I snort and then bury my head in the pillow. The bed shakes with my half-stifled laughter. My husband is not amused. "It's 6 a.m., 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 at the moment are people I only see online. It's not that I don't want to have friends who live near me; in fact, I'd give my eye teeth (does anybody know what those actually are?) 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 30-something mother of two, full-time employee, part-time writer and all-the-time wife, it is impossible to find the time to go join into the myriad of activities it takes to make new friends "in real life".
Every time 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 BULLSH*T. So what if my friends are all online? Here are my top six reasons why online friends are just as good as the gals down the street.
6 Reasons Why Online Friends Are the Best:
1. I can pick and choose the amazing people I want to keep in my life without needing to cap them with a 50-mile radius... which is great, as I find that my broadband gets much better miles per gallon than my Honda Jazz.
2. 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.
3. I can hang out with them in my pajamas. OK, truth be told, I also hang out with my local friends in my PJs sometimes, but only with online friends can I do it 100% of the time without fearing repercussions.
4. I can equally *not* hang out with them anytime I want and no one gets upset. "Yesterday? Oh, I was so busy with the kids that I didn't have time to check on Facebook. Sorry about that!" is a perfectly acceptable excuse, no offense taken.
5. I can tell them 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 people 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.
6. 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 Americans 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.
(This post was first seen on The Nomad Mom Diary.)