I primarily use the internet to maintain friendships. The people closest to me are prior military like myself and live all over the country. It is almost impossible working full time, going to school full-time and taking care of my family to really plan to see them all. The best thing about the age of the internet was the ability to keep in contact with people even when they moved away or they changed their phone number. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized the distinction between being a friend and being a virtual friend. The difference to me was one in the same but I reconsidered how my presence was more wanted or needed than just a chat here and there online. The consideration is that it impacted many of my relationships for the better knowing the difference but at the same time it hurt a lot of my relationship not knowing the difference.
The extent that is possible to cultivate true intimacy online that in a way that one might experience in person is to simply just keep up with your friends achievements and let them know you are proud of them and congratulate them and if they are down or something went wrong or bad to uplift them and let them know that you are there anytime for them that they will need you and if they say they are good still make that effort to physically be there for them weather that be through a “how you doing today” text or message. Simple things like this will make a person feel your presence even when you are not physically there in person.
Our consumeristic society impacts our approach to online friendship as the new norm. More and more people are connected all in one place and always a click or scroll away. Online friending has eliminated a lot of unknown variable that caused you to be out of touch in the first place. It opens a lot of doors to allow people to connect on the “Omega level” and be truly connected using our minds without even have to speak a word. That is one of the greatest marvels to have friends mentally connected and have that sense that they have a true telepathic link that many would not understand. And it is through this link that you will always be there for one another no matter where your lives take you.