One of the first things kids are told when they learn to use a computer is that they shouldn't talk to strangers on the internet. As you grow up, the threat of someone finding out personal information about you via computer seems to just disappear over time. Of course, you gain more common sense as you grow up and 15-year-old you aren't going to straight up tell someone your home address because you aren't stupid.
Sometimes these internet "strangers" end up being some of the best people in your life at the moment. They can be people just down the road in another city or town, or they can even be across the country. It doesn't matter how far they are, you bond over a common interest or experience. These are the people that you can talk to about that one thing that no one else really likes, or that nobody really knows enough about to have an in-depth conversation with you. These are people you become so close with that you can share any kind of meme, inside joke, story, or any other thing that you's share with any other friend.
This is a letter to those friends that I met not too long ago, but I feel like I've known for much longer. We live across the country from each other with just about a thousand miles between us (time zones are a pain), but it doesn't even seem like that far. We've bonded over a sport and a team and specific players, and we continue to find other things in common and introduce each other to new things every day. There are some of my favorite things now that I wouldn't know about if it weren't for you.
Thank you for introducing me to those various things. Thank you for coming into my life and changing the way I see certain things and thank you for giving me, a Texan, a place to talk about ice hockey, one of the most unpopular sports in my home state. I know I might not talk to you all as much as I'd truly like to, as life sometimes gets in the way, but just know that I'm so thankful for you.
Meeting a friend in real life or having not met them at all doesn't make a difference in how real friendship is. Friendship isn't based on how often people talk to each other or how far apart or close to each other people live, or how long they've known each other. Friendship is based on people deciding they wanted to be friends and then doing it. I am so glad we decided to be friends.