Yes, you read that correctly. “Fake Friends”
In a time now past, my wife identified my online friends as “fake friends”.
Why? Why would she do this? And more importantly, to me anyway, was she correct in identifying hundreds of people I interacted with online as being “fake”?
Good question. And then one day we met some of them in person at a conference in Nashville. Suddenly these people had faces and voices and full bodies instead of simply a profile pic. These online personalities were suddenly real people. Face to face conversation occurred.
Is that what makes online relationships real? Face to face personal contact?
Or, can an online relationship be true friendship without ever meeting in person. Does 2D need to become 3D or IRL (In Real Life) before a friendship has validation?
I’m going to argue for a “no” answer to the question.
Some of my best friends only exist in online interactions. Without ever meeting in person, I have developed incredibly solid friendships with dozens of people.
As of this moment, I have 1,632 “Friends” on Facebook.
Undoubtedly I don’t interact daily with each of them. But, there are a few I interact with every single day and I would miss them if a day went by without touching base with them.
I know some of you don’t think online friends can be true friends.
I know others of you would fade into the background of life if not for your online friends.
I also know how much joy I have when I get to meet one of these online friends in person.
Deep, deep, personal relationships have been developed online. I thank God everyday for these relationships. I can’t imagine my life without these people. I can’t imagine not having the interaction, the community, the family.
A year ago my best friend moved to South Carolina. I miss him. We’ve known each other for over 36 years. We’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve not talked to each other for months on end because one of us was stupid, which turned into both of us being stupid, but we always came back together.
I miss not being able to have breakfast with him on a morning I need him or he needs me.
But now he’s in South Carolina. How do we continue?
We become online friends.
It still takes work. Lots of work. Intentional work. The exact same work an in-person, 3D, IRL friendship takes.
And now I need to admit, I need to put in more work. I need to be intentional with my now 2D, online friend. He moved away, but in this age of technology we don’t need to move away from our almost 4 decade friendship.
So, Eric? Expect an email, or a Facebook message, or a text, or a Skype request.
That’s what I’m going to do. Be intentional. Online.
What are you going to do?