A few weeks back my sister got home from school seething and usually I steer clear of her -or anyone that pissed- when I can but something about her screams ‘let me vent’ so I asked what’s she’s reeling about. She told me that in one of her classes a prof blatantly told the class that there is NO such thing as a friendship forged online.
They’re not REAL friendships.
Let me tell you about my little sister, she’s a world of words in her head but she usually stays in her quiet corner outside of it. You have to be either really dorky, like me, or very close to her for her to even consider starting a conversation with you much more maintain it. When she started with Twitter and Tumblr, she met teens just like her- a little awkward and shy but very creative and witty and with so many stories to tell and talents to show. She grew more outgoing and trusted people more.
People may argue that it’s an unconventional interaction. You can choose to hide behind anonymity or refuse eye contact or whatever else traditional social interactions it requires to make the encounter a success. Really though, what are the rules of friendship? And who made anyone judge of it?
Because trust and honesty, they’re not founded on proximity or your ability to physically touch someone, Yes, it makes it infinitely easier to comfort your sobbing best friend if you didn’t have a few thousand miles separating you but where were these apprehensions when we force women into arranged marriages or soldiers falling madly inlove with women they’ve ONLY written letters to. THEY WEREN’T BECAUSE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE ARBITRARY AND YOU HAVE TO JUDGE THEM AS SUCH.
My ability to be a good friend is not limited to a hug or hauling ice cream and a bunch movies to your place when you feel like crap. It also means that I’m here to listen to your rants, share in your eccentricities, reassure you of how much I care, confide in you when no one else is willing to listen and accept you for everything that you are and choose to do including SHARING A FRIENDSHIP WITH ME ONLINE. No one has the right to tell me what my standards should be for friendships.
I CHOOSE WHO MY REAL FRIENDS ARE AND THEY’RE BASED ON SO MUCH MORE THAN THE SUPERFICIALITY OF PHYSICAL AFFECTION.
I’m in no way belittling the treasure mined from friends I’ve physically met and spent lots of time with. They’re all amazing and I thank the heavens everyday that they put up with me. All I’m saying is the connection that I organically feel with them can manifest with anyone, in any form, anywhere. It doesn’t have to be 2 meters away from me. It can be behind a screen, 5 time zones away.
So I’ll end this with a personal message to every single person I’ve met online and established a friendship with. The means of our meeting doesn’t in anyway change my admiration, care and love for each and everyone of you and I’ll debate any prof who tells me otherwise.
and danie if you’re reading this, it’s for you love. -wink-