Online Friends Aren’t “Real”…. ? Oh Really?

There’s a pets board I post on from time to time. One of the threads there has me on a bit of a tangent …

A poster recently started a thread about a dog that an online friend of their’s is fostering, with a link to the rescue group they’re working with and a simple statement that if people felt like they could and wanted to contribute, there’s where to do so. And, while being wary of funding requests online is simple good sense, the rescue group’s site appears to check out and in this instance there was no evidence whatsoever of a scam. Another poster saw fit to cry “scam” and claim that since the poster only knew the person who needed help online (for 3 years no less) … it wasn’t a “real” friendship.

So I ask you what you think … ARE online friendships “real”?

From my perspective, I say a resounding “YES” … (please excuse me whilst I ramble on for a bit) …

I have online friends I’ve had for years, and have contributed to their rescue efforts at various points … they are no less “real” than the friends I see face to face on a regular basis. In fact with the busy schedules those who would clearly qualify as “real” friends are much communicated with via e-mail … so those who discount “online friendships” would likely discount those as well.

Like my more corporeal friendships, some of my online friends have shared trials and tribulations, good times and joy, ups, downs and just about everything else. One has shared her cancer battles … while never asking for a thing but moral support and “good thoughts”, and I spent time on the phone with both her and her husband offering what meager support I could through a crisis … the same kind of support I’ve offered “non-line” friends and family who don’t live near me (are they also not “real”?) … I have never met this friend and her husband, maybe never will… but they are still friends in any real meaning of the word (heck we’ve even had online arguments and made up … friendship doesn’t get too much more real than that).

Another has shared the starting of their own small business and the joys and frustrations of that (as well as the joys and frustrations of customers and dealing with them) and the joys of becoming a grandmother for the first time.

Others have shared job losses and job searches; getting new jobs; returning to school; getting new pets; losing pets; car accidents; storm damage; new babies; stories of their children, pets and families; marriages; divorces; getting a gig with their band and the excitement of that; hobbies, avocations, passions and obsessions; the passing of loved ones; discovering that a spouse has cheated and the heartbreak of that; falling in love and the joy of it … when you’ve gone back and forth with people for years, even via the electronic medium we now use … it counts … the notion that if you’ve never met them face to face they’re not “real” is ludicrous in this day and age … maybe some are incapable of establishing actual friendships online … that doesn’t make the friendships of those of us who can any less real.

The notion that those friendships should be disparaged as “not real” is obnoxious and ignorant at the very least.

So to my online FRIENDS … may you all have a blessed day, find joy in your hearts and on your doorsteps, and find yourself at least one good solid step closer to achieving your dreams and goals.


And to those who don’t believe in online friendships…. why are you even here reading this? … you can shuffle off now.


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