All the way through my teenage years, I was a very awkward person, extremely shy, and generally struggled to make friends. These days I’m still awkward and socially crap, but I’m now in my mid-20s and work from home, which we all know is basically the lifestyle where your social life goes to die anyway, so it’s not so much of a biggie.
In real life I’ve basically had the same set of close best friends since I was tiny and have always relied on them to make my outer friends for me, but quietly sitting in the sidelines there’s also been another group of pals for the past ten years or so who fall into the unchartered territory of what should probably be called INTERNET FRIENDS.
And last weekend, we met up.
From left to right Jenny, Alex myself and Kate stumbled very inelegantly into each other’s lives via a McFly message board (a MESSAGE BOARD, do they even exist anymore?) around 2004, with swooshing emo fringes, a lot of MySpace comments and really bad eyeliner. No offence guys.
Along with a bunch of other obsessed teenage girls who’ve come and gone along the way, we basically ruled that niche realm of the internet for quite some time, and after progressing to MSN, then Facebook, and then Twitter to WhatsApp, we’ve been a constant feature in each other’s lives ever since.
I’d actually consider my internet friends to be some of the most consistent and reliable people in my life, yet I can count the number of times we’ve met up in real life on one hand.
That probably seems a strange concept to anyone who’s never experienced ‘internet friends’ for themselves, and in the past I’ve had people laugh in my face at the idea of a largely online-based friendship group, but I’ve always thought it pretty odd that more people haven’t cottoned onto the idea as being something kind of great.
We found each other through what was (and errr, still kind of is but shhh) our main interest in life - a band that we all would have probably sacrificed working limbs for, and having bonded over a mutual love and discovered a shared sense of humour, we’ve literally grown up with each other, albeit from a distance, into very similar people.
It’s a testament to online friendship that, having not seen these girls in the flesh for what must be around eight years, I had the absolute best, comfortable and fun weekend with them all, that basically revolved around eating good food and talking about the things we have in common that none of our other friends in real life ever care about.
They just get it. They understand when it's important to Instagram something from a certain angle, they know who I'm talking about when I mention a YouTube video I watched yesterday, they fancy all the same people that I should have grown out of years ago. We connect in all these stupid ways, but also in a very nostalgic and comforting way too, and it's very special to me.
I’m currently in the process of rustling up and piecing together a vlog which I tried my very best to remember to film through everything we got up to. Seeing as I am about as useless as a soupy ice cream, I forgot most things and it’s almost certain to not do it justice, but we’ll give it a go.
Over breakfast on the Sunday we made a vow to try and see each other again soon, so fingers crossed my online pals will become more frequent in-person pals. They'll always be my internet mates though - one day at my wedding they'll probably be sat at the table labelled 'INTERNET FRIENDS'. I'll make sure to leave the wifi password nearby.
Here's one last photo showing us in our signature, well practiced MySpace poses, just for old times sake.
Have you got any long-term internet friendships under your belt? I wanna hear about them because they warm my cockles good and proper. Pop a comment below or tweet me @LucyJaneWood. Love you bye.