It's so normal to me that I don't even really think about it anymore. Most of my friends are people I met online.
Although I've gotta be honest... Using that phrase "met online" bugs me. It seems to diminish or devalue the experience and the friendships because of the negative connotations it holds for so many.
I never make distinctions like "online friends" and "in real life friends". There is no delineation between them. A friend is a friend, no matter where or how we met.
The friendships I've built over the internet are every bit as real, deep, and authentic as any I've ever built face-to-face.
Maybe even more so.
Because I articulate myself better in writing, I'm quicker to dive into weighty topics over Twitter, email, and blogging than I probably would in person. Then once that groundwork is laid, it's a whole lot easier for me to carry on that conversation offline.
Authenticity breeds authenticity. And while there are those who misrepresent themselves online, the majority of people I've gotten to know have proven themselves to be genuine.
Being real makes others feel safe to do the same.
And that's how great friendships get built.
My life is full of them. And I am so incredibly grateful.
I have more friends now than I've ever had. I don't say that to try to sound popular. (Because, trust me, I'm not. At all.) I say it with a shake of my head and disbelief in my voice. I can't seem to find the right words to convey how astounded and humbled I am by the relationships God has gifted me with.
Because they truly are a gift.
And they have carried me through the most difficult season of my life. Even those people I haven't had the chance to hug yet.
Honestly, as long as we're bringing our true selves, it doesn't matter if we get together in Starbucks or in an email.
Friendships are about connections of the heart.
And hearts hang out in the strangest of places.