I snort and then bury my head in the pillow. The bed shakes with my half-stifled laughter. Nomad Papa is not amused. “It’s 6am, why are you laughing?” he asks. “My friend just said the funniest thing,” I respond as I wipe the tears from my eyes. He raises his head in concern, looks around the empty room and then asks, very hesitantly, “Honey, do you have an imaginary friend?”
Most of my friends are people I’ve met online. It’s not that I don’t want to have friends who live near me, in fact I’d give my eye teeth (which teeth are those exactly? whatever, doesn’t matter…) to make just one friend here. But if there is one thing I’ve learned since our move last year, it is that if you are a thirty-something, mother of two, full-time employee, part-time writer, all the time wife, it is impossible to find the time to make new friends “in real life”.
Everytime I go online to hang out with my awesome online friends, I am bashed over the head by some article decrying the negative effects social media and virtual lives are having on us. You know what? I say BULLSHIT. So what if my friends are all online? Here are my top 6 reasons why online friends are just as good as the gals down the street.
Six Reasons Why Online Friends Are Awesome
- I can pick and choose the amazing people I want to keep in my life without needing to cap them with a fifty-mile radius. Which is great as I find that my broadband gets much better miles per gallon than my Honda Jazz.
- I can talk to my friends ANYTIME I want. I have a hard time remembering my one item grocery list, so I really appreciate being able to send a little note whenever I think of something funny to say. I’m pretty sure my friends equally appreciate getting to hear the joke before I forget the punchline.
- I can hang out with them in my pajamas. Ok, truth be told, I also hang out with my local friends in my PJ’s sometimes, but only with online friends can I do it 100% of the time without fearing repercussions.
- I can equally *not* hang out with them anytime I want and no one gets their panties in a wad. “Yesterday? Oh, I was so busy with the kids that I didn’t have time to check on facebook. Sorry about that!” – perfectly acceptable excuse, no offense taken.
- I can tell them ANYTHING. Anything. I find that cyber wall to be more effective than the screen in the confessional. It is incredibly freeing to be able to complain or confess or whine or whatever to a bunch of women who have never met and probably never will meet my family/coworkers/local friends/etc. It’s a lot cheaper than a therapist, that’s for sure, and the advice is probably better.
- It is a wide, wide world filled with wildly hilarious, deeply passionate and incredibly caring individuals. Thanks to social media and blogging, I get to interact with all of them.
So what if all of my friends are online. I fall asleep chuckling with the American and Canadians and wake up commiserating with people in Europe and Asia. This is one of the greatest blessings technology has bestowed upon my life…the chance to meet people who walk parallel paths to my own. If you can’t see this for the blessing that it is, maybe, just maybe the problem is with you.