Are IG friends real friends?

I’ve been a bit preoccupied with work for the last few weeks and so I haven’t been on social media much. It made me think about a few things as a result. New colleagues, a family bereavement and the approach of Christmas got me thinking about the people we have in our lives.

I’ve got a few good flesh and blood friends but as I’ve embraced social media I’ve gathered quite a number of cyber friends. I pre-date online dating by a decade or so and I think I was sceptical of the kinds of relationships you might find by going on the Internet. I’ve never done online dating but I have joined quite a few groups for sharing hobbies, which I think is a good way to get in touch with like-minded people.


These meetups usually lead to IRL events and so any friendships you make become ‘normal’ once you meet in the flesh. I think that’s the mindset I’ve been in and I always got the impression some people kind of give me the side eye when my talk about online friends. ‘…but they’re not real friends, are they?’

What are friends for? They are there for company, for sharing fun, getting drunk with, eating good food with, telling you important stuff you need to know, giving advice, encouragement, sympathy; and for confiding those little things that you need to share with someone. Can you get that from a ‘virtual’ friend?

As I said I’ve been busy with work locked in marking purgatory and I bailed on #bpsewvember as I haven’t been sewing so I felt like I had nothing much to say or show.

What happened recently was a ‘virtual’ friend on my sewing IG reached out to see if I was OK. I hadn’t posted for a while and she’d noticed. It was like getting a hug down the Internet. I was surprised that anyone noticed and more surprised by how I felt when I read the simple message.

Now you can’t really party over the internet, at least I don’t think so but I’ve definitely had some good laughs, good advice and good info, and pats on the back provided by people I only know remotely.

I’ve really got into chatting with people online especially on my sewing IG and joining in with challenges has meant almost daily posting throughout the summer. 

Through the sewing community, in particular, we have talked about sewing, of course, mental health, physical health, getting old, inclusion and diversity and I’ve been able to express some things that I hadn’t realised I’d got bottled up inside. So, YES, online friends are very real, they can give advice, make you laugh, inspire you, boost your ego and CARE ABOUT YOU without ever sharing the same physical space with you. I hope that I will meet some of these people one day but I’m getting so much from them right now.

What do you get from your online friends? Are they real or is social just something to pass the time until you see your in the flesh peeps? 

Thanks for visiting.

About Elaine Batiste

I'm a teacher, a lifelong learner, a traveller, a maker, an adventurer and a 'want to do more' kind of gal.

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