Esteem, respect, support ... There are many ingredients of friendship that do not require physical presence. But are they enough to keep the bond born through a screen?
Last update: April 13, 2022
Technological advances have extended the forms of communication and the concept of relationship, making possible, for example, friendships born on the internet. There are many people who enter the online universe every day in order to know and get in touch with someone. However, most of them use the internet to make first contact, which could then be followed up in real life.
The question is: is it possible to establish and maintain bonds of friendship only through this channel? As with all great questions, the answer will never be closed and several nuances will have to be considered. In the following lines we will address the key points on the strength of a friendship born on the internet.
What does friendship consist of?
Friendship is a broad and polysemic term. Not all friendships are the same, not all pursue the same goals, nor are they supported by the same values. There are more functional friendships, in which each of the two people involved considers it important to get closer to the other, precisely because of the circumstances. This could be the case with a friendship born at school or in a work context.
On the other hand, there are friendships fueled by pure pleasure. They are born and last over time thanks to mutual feelings of affection, respect and admiration. In this case, the union is not mediated by the context and both people choose to relate to each other, driven to act by pleasant sensations.
It seems logical to say that there are certain types of friendship that are not possible through a screen. If you have a friend on the internet, you won't be able to hug or meet them at the bar on weekends. However, there are other ingredients of friendship that are absolutely present in relationships born on the internet.
Characteristics of friendships born on the internet
Since there is no common context that can strengthen the relationship (as happens with relatives and in working relationships, the relationship that is established is totally voluntary. Due to the geographic distance, it is not possible to carry out activities or attendance programs.
For all these reasons, we can be sure that the other person's interest in us is sincere and selfless. The friendship that is generated will start from a genuine pleasant impression, arising from the personality of the other. It will be based on shared interests and values and on a great character affinity. On both sides, the bond will be considered an added value and a satisfaction that will be worth keeping up.
Friendships born on the internet are usually made up of deep written conversations. An element that might seem so trivial, but that strongly stimulates our ability to express ourselves and open ourselves to others. Written language requires more reflection and introspection to select the right words. Oral communication, although spontaneous, is also faster and, therefore, more superficial.
Writing helps us connect with our feelings and express them more fully. It allows us to take the time to appreciate the nuances in what the other is sharing with us. In a friendship born on the internet, you can reach a deep knowledge of the other person which will result in an important emotional bond.
Loyalty, support and trust in friendships born on the internet
These three basic components of friendship, far from suffering the consequences of physical distance, can indeed strengthen. When a friendship is born on the internet, both parties can share their experiences, fears and uncertainties, trusting the other person. Based on the previous two points (genuine interest and deep knowledge), the other will be able to understand us and offer us sincere and loving advice.
That a person invests some of his time to build a bond always gives some satisfaction. As if that weren't enough, the value of this gesture increases when the two people in question live different lives and are geographically distant, but nevertheless priority is given to this friendship.
Basically, we can say that friendships born on the internet can never replace physical contact and shareable experiences in a real friendship. Yet, at times, we know people who are really interesting and similar to us, even from a distance. A fact that, on the other hand, is not a good reason to exclude them a priori from our life.
The fact that a virtual friendship is in a certain way a prisoner of the limits of the means through which it develops does not detract from the possibility that it represents an added value. If there is esteem, affection and mutual respect, if both parties value each other and appreciate each other for who they are, a friendship born on the internet can be a positive experience.