Today I’m celebrating the birthday of one of my favorite people in the world. A friend who’s been there through thick and thin for the past 6 years… through jobs, breakups, businesses, new relationships, cross country (and ocean) moves, tears, laughter and everything in between. Despite the fact that our lives are crazy busy and we sometimes go far too long without really talking and connecting, we never fail to miss a beat when we do finally reconnect. She is one of the few loves of my life, a definite soulmate and someone I can’t wait to cackle over stories with when we’re old and gray.
Celebrating another year of her life has me thinking about friendship (and the internet) today and I wanted to share my thoughts.
While I’ve never had a problem meeting people (I mean, people are everywhere after all), it wasn’t until I started putting myself out there online that I began to connect with MY tribe, soul sisters, and an amazing guy who loves me in the best of ways.
I’ve met all of my favorite people in the world online. Said best friend of 6 years and I met on a calorie counting website when she saw my profile in a local Hawaii group and thought “she looks nice” before sending over a message. My good friend/workout buddy and I found each other on craigslist and were the perfect personality fit for the gym and beyond. My soul sister (in all things life, business and woo) and I came across each other on Meetup.com and both instantly knew we had to meet the other.
Beyond my favorite friends, I’ve connected with some amazing people through dating sites, in online programs, and through comments on blogs. This includes my guy, my talented photographer, collaborators, friends, mentors and clients. I found my incredible project manager on craigslist and my business wouldn’t be what it is today without her.
People often talk about how the internet is ruining our ability to connect and form real, meaningful relationships, but I think it’s quite the opposite.
Before the internet, it was incredibly hard to find our people and tribes, because all we could do was connect with the people around us. Now we can hop online and join groups, programs, communities and profile driven sites and connect with so many more people in much more meaningful ways. Some of my favorite people and most fulfilling connections are those I rarely (if ever) see in person.
Does this replace real life connection and adventure? Absolutely not. But it nourishes my heart, mind and soul in ways many of my in person connections never could. If I hadn’t been on the calorie counting website, Meetup.com, dating sites or even craigslist, I wouldn’t know some of my absolute favorite people in the world. Even typing that makes my heart hurt a little because I can’t imagine my life without them.
There are people I’ve known online since my early days on Twitter that have shown more love and support for my life and work than people I spent years in school or life with. People who actually reached out to me when there was a Tsunami scare in Hawaii because they were genuinely concerned for my well-being.
The internet isn’t a scary place filled with creepers that keeps us from creating real, meaningful connection in our lives.
Yes, there are creepers, absolutely… but there are so many truly good and amazing human beings who are online for the same reasons as the rest of us. To express, connect, learn, grown, share and support.
So today, I’m wishing my very best friend the happiest of birthdays! I’m so grateful we were both crazy enough to put ourselves online, and to connect with another total stranger based on a simple intuitive connection.