When I was growing up, we were all taught the dangers of speaking to people online, especially people we didn’t know. It was drilled into me that if anyone I didn’t know started talking to me online, they wanted to kidnap me & sell me for body parts. MSN was crawling with older men trying to send me messages or video chat, I was always a block & delete sorta gal’ I like all my limbs thank you very much! Also, if you formed online friendships no way did you admit it! It was such a taboo subject. If you made friends online it meant you were a weirdo who couldn’t make friends in real life..
However as I got older and started blogging, talking to people I met online was the new norm. I suddenly discovered this whole new world where you could speak to complete strangers and form some sort of friendship. Nobody in real life knew I blogged so being able to log in to a social network and be surrounded by like minded people was incredible! We shared ideas and motivated each other, I made some lovely friendships!
I’m not lying when I say that meeting people online, after having Teddy, CHANGED my life. Hands down, they saved me. During the horrific sleepless nights, the days I felt like the worst mum in the world & the times when I felt like an absolute boss – there was always somewhere to share with, rant to & cheer me up.
On the internet you can whoever the hell you want to be, you aren’t tied down by the girl you were in high school. Whether you were the popular girl or the girl who kept to her small group & friends and hated all the drama.
When I was pregnant I met three gals on Instagram who were also pregnant & we were all due within three months of each other (we ended up having babies in April, May and two little babes at the beginning & end of June) so we really shared our whole pregnancies, labours and early motherhood together. And when I say really, I mean really. We shared live updates during labour, they were the first people I announced Teddy’s arrival too & the first people I turned to when I felt my life was falling apart around me. I can’t even describe to you how much I love those girls & their little boys (oh yeah, we all had boys!), they are the reason that Teddy is still here and I didn’t end up swapping him for a bottle of vodka on a Facebook page.
After having Teddy I discovered a whole new world on Twitter – the parenting world – it was scary as shit but my god did I need them. I spoke to people when Teddy was a couple of days old and we still speak pretty much everyday now. They share my fears and know exactly what to say to lift me back up again. They never judge, always encourage me in everything I do & are honestly the biggest cheerleaders you will find.
The things I love most about online friendships is the lack of pressure, they KNOW how full on motherhood is & you don’t worry that they’ll fuck you off & abandon you if you forget to text back. You can really bare your soul and say it like it is without any awkwardness or judgement. They aren’t friendships based on proximity or convenience, you are friends because you CHOOSE to be. The people I have met online have been an absolute breath of fresh air into a world that I was terrified of. Motherhood, parenting… it can be so lonely, so surrounding yourself with people who know exactly how you are feeling, can share their experiences and journey’s.. it is everything.
I no longer feel the need to separate my “IRL” friends and my “internet” friends into two categories. Years ago I used to play online friendships down as if they were nothing & just something a little silly that I dipped into but now my friends ARE my friends. I’ll say their names & just talk about them normally rather than “well this girl on Twitter said…”, Aaron knows the girls I speak to because I speak about them as if I’ve seen them that day.
I actually find it quite hard to form “IRL” friendships, ask my best friend, she’ll tell you, it took us a good couple of months to warm up to each other LOL! I constantly have a guard up & I think the resting bitch face puts people off LOL. I can’t help it, I don’t mean to but I find it REALLY hard to let people in. Which isn’t the case when it comes to online – I can be my true cold hearted self & they still love me. Jokes. A little bit.
The internet doesn’t have to be this scary place, full of trolls & bullying. If you surround yourself with people who you would surround yourself with in “real life”, it can be amazing. You wouldn’t put up with someone in person if they put you down or made you feel anything less than happy, so don’t feel like you have to take it on the internet.
Some people base friendship on proximity, “how can you be friends with people you’ve never met?” quite easily it would appear! We have bonded over a passion, whether that be blogging or a love for the same tv series. We have bonded over being mothers, sharing the highest of highs & the lowest of lows. I now have friends who live on the other side of the country who I will unfortunately probably NEVER meet (SOB) but that doesn’t mean I don’t value their friendship just as much as the girl who lives down the road.
I believe that only people who have TRULY experienced online friendships will appreciate the beauty of them.
YOUR ONLINE FRIENDSHIPS
“I think I’ve met some little gems in the online world. They have time to listen (via messenger!) and they seem to get me on a different level to real life friends. There seems to be a different kind of comradery and I like it! Also, I can chat to my online pals whilst day on my pjs with a glass of wine and no pressure to look physically perfect. That’s pretty awesome!” – KELLY ALLEN WRITER
“My online friendships are just as important as my real life friendships if not more. My girls are in the group chat when I’m up with a screaming baby in the middle of the night ready to cheer me on, they’re there when I’m having a breakdown over my baby growing up and for a post-mortem of love island at 10pm” – 2 NERDS AND A BABY
“The girls in my group chats are my rocks. We talk every day and they are always there for me whenever I’m losing my shit and I don’t know what I’d do without them if I’m honest. I owe 90% of my sanity in my constant sleep deprived state to them!” – GEE GARDNER
“Some of my best friends are those I met on line, and one of best friends in all the world is someone I met through blogging. I honestly don’t think I would have continued blogging without her daily pep talks to spur me on. Online friendships have proved invaluable for me.” FIVE LITTLE DOVES
“I would never have pushed through and made blogging into a career if it wasn’t for my online blogging buddies. It is amazing to have such a positive group of friends who encourage you and give you the confidence to go for it. My “real life” friends don’t have a clue about blogging so to have people to turn to for advice and support has enabled me be able to support my family – and for that I’m ever in debt to online friends.” – TWINDERELMO