Do you have friends in real life? Do you have a best friend?
I ask because many people don’t and we’re wondering what the big deal is? Why do we surround ourselves with people all the time? Who told us that to be a normal human being you had to have lots of friends?
As I get older, I find the need to have friends lessens every day. My life is simple. I work from home, as does my wife. My wife and I spend all our time together, along with our daughter. My family fulfills my need for human companionship.
I find I don’t want anyone else in my life. Trying to please others is not something that interests me. It would add complexity that I don’t want.
I’ve tried to be friends with different people, but I’m always disappointed. I am the kind of person who gives of myself without expecting a return. Most people I run into aren’t like that. They are always expecting. They feel entitled to certain things based only on the code of friendship.
I’m tired of games.
Can’t we all be Facebook friends?
I do have friends online. I have a lot of them. Most of the people I call friends are writers like myself. We are a reclusive lot who spend countless hours hunched over a keyboard creating stories. We have little stomach for bullshit.
We all come together so well because we understand each other’s needs and wants. Committing to having friends in real life (IRL) requires more from us than we want to give away. We all have our issues, and we don’t want to add other baggage to our own.
What’s wrong with online friends?
When I’m depressed and feeling down, I share my feelings in a post. My friends read it and support me in my time of need. When they are down, I do the same. Some even take it a step further and chat with me on Messenger.
When somebody is celebrating a win, we all join in on the celebration. When we see a picture or meme that we know others would like, we share it.
We laugh. We joke. We cry. We complain. Isn’t that what friends are supposed to do?
We have issues between friends. Some of my friends don’t like my other friends. The beauty of this arrangement is that these two groups of friends can exist separate from the other. I don’t have to be in the middle of a conflict! I can be friends with all of them!
I don’t have to be fake with my online friends. I don’t post stylized pictures showing how great my life is. They all see my pimples and bad teeth. They see the bags under my eyes for pushing my brain too hard writing and know they have them too.
If I am depressed, I say I’m depressed. What you see online is me. At times I’m undignified. At times you may cringe at my honesty. If you don’t like it, you can ignore me. I won’t cry about it.
Nobody has to agree with me if they don’t want to. Many of my friends make it a point to tell me when they think I’m wrong. I love it! I don’t know anything! I’m just trying to figure it all out like you are.
I don’t have time for friends IRL. Why can’t I enjoy my online friends?
I don’t want to spend time making someone else happy. Is that selfish? Is it wrong to want a hands-off approach to being friends?
My online friends don’t try to complicate my life. In my experience, that is all real-life friends want to do. Maybe I haven’t found the right ones? Maybe I am tired of the bullshit of trying to make too many people happy?
I have my family. I have my online friends. I am happy. I am fulfilled. Do I need to make this any more complicated than it is?
What about you?
Do you somehow feel like you are doing life wrong because you don’t have any friends IRL? Do people look at you weird when you tell them you don’t have friends?
It’s time to stop caring what other people think.
Live your life like you want to. Do what makes you happy and fulfilled. If you have a lot of friends online, make the most of it! Enjoy your online friends. You can have one or one thousand!
We live more and more of our lives online. It’s natural that we will relate more to the people who share the same feelings about online relationships that we do. You can find good people online. You don’t have to settle for the trolls you happen to meet in person. You have a choice of billions!
If we aren’t friends yet, find me online! I am on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and of course, Medium. Let’s be friends. If it turns out you don’t like me, block me. If you do like me, interact! I am very active on social media, and I will usually respond anytime.
That is unless I’m having a meltdown, in which case it may take a few days for me to reply. If you ever have a meltdown, I will understand and offer solace.
Make friends online, even if you don’t make friends with me. The people you meet online may fill in the missing spaces in your life.
It can’t hurt to try.
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Jason Weiland is a writer, blogger, vlogger, and mental health advocate living a dream life in far-away destinations he only dreamed of as a kid. He talks about difficult issues but has never lost his sense of humor or willingness to understand others and help when he can.
He would love to connect with you on social media.