I remember the first time I joined social media, my parents and relatives had delivered an entire sermon on why I shouldn't be befriending unknown people on the internet. Their descriptions caused me to think of malicious, perverted old men every time the term 'internet friends' was mentioned in front of me. However, over the years, after I learned to distinguish shady internet people from the genuinely good ones, I believe that sometimes these people are one of the most important people you can have in your life. Here's why:
THEY ONLY KNOW ABOUT YOU AS MUCH AS YOU WANT THEM TO KNOW
This is probably the best things about your internet friends. Since we youngsters usually tend to seek validation from our peers, we want our friends to think about us in a certain way. It's not always possible to do this with your real life friends. But with internet friends, you only reveal things about yourself that you want them to know about. Hence, it is easier to mould their impression of you and make them perceive you in a way you'd like them to.
YOU DON'T USUALLY RUN OUT OF CONVERSATIONS
With internet friends, there are always scintillating topics to talk about. Even if you feel like there is nothing to talk about, memes will always be there to the rescue. If you are bad at initiating a conversation, there is the possibility of starting a conversation from a meme, and then delving deeper by conversing entirely using memes. Not only will it aid in sprawling your meme stash, but you may also find something to actually talk about, like discussing the humour behind “loss memes”.
YOU BOND OVER THE MOST RANDOM THINGS
Do you have a certain favourite TV show that is your guilty pleasure and don't want your real life friends to know about it? That's when you bond with people from certain fandoms. They will be there to shriek about cliff-hangers with you, making you feel like less of a weirdo yourself. Or you could just bond over a Yanny/Laurel argument, or argue in a football-related comment thread. You can bond over anything, anywhere.
YOU CAN TELL THEM THINGS YOU DON'T WANT YOUR IRL FRIENDS TO KNOW ABOUT
There are certain incidents or stories that you may not want your real life friends to know since they might spill it to others. But with internet friends, you can tell them anything without the fear of them revealing it to your friends, or without the fear of their judgements affecting your social life. They may also act as great listeners and provide support during hard times.
YOU CAN LEAVE WHEN YOU DON'T FEEL LIKE TALKING
Unlike IRL, there will not be any awkward silences when you are bored or when you run out of conversations.
Zarin Rayhana likes to spend her time by pondering over alternative theories about the universe instead of studying for school. Send her your theories at facebook.com/zarinrayhana.n