Social media is an important venue for interaction and conversation among America’s youth. Fully 76% of all teens use social media. Two-thirds (62%) of teens say they’ve shared their social media username with a brand new friend as a way to stay in touch. If you can avoid having Facebook envy dominate your life, you’ll have more rewarding connections with your extended friendship community.
Here are some perks of cultivating friendships around the globe
First — Your online friends can steer your thoughts and behaviors. Although online friends are qualitatively different than your in-person friends, they shape you nevertheless. They can also be your source of life support. Toni Bernhard, the author of “How to be Sick”, and confined to her home, has maintained a lifeline to the outside world through her closest online friends.
Second — Close friends support you through thick and thin. To gain the most value out of an online friendship, put effort into your closest friendships. Although being friendly can get you more friends, you don’t need hundreds to help you through life. You may have to prune your friendship tree as you get older to be sure that you give enough attention to the ones who really matter for your well-being.
Third — Online friends can give you vital life skills. If you are eyeing a certain country for a job opening, an online friend can give you tips on what to prepare so you are assured of acceptance when applying online for a job slot. Locals will have a better knowledge of where to board, eat and how to manage all those details to make your stay bearable, or even pleasant.
Fourth — Online friends can help you define your priorities. People tend to pick friends who are similar to them. This fact falls under the general proximity rule of close relationships, in that like tends to attract like. Because you fall prey so easily into this similarity trap, it is important to try to stretch yourself to learn from some of those opposites. Life becomes more interesting with variety and open-mindedness.
Fifth — Online friends can give you a reality check. Have you heard it said, “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light”? Even coming from a different culture, if there are mutual trust and respect, you can open your heart to friends around the globe and they enable you to see things that you can’t see objectively. They aren’t afraid to share their dose of reality with you. The ones who really care about you have a perspective on your behavior that no one else can completely see.
Sixth — Online friends are better at describing your behavioral traits compared to some people you have physical contact with. This friendship benefit applies only to long term friendships. Incidentally, this is one reason why personality researchers ask for “other” reports to compare to the self-ratings that participants themselves provide. These “other” reports can come closer to the mark, especially for individuals whose personalities ironically make it hard for them to see themselves in a realistic light.
Seventh — Having friends can help you get more friends. People tend to like others who have a reputation for being nice and helpful, and they like people who like them. If you want to be the type of person who attracts new friends, these qualities will help get you on your way toward building your social group. Once you have more friends, you’ll be able to enjoy some of those perks of online friendships or friends from around the globe.
It’s not fair to say that having online friends or real life friends is better than the other, but there’s something irreplaceable about real, human contact. However, once you have made plans to come together with your online friends, then the barrier of distance is gone, and amazingly, online friends become your real friends.
Doris dedicates her time to screening ICOs for ICOBench and handling investor relations. Taking a break from routine financial reports, Doris delights in writing for poemhunter.com, ghostwriting paranormal romance, and crafting essays on everything wise and wonderful under the sun.