Fall, 2014, was when I said goodbye to my friends and hello to loneliness. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, my family left the church that we had been a part of ever since I was in first grade. From then on, I’ve silently observed the friendships of others as I myself stood on the sidelines.
I wasn’t completely alone, though. For the 2015-2016 school year, I used an online school program through which I made some pretty great friends. It’s taken me a long time to acknowledge those relationships as friendships since I can’t actually be with those people or see them face to face. But, based on my observations of “real” friendships, I prefer mine.
You see, a friend isn’t just someone you hang out with. Friends care about each other. Friends are willing to do what is best for each other even if it hurts. Friends have real conversations. Friends know each other, and I mean they really know each other, not just the silly things like what ice cream flavors they like, but who they are as individuals. Friends celebrate each other’s accomplishments and sympathize with each other’s pain. Friends are the people you can rant to and know that they’ll calmly listen. Friends are the people who give you wise advice. Friends are the people with whom you can learn and grow.
Take this duck, for example. We all need this duck in our lives.
That’s the kind of friends I’ve found. While it hurts sometimes to be reminded that my friends will never actually be there when I need a shoulder to cry on, and while I may often be jealous of the people I know who are constantly talking about their sleepovers, parties, and whatnot, when it comes down to it, my internet friends are worth much more to me than all the shallow friendships in the world.
Try to find friends like that. Try to be a friend like that. I don’t care whether your friends are people you know in “real life” or people you met through online school or a blog or whatever. If you have that kind of friendship, treasure it and nurture it. It is a rare jewel. Don’t take it for granted. And if you don’t, try to find somebody that’s lonely, and be that friend to them.