Why Online Friends Are Important To Me

When I started book blogging, over 2 years ago now, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t really fully understand what blogging – dedicated blogging – entailed and I wasn’t aware of how big the whole blogging community was. I’ve met a ton of people online; bloggers and authors. Some are acquaintances, some I no longer speak to, some I don’t get along with and others who have become firm friends. Not only did I not understand how many people there were to meet in the blogging world, I also didn’t understand quite how important having online friends would be to me.

friends

As most of you know, blogger and author Lynsey James and I met through blogging. We got to know each other more and more and can now call ourselves best friends. I’ve been lucky enough to meet her twice now, soon to be 3 times in November. I value mine and Lynsey’s friendship a lot but there’s no doubting that there’s a slight stigma attached to having friends online. So I wanted to talk about why my online friendships are important and why they shouldn’t be frowned upon.

1. They have no previous judgement of you

Although you can talk to your online friends about things that have happened in your past – things you’ve done, things you regret and things you wished could be different, they weren’t there to witness it. The judgement between you is a lot, lot less I’ve found and it’s refreshing to start with a completely clean slate with someone.

2. You can meet people from all over the world

As most of you know, bloggers are everywhere. Everywhere. Through the power of blogging and social media, you can meet a whole range of people from all over the world, learn new things and if you’re very lucky, even get the chance to travel somewhere new. I know people from Scotland, Wales, Switzerland and all around the UK.

3. Just because you may have never met, doesn’t mean your friendship is any less real

I’ve had some of the most fun online chatting to my friends from all over and just because I’ve never met them, doesn’t mean they mean any less to me. I’d like to think the people I’m close to online always know I’m here for them if they’re going through a hard time or just need a chat.

4. But having online friends doesn’t mean you care about your real life friends and family any less either

The thing is with online, you’re probably going to be a hell of a lot more people than you could offline because let’s face it, there are thousands upon thousands of bloggers out there! But just how your relationship with your boyfriend is different from your relationship with your best friend. Your online and offline friendships will be slightly different too.

5. You can easily find likeminded people

If you’re a book blogger, chances are 100% of other book bloggers are going to love books. Blogging and making friends online through a shared love of whatever the both of you are doing makes it a lot easier to find new friends and acquaintances as you already have something in common.

I took the question to Twitter and here’s what some people had to stay about how much their online friendships mean to them and whether they think there’s a stigma attached to it:

@angelwhispers_: “I value my online friendships every bit as much as my ‘face-to-face’ ones. Why not?! It’s a chance to reach out to people. I feel there’s a great deal of stigmatisation and ignorance about online friendships and I don’t understand it. I hate when people (who, btw, probably use the Internet themselves) go on about ‘getting offline and meeting real people’. It can offer a voice to some of this societies most side-lined members. They can have a ‘virtual megaphone’. So, If we can use this wonderful tool to achieve all these things, why not friendships, dating, meeting like-minded people?”

@littl3b00ts: “I value them as sometimes because you’ve never met they can give the best unbiased advice. I’d also love to meet my online friends too!”

@UnderToWonder: “I technically started seeing my partner (of 4 years) through the internet. Some of the people I regard as my best friends I haven’t actually even met yet – some I may never as they live across the other side of the world. The great thing about internet friendships is that they are real. You get a chance to meet people you wouldn’t usually, people who share your interests. You don’t just have them as friends because they’re there like in school/work because you genuinely connect with them!”

@AvidReaderBlog: “There’s definitely a stigma to meeting people online but the people I’ve met are some of the best people I’ve ever known. They understand me better and are some of the kindest people ever. They’re absolutely wonderful!”

What are your views on this topic? Do you have online friends and acquaintance and agree? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

46 thoughts on “Why Online Friends Are Important To Me

  1. Online friends are just as much real friends as any other! The best, of course, is if you can meet and build an on-line friendship – and then turn it into real, full “in-the-flesh” friendships.

    I’ve met a lot of writer friends (and others), initially on line, and later “for real” They have all turned out to be pretty damn nice!

  2. I agree so much! I’m pretty terrible at making friends online, especially book blogging, no matter how much I want to try haha – but the online friends I /do/ have are so so important to me. In fact, one of my friends that I ‘met’ online when we were teenagers (through our mutual intense love of the Jonas Brothers) lives in America. We sort of lost contact while both at university but then discovered that we both have book blogs and it has brought us closer together again. The internet is a wonderful thing and I really need to make more of an effort to make more friends on it because there are so many amazing people out there I could be talking to!

    I remember the stigma attached to having online friends when I was younger – my family were all worried, people thought that it meant I couldn’t make friends in ‘real life’, my friends at the time thought that I cared more about people in other countries. Now I think people have come around to it a lot more, at least in my experience, those friends who worried about it now think it’s pretty cool, my sister has a lot of online friends through Facebook/Instagram/Neopets who have helped her when she became a mum, and well… my mum is still in awe that we can talk to people who aren’t right in front of us. Haha.

    Great post Jenny! x

    • Fantastic comment! There are so many amazing bloggers out there, don’t be scared to introduce yourself and get to know them! 99.9% are absolutely lovely and you can never have too many online buddies! I’m always around for a chat if you want!

      That’s amazing about your friend in America and that you discovered you both have book blogs! For people who live in different parts of the planet, it’s an awfully small world! (: xx

  3. I’ve met some of my best friends on the internet! Like you said, just because you’ve never met, doesn’t mean your friendship is less real. In fact, I often feel more comfortable talking about the difficult stuff to people I don’t know IRL. I love having friends all over the world, in all time zones, and when you meet up, it’s like you knew each other all along!

    • I have to agree – it is easier talking to a friend from afar about problems than someone who lives down the road who knows your life inside out. When I met Lynsey it didn’t feel like we’d never met at all! And when she came to stay again earlier this month, I hadn’t even thought about the fact we’d only met once before. It’s crazy! (: xx

  4. There are some very cool people online. I met one recently and was so great to put a face to the name. Even skyped with one or two. If you ever come to the UK again feel free to let me know.

  5. Since joining Twitter, I’ve finally met other authors. Their friendship has become invaluable to me, helping me feel part of the writing community and in turn, taking myself seriously as an author. A couple months later, I have a publishing deal and it’s a lot thanks to their support.

    • Wow! Congratulations on your publishing deal, what an incredible achievement! I agree, my dream to become an author as well has developed since blogging and meeting fellow blog writers and authors. Most of them are obcredibly supportive and if it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t have even continued with my manuscript. It’s amazing how people in all different parts of the world can have such an affect on each other (: xx

  6. I believe that online friends and friendships are just as real as the ones offline! I don’t think it should be frowned upon. I mean, sure there the whole issue of the danger of meeting people online as being fakes and weirdos, but it’s rare.
    I value my online friendships so much because I’ve met so many people who share similar thoughts and traits as me. I agree with all your points too! Online friendships are so valuable, because there are so many people out there that, offline, we’d never have the opportunity to meet but the internet gives us that gateway to connect with people from everywhere!
    Online friendships should not be considered any less real because in the end, we are all REAL people communicating through a MEDIUM knows as the internet!
    And I’ve personally met so many people that I just adore. Including you!
    I loved reading this post, its great that you addressed this.
    ❤ xoxo

    • Thank you so much and I totally agree. I honk the Internet is a wonderful thing. It gives you the ability to open up and meet people (virtually) and experience different lives and cultures through them people that, like you said, you never would have before. Obviously there’s a small risk, like with everything but as long as you’re smart and careful, there’s no reason online friends should be frowned upon (: it’s been absolutely lovely meeting and talking to you through blogging too! (: xx

  7. Reblogged this on BrizzleLass and commented:
    I love this post and just had to share it. My best friend who lives in USA, and I met through our blogs over 10 yrs ago! (She also met her Husband, a real life friend of mine through blogging…true story). Another of my closest friends is in Australia and again we met online, have worked together (remotely) and have been friends for 7/8 years now. I even met my Husband online. My online friendships have sustained more and lasted through much more than many (although not all) of my “real life” friendships.

    I value these friendships every day and the new friends I make online daily point towards new friendships I could have for a lifetime. Just today I met up with two Twitter friends in “real life” for the first time making that transition from online to real once again.

    Jenny has touched on so many good and promising points in this post, I will stop rambling now and let you read!

  8. I love my online friends and I value them so much. I can always count on them to be there for me when I feel like my “real” friends aren’t. I dislike how online friendship is sometimes frowned upon, but I think the stigma has lessened in the last couple of years.
    I’m also meeting one of my online friends for the first time this autumn and I’m so excited!
    Great post Jenny! ♥

    • I agree I think it’s decreased too and that’s great. As the Internet and doing things online becomes more popular the stigma lessens and it becomes more normal. Ooh reslly? That’s so exciting, have a great time! Thank you (: xx

  9. Great post gorgeous!
    Online friends are really important to me!!! Like you with Lynsey, I have met Maryline through blogging. We’ve gotten really close and text each other every day, similar with author Aven Ellis. I can talk about anything with them and they are always there for me. Sometimes I even feel that my online friends understand me better than some of me real friends. I’m also very grateful for your friendship, exchanging letters with you has been really great.
    I have found so many people with the same interests through blogging and that makes me really happy! I’ve met some of my online friends now and it’s been wonderful, hope I can meet many more in person! xxx

    • Thanks lovely, I completely agree! I rarely go a day without speaking to Lynsey – and I couldn’t imagine my life without her or any of my close blogger friends now. Seriously, it makes me realise how little people I knew before all of this! I also feel like I can talk to you all about stuff more freely than people IRL (speaking of, I believe I have an email I need to reply to!) we will definitely meet one day! (: xx

  10. Great post Jenny, I love the bloggers I have discovered and have discovered me. It is so nice to meet a bunch of people from all over the world who can understand being pissed of by a book being crap or be impatient at waiting on a new release but it is so much more than that.

    I have taken part in discussions that cover so much more than books, I love it and wish I had started blogging years ago!

    • Thank you Heather! I didn’t realise how many amazing people there were out there to meet! And totally get that, bloggers just UNDERSTAND the blogging frustrations that people IRL just don’t haha! (: xx

  11. I greatly value the people I’ve befriended online. Two good friends are Aussies. We’ve had good times, and exchanged wonderful views. I have another friend in Brazil, one in Italy, and a few in the UK

    With online friends, you have that potential to find friends the world over, and the cultural exchange can be awesome. Now, you might think ‘well people in the UK and Australia speak English, they must be similar to Americans.’. They aren’t. The languages aren’t even the same!

    I moved away from where my closest ‘real’ friends are. 3000 miles to be exact. Now we communicate online mostly as well. Two of the closest relationships I have today began through an online community.

    • I agree, the cultural side of it is something I love and will always respect. Haha I can totally understand that – I’m just outside London and I bet you wouldn’t have a clue what I was talking about hah! (: xx

  12. I think the best thing about the internet is that people are more ready to be themselves – to admit to their ‘geekish’ interests and so on – because there is ALWAYS someone out there who agrees with you! It’s the quickest way to meet like-minded people.

    • Yes, agreed! It’s more risky if you’re in a club and you randomly proclaim that you make weddings on the Sims for your fictional boyfriend and yourself. But like, on Twitter, you’re bound to find someone who does the same hahaha! (: xx

  13. I’ve never met anyone from blogging – there are a few i’d love to though! But when I traveled in Australia I did meet up with two people that I met on a forum for the period drama North & South. I’d totally forgotten that was how I met them originally until now lol! x

    • Funny that, when you become such good friends how you met; on or offline kinda becomes irrelevant doesn’t it? Same with me and Lynsey now – I know we met online and 99% of our friendship is based online but it doesn’t feel that way when I see her! (: xx

  14. Love my online friends, I met one of my online friends Rach a few years ago. We got chatting through her Personal trainer who was running a hashtag called #fitteam13 and while we lived a while away from each other, me in Bristol and her in London it was good to get to know someone with things in common.
    She put a random tweet up one day saying she was going on her own to Morocco to a surf and yoga camp for two weeks and if anyone wanted to join more the merrier so I signed up. We’d never met yet here we were booking a holiday together. Thankfully we had a great time and Rach has become a good friend. She’s a very motivated person and someone I look up to and who challenges me a lot, something I love her and hate her for in equal measures sometimes.
    If it wasn’t for twitter we would never have met and enjoyed a fab holiday together, learning new skills and pushing each other to do things we were afraid of.

    Here’s to our fabulous online friends 🙂
    x

    • Wow that’s amazing! What an unusual way to meet someone for the first time but I bet you had an amazing time and made some incredible memories. Cheers to online friends! At least you two don’t live worlds apart! (: xx

  15. Other bloggers know things that I don’t know, and they blog about them! I’ve learned so much about gardening, pet care, writing, and all sorts of things I’d never even heard of, just by visiting other blogs. The blogging community has been very supportive of me as I stumble my way along in cyberspace. You’re good people, online folks.

    • I agree! I’ve been so inspired and learnt so many new things from my online friends! One of them even agreed to teach me German! There’s so much more to learn and discover – and it’s always better with a friend along the way, even if they do live on the other side of the world! (: xx

  16. This is such a lovely post! I love the fact that you can connect with someone who lives halfway across the world, it’s a lovely thing. There’s one lovely girl I met through blogging who lives across in Australia and she’s so nice and we still regularly comment on each other’s blogs and keep in touch each day, and a few years back I was regularly chatting with a lovely girl who lives in the Philippines! She doesn’t blog much anymore now, but it’s always a great feeling to have online friendships and even pen-pals, especially when it’s with someone who you’ve bonded with over something you both love, I love it! – Tasha

  17. I’ve met a couple of people I met online offline later, and I agree that it’s a great way to meet like-minded people. I also feel very fondly about some of the people I know online! Personally, I need to meet people face to face before I’d consider them good friends, simply because from my experience it CAN be a different beast altogether and you might not click with someone as much offline (or click with them even more than you thought!), and I just need face to face contact from time to time. I’m absolutely in favor of meeting people you’ve met online (with the necessary safety precautions yadda yadda), but I hate that they usually live so far away, because while it’s AWESOME to have friends all over the place, it’s also depressing when you just can’t see each other that much. A lot of my friends (who I didn’t meet online) are already all over the place because of different universities or jobs or just life basically, so I’m already frustrated about that. I appreciate that other people feel differently about this though, and I completely respect that as well! Generally, I’m very thankful for the internet and the possibilities to meet awesome people all over the place though! I believe it definitely enriches my understanding of the world and it can be a hell of a lot of fun.

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