Friendship

This post was originally published on 6th October 2018 and updated on 9th August 2020.

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship lately and what it means to me.

I don’t have a large circle of friends, more pockets of friends whom I’ve met at different stages in my life.

There are those I’ve known since nursery, infant and junior school; those who I grew up with back home; those I met at secondary school, and in sixth form, and at university. Then there are those I’ve met through work, friends of friends, evening classes, and more recently through travel. The opportunity to make and meet new friends has been endless.

But what about the friends we’ve never met?

I’ve been friends with Laura since the late 90s. We met on a message board for one of our favourite bands at the time (we were both slightly obsessed with the RnB boy band Another Level!). We clicked instantly. Overtime we became closer and closer. Communications changed. We moved from the message board to writing letters, emailing, texting, and in recent years, to Whatsapp.

Laura’s been there through every break up, every family drama, every huge life event (the good and the bad).

At the same time I moved to London, Laura moved to Australia. We don’t speak as often as we used to, but I still think of her a lot, and I know that if either of us needed someone to talk to, we would be there for one another.

There are so many times we could’ve met up before she moved to Australia, but for whatever reasons, we didn’t. I almost wonder whether we feared that meeting up in person would ruin our friendship somehow. Perhaps we feared that the bond we had on paper, wouldn’t be there in person. We’ll probably never know.

I met another girl on the same message board. Julie lives in Taiwan. We’ve lost contact a number of times over the years, but we always find each other again. We shared a lot about our families and found so much happiness in talking to each other about our different cultures. These days we mostly stay in touch on Instagram, but it’s lovely to see what she gets up to, in a world that is very different to my own. Yet it’s a world where we share the same values.

In some ways, I feel as though I have a stronger connection to Laura and Julie than I do with some of my ‘in the flesh friends’. Perhaps it’s because we met through common interests. Or perhaps it’s because our online community tend to see the happier, more positive side to our personalities, because that’s what we like to portray on social media, although I like to think I try to keep my accounts real.

Even now, as part of this wonderful blogging community, I feel so much connection to people I’ve never met, and in many cases, probably won’t ever meet. Connecting with like minded people brings me so much happiness and teaches me so so much.

One of my first ever followers on WordPress (The Wellbeing Blogger) contacted me a few of weeks ago and asked if I would be interested in teaming up as her writing buddy. Now every Sunday we check in with each other at 9pm to do an hours writing, and to provide each other with that extra motivation to help us sit down and write. None of my ‘in the flesh friends’ write, so without Vanessa, this opportunity wouldn’t even be possible.

Reflecting back on the last 5 years since I started working in London, I’ve struggled to meet new people face to face, yet I’ve met so many new people online though a shared passion for travel and well-being.

I have some wonderful friends both online and in the flesh, even if the online versions now outweigh those in the flesh. Is this just a sign of the times? Or is it easier to make like minded friends online?

Do you really need to have met someone in ‘real life’ in order to claim them as one of your dearest friends? To share with them your greatest fears? For them to be amongst the first people to share your successes with?

I’d love to know more about your friendships. Do you have people in your life who you class as friends, who you’ve never met? Do your online friends know more about you than the friends you’ve met face to face?

I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend.

I’ve finally packed up my flat in London and I’m now back home with my family for the next 10 days ☺️ It feels good to be home ❤️

14 Comments Add yours

  1. lewiscraik says:

    I have four close friends from school, whilst we’re in touch fairly regularly, we don’t get to see each other as much as we would like.

    I probably speak to my online friends most, as they tend to share my passions for mountain biking and/or cars. Last year I was speaking to a friend I’d “met” online and it turns out he was in the year above us in school.

    I have also made some friends through mountain biking with my son – there aren’t many parents of small mountain bikers, so we try to get together a few times a year so the kids can ride together.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s great that you still keep in touch with people from school, but you also have pockets of friends from other areas of your life. I think being a parent (not that I have too much experience of this) often helps with making new friends as the kids become a great talking point. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

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  2. I just wished the day had 48h and life was already less chaotic, but it has been a great pleasure to be writing with you on Sundays and I’m so happy we are still in touch! How much time has passed since we follow each other on WordPress? I love your blogs and writing, I can only see great things coming from you in that matter! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much lovely 🙂 I know what you mean about 48h in a day! If only! Hope you’re having a beautiful weekend xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a sound and insightful post. Many of my long-term in the flesh friends have now died, and it is increasingly difficult to put effort into making new ones. We do have very dear friends we will never meet, with whom we communicate with concern and in depth. Fellow bloggers have also visited us at home – and we have exchanged gifts with others we will never meet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw Derrick, this made my heart feel heavy 😦 I’m so glad you found new friendships with your fellow bloggers and that you have invited them into your life. It’s a pretty good community out there 🙂 And nice to know we can all be there for one another.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It happens as you get older 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Kellie says:

    Great post, love that you have had supportive online friendships, and I think both online and in person are great!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t agree more Kellie! It’s great to have a combination, but also to have the strength to manage those friendships and to know when they turn toxic or less supportive and to walk away.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. To me, moving abroad made it difficult to hold on to old friendships as well make new ones – a journey that helped me discover which of my in flesh friends are truly reliable. My very closest friend lives on the other end of the world and we had less than a year to build an in flesh friendship, however we still manage to talk almost every single day, about everything and nothing. It’s interesting how long distance isn’t that much of a barrier with like minded people who are equally as interested in your life as you are in theirs. Great post and thoughts! Friendships are an important part of the phases we go through in life, but I think it’s those life-long connections that helps define who we are as a person at any given stage ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Nadia. Moving, whether abroad or to a different town or city certainly tests our friendships, and like you, it really helps to establish which friends are reliable. When I moved to London, some of my friends back home just didn’t get it, and figured to would just be a phase. Needless to say, they are some of the same people I have drifted from. Likewise, I became close to 2 of my travel companions in India earlier this year and hardly a week passes where we don’t touch base with each other 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your story x

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  6. I sometimes feel closer to friends online mostly because they don’t disappoint me like friends that I know in person. Not sure if that’s a matter of the shared interests from online friends or if maybe I don’t hold them to as high s standard at friends I know in person. Either way both in person and online friends are great and both sets bring happiness and positives to my life, just in different ways.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s an interesting point in terms of do we set different standards for our online friends compared to our in person friends. I hadn’t really thought of it like that, but definitely something to mull over! Thank you for sharing 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Helen Croft says:

    Lovely thoughts Becky. My oldest friend is Teresa whom I met at primary school. I have been meeting up with my University Hockey Team friends since 1991. Lately an old friend contacted me on Facebook. He wanted to say thanks for some help I gave him growing up. Haven’t seen him for 30 years. On reflection, my soul mate and dearest friend is my partner! Thanks for triggering those thoughts x

    Liked by 1 person

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