Joshua Guilas | Staff Writer
I was on that site every single day: reading a Mario and Sonic crossover, diving into a Naruto fanfiction that adhered to my sensibilities or checking out more and more things that were about my favorite villain at the time: Dimentio from “Super Paper Mario.” The more time I spent on there, the more I wanted to create my own fanfiction. I didn’t know if it would be good, but I wanted to create my own. It took me until the last day of January 2009 for me to join Fanfiction.net under the moniker of “2009.” Around the time I joined the site, I had discovered a fanfiction called “Prince of Heart,” that was written by a person called “TLSouldude,” also known as “Tohokari-Steel.”I messaged TLSouldude in 2010 after becoming one of his biggest fans. From fan, we turned into friends.
“I first met [Joshua] when he began commenting on our fanfic…It quickly evolved from fan to friend when we began talking and collaborating,” TLSouldude said.
While the internet may not be the typical way people make friends, the internet can be used as a huge platform to meet people that you would not otherwise meet, whether it’s because they live across the world or because of your hobbies and interests. Thus, there are a number of pros and cons when gaining internet friendships.
You can build genuine relationships. There’s something about online relationships that allows you to be more vulnerable and open about events in your life. The online platform allows those who are shy around others in a social context to feel more comfortable on the internet.
They will always be there for you. Even if it is just through text, internet friends can nevertheless stand by your side through tough situations. Online groups based on similar interests can also be helpful because they allow you to speak to people while having a common ground. I personally have found it easier to open up to people in such online groups.
Time zones make it difficult. However, there are cons when it comes to online friendships. A big problem that occurs is timezones. One of my online friends lives in England, and by the time I am eating lunch, he is already eating dinner. Another example was when I was involved in a forum roleplay with “Boss-defeater451,” who lives in the Netherlands. Since California is 15 hours behind the Netherlands, I would be forced to wait a long time for him to show up and reply to an event in our online forum. This makes it difficult to connect with the people that you’ve become close with.
Challenging to maintain. With busy schedules and off time-zones, it can be difficult to stay in contact with the people you’ve established relationships with. It can be emotionally draining and saddening when schedules do not line up and you miss the opportunity to talk. This makes online relationships more difficult to keep than real life relationships. Both people must put the effort in order to make them work.
Despite the cons and the effort necessary to maintain online friendships, I have found great success in meeting people online. As a person who has gained so many friendships from online forums and fanfictions, I can admit that I feel much more comfortable with people in the online sphere.