ON ONLINE FRIENDSHIPS

I don't know why I haven't already written this list.
  1. So, online friendships tend to have a pretty bad reputation.
  2. Less so than, say, a decade ago, but we still have things like Catfish reminding us to keep on our toes.
  3. Beside the traditional they-might-be-a-murderer mentality, a lot of people seem to think that online relationships are somehow less authentic.
  4. I have never understood this.
  5. I mean, sure, looking someone in the eyes is meaningful and so is touch and all of that jazz. I get it. Face-to-face communication is important.
  6. But the fact that my best friend lives in the US and I live in Australia has no bearing on the significance of our friendship.
  7. We happened to meet online.
  8. Without the internet, we would have likely never met each other.
  9. And through the internet we weren't distracted by so-called "real life" things like appearance and were able to really get to know each other.
  10. I can't count the number of times we took turns staying up late in our respective timezones so we could talk to each other as much as possible.
  11. I can't tell you how good it felt the first time she bought a calling card and I heard the accent I could only have imagined prior.
  12. And there was nothing inauthentic or invalid about how good it felt when she stepped off the plane and I first spotted her and practically jumped the security line to hug her.
    Or how much my heart broke when I had to say goodbye because her boarding time was being announced and she had to go home before I'd even let myself accept the fact she was right in front of me.
  13. High school was rough. I wasn't popular. So I found someone who was far away and led a very different life and she made my own easier.
    @girlNmaroon, to anyone unaware thus far.
  14. Next year will be ten years since we first met each other on a fandom board for a show we don't even watch anymore.
  15. I wish my best friend was born next door and we could have dinners and shopping dates and go to the movies with the ease some people I know take for granted.
  16. But I don't resent the fact that we met in a unique way because it's made our friendship stronger.
  17. I've met other amazing people this way - @bkwmkiwi is one of them - and these are the friendships that I've had that have lasted the longest.
  18. I don't want to idealise online friendships either. I have fought with my online friends and struggled with the distance.
  19. But you know something? They're also among the only people who have stood by me when others have left because I have been too sad, too damaged, too much.
  20. I think online safety is super important.
    I may have not practiced it as well as I should have, but I guess I got lucky.
  21. And I'm sure I'm speaking to people who already get it.
  22. But I'm so fucking thankful that the internet has brought the variety of people into my life that it has.
  23. So thankful for @girlNmaroon, @bkwmkiwi and so many others.