Last week I started lamenting how my real-life friends have let me down. And what happened in response is that my online friends came to the rescue. I am so appreciative that happened, bc it made me feel like I was no longer alone and that there were actually tons of kind and awesome people in the world. I just hadn’t quite clearly recognized it until then.
So I wanted to create a list detailing the reasons why online friends are better than real life friends. Here’s my list I’ve come up with:
1. Physical appearance doesn’t matter. You can interact with online friends in your jammies, in your comfy tees with stains on them, or nekkid even. And any personal hygiene issues won’t even matter. Nobody online will know if you stink. 🤗
2. Confidentiality. If you pay attention to protecting your privacy online (as I do), then you can vent about your most private issues and still have trust that your secret won’t be shared. In real life, there are so many human interactions that are out of your control. For example, in real life if I vent about a coworker at work, even to someone I believe is my friend, the risk is still inherently high that my secret will get out. This risk still exists online so you have to be careful, but more of that risk is within your control if you protect your identity.
3. Just-in-Time Interactions. Sometimes you just need a friend. NOW. But your real-life friends have jobs and families and their own lives and you’ll have to fit into their schedule somehow and it probably won’t be NOW. Or anytime soon. Online friends also have their own priorities, but there’s a much better chance that when you cast your net online, at least one of them can be available for kind words or a listening ear. It might not be the same person each time, but odds are in your favor that someone will be available and will rise to the occasion and be your friend at the moment that you need.
4. No fake friendships. In real life, sometimes you just HAVE to maintain relationships with people you don’t even like, or people that stress you out and give you anxiety, etc. For example, if I don’t like some of the moms from my daughter’s soccer team bc they gossip quite cruelly about others, well… I’m kinda out of luck bc they’re going to be in my life for YEARS. And the easiest way to deal with that is to fake friendships with them to maintain the illusion that everything is good. With online friends however, there is always the option to block them if they start becoming toxic or they engage in activities that make you uncomfortable.
5. Diversity. With real-life friends, there are usually many commonalities which bring them together in the first place – either growing up in the same neighborhood, going to the same school, working at the same office, going to the same church, or kids playing on the same soccer team, etc. With online friends on the other hand, no such common origin story exists to bring them together and you’ll end up creating friendships with people from all over the world with a variety of different mindsets, cultures, and experiences. And interacting with these globally diverse people can help us to grow and see ourselves and our situations much more critically.
So that’s my first-pass at creating this list. Definitely let me know your thoughts. Or if there’s anything I can add to improve it.
Love you all xoxo