Here’s the thing: I don’t really do internet meet-ups. They’re not my thing. They stress me out, because I am an introvert to my core. I don’t like small talk.
But with these people? These aren’t meet-ups. These trips we occasionally post about are long distance friends convening on a place and spending a precious, concentrated, and very finite amount of time together.
Through years of blogging, these have become my people. Witty comments on posts became asks that showed general mutual interest in each other’s lives. For convenience’s sake, we moved from Tumblr to gchat and texts. We sent each other Facebook requests. When I eventually met each of these lovely humans, it felt natural. It felt like I had known them forever. (With the exception of Chris, who I actually had to bully into following me the morning we met in Conway, Arkansas back in 2011. “No, I’m sure you don’t follow me, actually. But you do follow my sister.”)
With these people, we create blissful reunions, and every moment is savored and treasured. Last weekend was doubly special, because not only were we all lucky enough to come together from very disparate geographical locations at the same time in order to spend a weekend with each other, but we also got to celebrate as two of our clan tied the knot.
There is still a fairly noticeable taboo against meeting people online, especially through blogging. People just don’t get it. Even at present, when most romantic relationships form online through dating websites, there is still a stigma surrounding people who make lasting friendships with people that they meet online. That said, I have never been one to give any fucks about taboos.
To me, calling these people The Internet is just a way of describing how I know them. Just like I have my college friends, high school friends, and adventuring friends, I also have my blogging friends.
I hate when people say “real life” friends to differentiate how they know their humans, because it feels backhanded. Because I met someone online, does that make them less real? By using these words, they are insinuating that the strength and impact of relationships formed online are less important, less meaningful, and less tangible than those formed by other means.
In many ways, The Internet holds some of the strongest, most profound relationships in my life. They are founded in mutualism and communication.
These humans are real life, and I love their guts.