Online Friends?

I am curious about how others feel about people they call friends, but have never met. I am speaking specifically about those “friends” that you meet via social media connections suck as Twitter, Instagram, Twitch, Facebook, and such.

I feel like in this current day of being isolated from face-to-face social interaction, which for a lot of us began before the world shut down due to Covid, the lines between what constitutes a friend have blurred.

I have several friends that I know only via some online presence. We interact regularly. We chat via online voice channels. We share online activities (gaming). I am certain that for the majority of these people if I just stopped participating in the shared activities they wouldn’t notice much, if at all. They certainly wouldn’t cease doing whatever it is that we do together, whether that be play games, chat during a stream (of theirs), or just interact via online forums of some sort.

Does this mean that we are not actually friends? I don’t think so, BUT I will say I think that the ability to interact online in these ways has created a new level of ‘friendship’. Maybe we deem it vFriendship, since there is no real world/in person component required.

The question is – ‘Are these types of friendships less valid than any other friendship?’ I have been a remote worker for over 7 years (at the time of this post) over two positions with two companies. At the initial remote position I only met the people from my team in person and even then it was due to me being in the area they called home and us deciding to get together for a meal. In my current position I have yet to meet anyone in person and am not certain when that will happen. Would we say that my professional relationships are not valid due to them being 100% virtual in nature? Nope.

I think the answer is up to each individual person and they/we can apply our determination to each individual relationship as we see fit. Some friendships are more real than others – online and off!

If you have thoughts on this topic feel free to reach out via social media or email and we can continue the conversation!

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