This is a little embarrassing to admit, but I don’t really have a best friend.
Growing up I had a few close girlfriends, but being stuck in school with hundreds of other people my age made that easy. You were pretty much forced to hang out and things like work and adult responsibilities never got in the way.
Fast-forward a decade or two, add in a heap of depression/isolation, less exposure to people my age and those pesky adult responsibilities, and friends became less of a thing. This is my fault—no excuses—and most of the time I’m okay with all that.
But then there are times when I’m not.
And it’s those times that I maintain that blogging has saved my life a million times over. I try to steer the direction of this blog away from “serious” things now—this will resume my next post—but there was a time when it served a much different purpose. Instead of staying inside my head—not always a safe place to be—I allowed myself to be honest and vulnerable at times and created some of the strongest personal connections I’ve ever had.
That brings me to my point 200 words later.
I admit that for a long time I was embarrassed about the fact that I had so many close online friendships. I would differentiate between “online friends” and “friends” when talking with people, but then I thought, what the hell?
After all, we now live in a time when we have the opportunity to choose the people we want to surround us not by location or luck, but by similar interests, senses of humor, struggles and successes.
So much goes on behind the scenes of a blog or a website that never goes public—a sick child or spouse, a lost job, a mental breakdown that leaves you panicked and impulsively searching for any way to self-destruct (hypothetically speaking, of course.) But there are people online to remind you that even if you’re physically sitting alone, you never have to feel lonely.
If that’s not a friend, then what is?
And just because the people who “get” you might not be the people you see all that much, that doesn’t make the friendship less real.
True, the fact that I feel like everyone who “gets” me lives thousands of miles away bums me out sometimes. But even though we might be spread wide geographically, I’m still closer to them than anyone I went to school with—by about a million miles.
They support. They entertain. They listen. They can talk you off the ledge that you’re on, knowing they’ve stood there before.
Because after all, that’s what friends are for.
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