Having grown up on the edges of the internet generation the concept of internet friends, or online friends, is one that I have been aware of for almost all of my. Or at least since early on in secondary school when things Like MySpace, Bebo, and then Facebook was taking off. My age, the fact that my parents monitored my internet, and that I was far more interested in reading fanfiction than socialising, meant that I never had a MySpace or a Bebo and as a teen I never really had any internet friends, though I had friends that did.
It was only as I got into my late teens and very early twenties that I actively started trying to make friends on the internet. A lot of people scorn internet friends, perhaps in part because they don’t really understand it. Personally I wanted to be able to talk to people about things that I couldn’t necessarily talk to my real life friends about, things like my dyspraxia, T.V. shows I liked, and at that time, my questions about my sexuality.
However, my first attempts at making friends on the internet didn’t really happen at all. I tried using Tumblr, but I didn’t really understand it and as it turns out starting a conversation with strangers on the internet can be just as nerve wracking as it is in real life. It also turns out that just having one or two things in common with someone doesn’t always mean that you’re bound to hit it off and trying to force friendships usually only makes it worse.
It wasn’t until last year that I started to make friends on the internet, this time more by accident than force. I’d joined Twitter in an attempt to find more people to talk about some of my favourite T.V. shows, The 100 and Wynonna Earp. Both shows that I loved, but that none of my “real life” friends were particularly into. Whilst I was there I stumbled across a game, a Wynonna Earp version of Cards Against Humanity that a group of people played online every week. I was bored and decided to play, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I hit it off right away with many of the members of those that played, their interests and sense of humour lining up with mine. It wasn’t long before I was added to their little group and it felt like I’d been there forever. These people became fast friends and, while many people may not understand it, these are people I would consider to be among my best friends.
At first I had never met any of them, and then we discovered that a I lived just a few miles away from one of the others in my group, and a train ride from another. Now I’ve met probably around half of the members in our group, and I hope one day to meet more of them. Though that’s easier said than done when many of them live on different continents.
Despite that, these are people who have laughed with me, cried with me, waited impatiently for the newest episodes of Wynonna Earp with me. People that I love and cherish, and that I generally annoy and wind up a great deal of the time. We have inside jokes, stories to tell, memories that we share. Even if they all bring up THAT time I fell in the bush far too many times for my liking. They’re people that I want in my life hopefully forever. I really hope that when we’re all old, grey, and definitely not any more well behaved we’ll still be talking regularly. Laughing, joking, loving. Oh and winding Liz up about her love of Cacti of course.