Creating connections from across the world

Ezra Ley and I meeting in the late March of 2020.

Ezra Ley and I meeting in the late March of 2020.

With the current state of our world, connections are more important than ever. There have been ways to connect with others for years, though the popularity of social media in the modern age has played a big role. 

It’s easier than ever to connect. A push of a few buttons could lead to a life-changing friendship like it has for myself and many others. 

“I was in a very bad spot before I met some of my online friends, especially you, and they’ve all really helped me get out of that.” said my closest online friend, Ella Mccrary. 

Modern technology provides many ways to get into contact with people as far as across the world because from time to time we need a different approach to what we already have. 

Sometimes, the people in physical reach aren’t the right ones for the situation. Though, that usually goes unnoticed until further relationships are formed.

“My school friends were good, but I just couldn’t find anyone that I clicked with that well,” said Mccrary. 

Great connections can be made through school and other activities in the community, but connecting without meeting proves a strong bond. Friends next door are not always going to be the right people to be surrounded by. They may be nice to have around, but a deeper connection is almost always what we seek out.

“I don’t think I’d be this close with any of my current [in person] friends if we weren’t able to do real-life stuff, but with my online friends I’m even closer without having to do that.” said another one of my online friends, Ezra Ley.

Over spring break of 2020, we did get to do “real-life stuff”. Ley and I met at the airport in their hometown, finally breaking the distance that separated us for so long. Although, it did take lots of convincing from both of our parents. 

Ley and Mccrary both talked about the struggles of telling their parents about the strangers they had met online, who quickly became friends.

“My mom was worried I was talking to people who weren’t real or that I would end up getting hurt,” said Mccrary.

Parents preaching that people online are never as they seem usually does not prevail against the bonds created between teenagers. Most are also looking for the same understanding and bond others are. 

“It took months of convincing for my parents to let me meet a friend that lived just a few hours away. I bet they’d freak out if they found out I have friends across the world,” said Ley.

With the use of video calling, instant video sends, and photos exchanged through the course of online friendships, it’s more difficult than ever to fake the person you truly are. 

Many parents, though, still have parental concerns for their children and the fact that they talk to people online. 

“I’ve had to FaceTime every online friend I’ve told my mom about with her, just so she knew that they were real,” said Ley. 

Telling parents about online friends comes with the unavoidable question of “How did you meet them?” 

Social media has many different ways of possible interactions: comments, messages, tagging, etc. And because we are teenagers, not knowing when to double-check words, typing mistakes are frequent.

“Well, you and I met because I clicked too fast when I was trying to tag my friend in a TikTok comment and your username came up instead,” said Mccrary, remembering back to our first interaction in April of 2019. 

It may have just been a slip-up

Ezra Ley and I meeting in late March of 2020.

or a simple misdirected click, but from then on it was a lifelong bond. One strong enough to withstand the bad times. 

Arguments and drama in high school bonds are bound to happen, sensible or not. Online ones are harder to overcome sometimes, without the possibility of face-to-face talking, and the opportunity to just not answer. Through these, though, friendships grow stronger and prove themselves as needed for some. 

“One time, I got into an argument with my [online] friend and we didn’t answer each other for weeks, but then after we worked everything out we haven’t argued like that again,” said another online friend of mine, Jane Sanson.

Sanson and I met just a few months ago, but they are already a person that knows me best. 

“We found each other at the perfect time, I feel like,” said Sanson. 

And I would have to agree. At a time when I was at my lowest, feeling isolated, Jane came into my life and along with help from my other friends, contributed to getting me out of such a rough time. 

They’re grounding. Knowing that someone cares enough to text in the middle of the night just to check up is a feeling I will never regret feeling. 

“My [online] friend used to send me stuff that made them think of me when I wasn’t doing my best,” said sophomore, Olivia Schweizer.

Friends online give an escape from the real world. It’s time away from school responsibilities and family problems. Time to talk to friends and bond more than ever. Friendships don’t always have to be the strongest, though. Casual checkups and occasional late-night conversations are not to be taken for granted.

“I have some [online friends] that I only talk to every few days and it’s nice, I like it,” said Schweizer.

Not having to constantly keep up with relationships that can only be kept through being on a phone, is sometimes a stress reliever. Though, spending hours on my phone is still time well spent, because that means I get to talk with my friends and laugh with them when I feel like doing anything but laughing. 

Now, after almost 3 years of knowing Ella Mccrary, we are meeting this summer. 

“It still doesn’t seem real to me. I don’t think I’ll be able to comprehend you’re here at all,” said Mccrary. 

All we’ve known of each of each other is texts updating on our days and hour-long FaceTime calls. That’s what we’ve come to know each other through, but meeting will make our bond that much stronger. 

Some may call it fate, others would say it was purely a coincidence, but whatever it was that drew me to my online friends, I will forever be grateful for. Without these friends, I would not be who I am right now.