Recently, I came across a conversation questioning whether or not online friends can be considered true friends. Can you really be friends with someone you never met in person? At the time, I wasn’t too sure what my opinion was on the topic.
Last night, however, I discovered many reasons to say yes: online friends can truly be friends, whether you have met them in person or not.
I had a pretty rough night last night. Being a single mom is hard. Even though I live with my friend of twenty something years, along with her husband and elderly mother (my adopted family), much of the time I feel very alone in a crowded house. I know my adopted little family loves my girls and me. What they don’t really understand is the scar left over from my divorce; how hard it is to live with a happily married couple. They love being hands on with the kids when it comes to the fun stuff, but aren’t necessarily sure when to jump in for the hard stuff. That’s okay. I don’t really know when to tell them to jump in either.
My point is that I feel alone most of the time. Raising three teenage girls is incredibly rewarding, but also terrifying. Add in the fact my oldest child is Autistic, and well, I could spend hours telling you everything I’m afraid of moving toward the future.
Last night my oldest had a pretty decent meltdown. I didn’t handle things the way I feel I should have, and so while she cried in her room, I went and cried in mine. Everyone in the house had to have heard the meltdown. No one came to check on me. I wasn’t angry they didn’t check. I mean, meltdowns are pretty regular around here. I did feel all alone and sad though. I wanted to talk to somebody, but didn’t have the strength to start the conversation on my own.
So I went on Twitter, where no one knows me in my every day life. I made a simple post about feeling like I was failing as a mom. How I would never change my kiddo, but some days I wish I understood things better so I could help her better. Simple.
Over the next two hours I had so many great conversations with people who simply took the time to comment on my post. Some were parents with kids who also have special needs. We were able to swap stories and encourage each other. Others just left a simple “Hang in there!” A couple even messaged directly to lend their thoughts and support.
No one had to say anything. Certainly they didn’t have to have a back and forth conversation with me. But many of them did anyway. Instead of going to bed depressed and feeling hopeless last night, I went to sleep feeling encouraged by my friends.
My online friends.
Sure, I have never seen their faces in person, but when I needed someone to talk to, they were there for me. They talked me through a rough spot.
If you ask me, that’s what friends do.
I’m thankful for the people I have met online and have conversations with each day. They make me laugh and cheer me up when the week is rough. There’s really no difference between these friends and the ones I see in person each week.
So the next time someone asks me if I think online friends can be real friends, I know I won’t hesitate to answer “YES!”