, problems or in minority groupings, and it is only natural how friendships can easily be formed in these situations. Most of those we encounter in our real world daily lives are just through happenstance and unless we’re into some of the same things, don’t have a lot in common with them. On the other hand, I sometimes wonder how much does this idea of ‘living online’ affect our mental health or to be more politically correct, our emotional well-being? To be fair, some of us communicate by expressing ourselves much better thus than in boring reality, so I guess it probably depends on who we’re talking to. Over the years, I have had many short-to-medium term online friends coming and going, very few have stayed the course, pretty much the same as it is in the real world but life is all the better because they happened. But do internet friends count as real friends, if they’re in regular touch and of long standing, in my view, yes they do.

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