The first time I messaged one of my best friends was four years ago, on the 6th of October 2014. We shared a mutual love of One Direction and although we ourselves were not mutuals, meaning we follow each other on social media, we both followed some of the same accounts. We were introduced to one another via a tweet from an account we both followed, under the hashtag findafriendwithel.
We have all been warned time and time again of the dangers of talking to strangers on the Internet. We have all received emails from foreign countries asking for money or have been told the horror stories of young girls meeting up with someone they met online, only for him to have catfished them and not be the young gentleman they were expecting. Despite all of these warnings, I could not help but pour my heart and soul out to this girl, telling her about my day, my sorrows and my wishes for the future.
Three months after we first started talking was my 18th Birthday and she asked if she could send me a present to help me celebrate. I was so excited when the parcel came, all the way from The Netherlands.
Following this, we had our very first Skype call which lasted for a couple of hours. It was so weird to finally put a face and voice to a username but I was relieved to find she was exactly how I had imagined her. Despite being Dutch, her English was as perfect as it was over messenger, although she definitely had a Dutch accent.
Almost four years later and we finally met for the first time this summer when I visited Amsterdam for the first time. I was nervous before the meeting itself, scared that the chemistry that we had online would not correspond to real life or that I would not like her, aware that we all only show our best personas online. But it was the perfect meeting and I had an amazing time. I hope we will meet again shortly.
Here’s to Internet Friends, the friends not limited by time or distance.