"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words."
This quote is perhaps my favorite of all time. It expresses, so simply, what I believe to be true about good friends, true friends.
One time I heard a psychiatrist say that friends made online were not true friends. That people who made such friends were loners, afraid or incapable of making friends in the real world.
Well, in my humble opinion, that is just hogwash.
I have a couple of online groups of friends.
There are the twin moms, some of whom I've been friends with since before I conceived my boys. We met in an IVF chat room, and went on to share the ups and downs of twin mommyhood in a twin mommy group. I've been friends with these women for close to nine years. I've met many of them in person. I've spoken to many on the phone. They have been there for me when I needed them in the way that really matters--they cared, they were there, they loved me.
There are the writer friends who support my nearest and dearest dreams. They've read my work and taken the time to help me grow as a writer. I've also met many of them in person, and started a critique group with some of them.
And I do, too, have friends in real life, but, they don't negate the need that these other groups of friends fill for me. Real life is so demanding, hectic, harried. It's becoming increasingly difficult to maintain fulfilling friendships outside of the box on my desk.
While I am deeply grateful for my real life friends--because laughter only really happens with them, the good belly-laugh kind of laugh and not the LOL kind of mental laughter that happens online--I am equally grateful for my online friends.
My online friends have the ability to fit between the cracks of my life. They are 'there' for me any time of day, wherever I am.
Personally, I think online friendships have helped me to be a better friend to my real life friends, have helped me to learn more about myself and to grow as a human being.
What do you think? Are online friendships just as important or meaningful as real life ones?