It’s three in the morning and you need someone to talk to. You’re having an awful night, and no one you go to school with is awake. What do you do? It’s important, and you can either send your friends essays via text message and hope they get back to you, or, you can fire up the computer and talk to your other friends. The internet friends. The ones that have the worst sleep schedule in the world, and the ones you know will be there when no one else is.
The best thing about the fact that they’re internet friends, is that they can give you generally unbiased advice. They don’t know who Jimmy is, so they don’t have to take Jimmy’s side. They’ll help you out, even if it was your fault. They’ll send you memes to make you feel better, or link you songs that they said made them think of you. They’ll awkwardly hit on you at any opportunity, and you’ll have no choice but to admit that it was a good line. If you message them at three in the morning with nothing but a picture of Pepe the frog, they’ll just tell you it’s past your bed time, and you should be sleeping because you have that crappy history exam in the morning.
When we were growing up, we were told to never trust anyone on the internet. We were told that they were going to harm us, that we would get in trouble. And while that was true, what about us? There were so many of us younger kids on the internet. Before the Myspace days, I was in the Yahoo games chat rooms playing JT’s Blocks. Most of the people I played with were just kids as well. So it shouldn’t have come to a surprise that we started to make friends through the internet.
Then the big kid games started to become relevant in my circle of friends. World of Warcraft was a big hit at my school, so it wasn’t long until I started playing that too. I met so many people through that game. Some were awful people, some were magnificent. Some stayed in my life for a few months, others have been there for me for up to seven years now. One friend in particular, I feel as if I’ve grown up with her. I have never met her in my life, and sometimes we forget that. We spent most of our friendship separated by an ocean, and yet it’s never caused any problem between us. We’ve never fought, and I cherish that friendship so much.
Now, I won’t lie, internet friendships can be toxic. I’ve been the victim of cyberbullying from people who were considered my best friends. Tenth grade me wasn’t prepared for that, and I still find myself thinking about the people who did it. What made them do that? At what point did they stop seeing me as a friend? But then I remember what good came from that friendship. Without them, I would never have made my closest online friends. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to prepare myself for any future incidents where a friendship would come to an end. Through them, I gained the ability to react maturely in what could be seen as a childish situation.
So, I just wanted to say thank you to all those who have crossed paths with me online. Whether you lived in Washington, Norway, Colorado, or Wisconsin: I owe you all so much, because you’ve all inspired me and helped me become the person I am now. May one day we'll meet in person.