I adore my friends. They are the family I had the privilege of choosing. Today, I have close friends whom I’ve known for several decades. There are some I went to school with and some I have been lucky to meet as I strolled through life. I often tend to believe that there are no strangers, only friends we haven’t met, yet.
What a feeling it is to ask a friend from first grade, even today, “What color” and promptly receive an answer! For the curious folks, I am referring to the color of frilly panties. Yes, five-year old girls do that and feel very happy when they’re wearing the same color and say “same pinch”.
I am fortunate to have a gorgeous friends circle, offline and now, online as well. One of them is the beautiful Carolyn Hughes. If you are a regular commenter, you’ve seen her comment on every post here. Carolyn is an amazing writer and I first met her at Cathy’s blog, Treatment Talk, where she wrote a guest post. That post made me cry and I was eager to visit her blog, The Hurt Healer.
I did. And I was spellbound by the magic of her writing. Carolyn captured my soul. So many times, as I read her posts, I would wish she had written that here on this blog. Aptly titled The Hurt Healer, Carolyn’s blog is “an inspirational journey to live life as the person you were meant to be“. I am happy to say that she is also writing a book with the same name and am eagerly waiting for her to launch it. I can only imagine how wonderful it will be.
I am thrilled to have Carolyn here today with a lovely post. Please do visit her blog after you read this post!
Let’s be friends
When the lovely Vidya asked me to guest post, I knew instantly that I wanted to share some thoughts on online friendships. Vidya is one of those amazing friends that I’ve never met face-to-face, but yet feel a great connection to her. The warming welcome and generous reciprocity override any differences in social status or culture. She shares her world and daily life with such vibrancy and enthusiasm that I am drawn into wanting to be part of that.
And isn’t that what friendship is all about? Being part of someone’s life because you both want that. Not out of a sense of family duty. Not because you work together. Or belong to the same organisation. It’s a choice willing made with pleasure not obligation. Wonderful!
“A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be.” ~ Douglas Pagels
Online friendships are special in that you can connect with someone anywhere in the world at any time. That opens up such huge possibilities of meeting people with diverse customs and traditions. Yet a virtual friendship has the ability to cross the boundaries of religion, race, or any other issue because what matters is the person. It’s not what you don’t share; it’s what you do share that’s important.
Vidya and I live on opposite sides of the world and live so differently, yet we both possess a love of people, places, families and faith. Our friendship means we can relate and communicate on all sorts of levels. And it is always enjoyable.
I would so much rather grab a cup of coffee and spend a few minutes reading one of Vidya’s blogs that read a celebrity magazine. Why? Because they are not manufactured by the media. Her stories, values, honesty, sense of fun are for real. That’s what I look for in anyone, and somehow that seems even more important when that person is ‘virtual.’
“A good friend offers an encouraging spirit, a helpful heart and a comforting soul.” ~ The Hurt Healer
For me, the investment of time in a good friendship is worth every second. The return is a treasured connection that enriches my life through camaraderie and support. They introduce you to their world, offer new perspectives and allow you to do the same. Yet at the same time a good friend accepts you for who you are and lets you make mistakes. (No judgments or requirements that so often come from blood ties.) They are with you through the laughter and the tears. Indeed, familiarity can be truly rewarding.
Of course it’s a two-way relationship. It’s important to me to show a friend that I am interested in their life too. I want to hear about their faith, families, work ~ anything and everything that is significant to them. There is nothing nicer than developing a meaningful companionship. I must admit that if ever someone refers to me online as ‘my good friend Carolyn’, it instantly makes my day!
“I get by with a little help from my friends.” ~ The Beatles
As with any acquaintance, it’s always good to catch up. It is so easy on-line and one aspect that I have noticed in this type of fellowship is that there is less guilt and it is easier to reconnect if you haven’t contacted for a while. We can pop onto a whole range of networking sites that keep us up to date without the need to interact, but then when we do it can be like we spoke to them the day before.
I must admit that although online friendships can be fulfilling and pleasurable, there are those that I would definitely love to meet up with in person. I love the diversity and opportunities that a ‘virtual’ friendship can bring, but there are those whose company that I know I would delight in should we come face-to-face. Vidya would be one of them of course!
But what about you? Wouldn’t you just love to visit all those people and places that have enhanced your life?
“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy. They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ~ Marcel Proust
Thank you Vidya for inviting me share and most of all, thank you for your beautiful friendship!
Let’s be friends!
Images thanks to my good friend, the talented Jane Hinchliffe
Thank you, Carolyn!
Carolyn Hughes lives in Northern Ireland with her husband and two daughters. She works as a freelance writer with a special interest in alcohol issues and is currently writing ‘The Hurt Healer”, a novel based on her own experiences of abuse and alcoholism.
Describe your best friend in five words!
What is the best thing you love about them?