(So my darling friend GG mentioned in a text today that she had written a guest blog for me for whenever I wanted it. Excuses to not figure out what to write are always welcome. And she made me cry, so that’s a plus. Have her lovely post in which she explains things I often want to tell people.)
I can’t seem to write anything for my own blog so I’ll write for someone else’s. That’s how that works, right?
This one blogger I know keeps mentioning that I could write a guest blog for her. It’s like I’m a highly desirable celebrity author or something. Or maybe she only mentioned it like twice. A little fame goes to my head, it seems. Either way, I think she likes my writing, but I really can’t be sure.
I guess we’ll know for sure once we see if she posts this or not. *Distant maniacal chuckling*
So I started writing this post without having any idea of where it was going. That hasn’t actually changed yet, but I might have an inkling.
It’s also worth mentioning that I started this one friendship years ago without any idea of where it was going. I mean, I met this chick online, so that’s real sketchy. For all I knew, she was from another planet and had two hearts and a time machine.
Actually, that’s part of why online friendships are so tempting…
Online relationships can get a bad rap. Whether it’s friendships, romantic relationships, or surprise adoptions, everyone views your “friend” with a somewhat critical eye. First they question if you actually exist. Then they question if you are who you say you are. Then they question your motives and accuse you of being a creepy sixty year old dude. (I’m not. I’d have better taste in music.)
Don’t get me wrong, I am completely in favor of double-checking, triple-checking, and over-protectively checking on the people you speak with online. I’ve met up with a lot of my internet friends in my time and it was never without thorough background checks, despite what my suspicious friends may think.
But there’s something different about the friendships you make that don’t come from proximity or mutual friends. If you think about it, most of your childhood friends were the people with whom you happened to share a social circle. Your college friends more often than not are people you met within your first year of being at school. It’s like picking a desk at the beginning of class: I started with this one, I’m not about to mess with the status quo and move somewhere else halfway through the term. (Don’t get me wrong, I love my college friends and I’m amazed when I think how arbitrary the circumstances were that led us to meet. And by arbitrary I mean thank you, God, for sending me to the right awkward freshman meeting at the right time.) The rest of your friends probably come from work or through mutual friends.
My internet friends were people I met because we had similar interests. We were on the same forum or the same Facebook post and realized we shared something. We weren’t forced together.
After that we had an abnormal amount of control over where our relationship went. We could have that one conversation and never speak again. We could keep crossing paths and never bother to try a deeper friendship and there wouldn’t be any awkwardness. Or we could try talking to each other and if it didn’t work we could just drop it and never think about it again.
Obviously I’m not suggesting that this is how normal friendship works. There are so many opportunities to accidentally hurt someone or lead them on without ever knowing it. If all relationships were like this we would all be nervous wrecks. There is sometimes surprisingly little accountability for how you interact with strangers online. But that makes the times when you are accountable all the more important.
I could have dropped this blogger anytime. I could have decided, “Oh, you’ve never read Harry Potter? Not interested anymore.” “Oh, you’re going off to college and you won’t be online as much? Not worth my time to keep trying to talk to you.” “My life is falling apart? Not worth my effort to keep in touch with people I never see. How do I know they actually care?” She could have done the same. She could have bailed on me during one of my novel-length rants about my problems and decided I was way too much trouble. (Because I am. But thankfully she loves me anyway.)
But she didn’t. And I didn’t. And many of my other close friends didn’t. I’ve been burned by people dropping out of my life on the internet almost as many times as I’ve been burned by people ditching me “in real life” as the rest of the world is called. (Because my friends who talk to me on the internet are my imaginary friends.) But the friendships that have worked out are more than worth the pain of those previous poor decisions.
I don’t know when a friendship becomes something you plan to keep for the rest of your life, no matter how much effort it takes. Maybe it’s when someone puts up with you for a year of your life that you don’t even remember. Maybe it’s when you make surprise cross-country trips together and they put up with your explaining the entire plot of the Harry Potter series for six hours. Maybe it’s when you interrupt someone’s attempts at sleep at five in the morning to say “Hey, remember when I told you I was alright? I lied.” and they don’t pretend to be asleep.
All I know is, these friendships aren’t any less “real” because we happened to meet on the internet. I dare you to tell me they’re less important because I haven’t known them for as long or they don’t live as close to me. Because I have like the sixth friendship bracelet a friend has re-made for me because I keep wearing them out. I have an erasable pen from Japan that will make you wish your friends gave presents that cool. I have the prettiest Evenstar necklace you’ll ever see.
And I have a blogger friend who does a pretty fantastic job in her aspirations to be like a certain Samwise Gamgee. (Hey look, you can link to your own post, dear https://tuesdaynews.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/i-can-carry-you/ I said it and you can’t try to deny it. *Sticks tongue out*)
And now I’m going to make fun of myself because that’s a good way to end a blog.