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 ❤️