I have a feeling I’ve written about this before, but it’s a topic that can’t really get old so I want to write about it again. The topic is internet friends.
A lot of people receive so much bullshit for having internet friends.
“You can’t know they are who they say they are.”
“You have to be careful, they could be a predator.”
“But they’re not your real friends, you’ve never actually met them.”
Sound familiar? For me, I heard the first two in school and the last one from friends and family. And there is some truth to it of course, back when I was 15-16 and we talked in chat rooms and on MySpace etc, hiding who you are was really easy. But technology has changed, life as we knew it back then has changed. I’ve met a lot of my friends on the internet. Some of my best friends, and my boyfriend, I knew on Twitter first. But we moved from Twitter to other platforms like Snapchat, following each other on Instagram, messaging and calling using Messenger and WhatsApp… We actually talk and use video and send pictures on a daily basis, some of us. The development of the technology we have today has made it so easy to spot fake people.
One of my closest friends is someone I met on Twitter several years ago, we’ve still not been able to meet in person, but hopefully that will happen sometime soon. This friend is someone who has never judged me, who’s helped me through some of my hardest times with heartaches and panic attacks and depression, who’s talked me out of doing stupid shit and made me see things clearly when I’ve not been able to, who’s even been able to explain my feelings and the reason behind them when I’ve been majorly confused. Someone I can talk to about things I couldn’t bring up with my “real life” friends, because this friend understands me in ways others don’t.
I read somewhere that people originate from stars and we’re always trying to find the remaining bits and pieces of the star we originally were, someone said this was the reason why we have soul mates, they’re people originating from the same star as we do. I like to think that this might be true, and that the dust from the multiple stars have mingled together and that’s why we feel different kind of attraction to multiple people, that we’re connected in some sort of way. It’s a force we can’t really deny, it’s just the universe pulling us together like gravity. Some of us belong together. Friendly. Affectionately. Romantically. Sexually. Platonically. In person. Online.
The other day I wanted to throw myself off a cliff, surely that would be less painful than some of the emotions I was feeling at the time. Then I talked to one of those scary people on the internet, the ones I’ve been warned to be careful with, and my friend was able to put words to a lot of the things I couldn’t explain, and understood without me having to go into too much detail. My friend reassured me that there’s nothing unnatural about the feelings I was having, that it’s all just human. My friend, a person I’ve never met in real life, could be there for me in a way no one else that I know could at the time, and I could talk to this friend about things I didn’t feel I was able to talk to anyone else about. This friend wasn’t judging me or telling me I was a bad person, or get weird about anything, this person was just there for me, supported me, talked to me, and made me feel better. At the end of the night I was sat singing A Day To Remember songs at the top of my lungs, and my friend from the internet did that.
See what I did there? My friend from the internet. Just as natural as saying my friend from school, or my friend from home, or my friend from London, New York, Chicago, whatever. My friend from the internet.
They’re people, just like us. If I can be on the internet, so can they, and if they can be the “scary stranger” so can I. There’s really nothing different about it at all. There are 7.6 billion people in the world. Am I supposed to only now people that live where I live?
I want to conclude with an image of a post I came across on Tumblr the other day, when I was browsing my archive from the early days: