Real friends are great. They are there for you no matter what, in good times and bad; and all those sticky times in between. They’ve known you forever or are your new best friend. You like doing the same things together and planning for the future.
But life gets busy, people have kids or move away. You may be travelling for work and the time left for real friends becomes that 5 minutes at the end of the day before you collapse into a heap.
So what do you do?
You replace them with online friends! Online friends are great. They are there any time of the day and night and are from all over the world. They don’t care if you talk endlessly about travel, become opinionated or not answer their messages for a week.
Of course there is a danger in replacing real friends with online friends. They could not be who they say they are, they can still be mean and they may even defriend or block you. You also may never meet them in person.
And that’s great if you want to live in cyber space like most of Gen Y. And what about Millennials? Do they even know how to talk to people in real life anymore?
Digital friends can’t provide counselling on past and present issues as they are only hearing your side of the story. They can’t share a glass of wine and a meal with you or give you a real hug.
As a Gen X’er on the cusp of Y, I was very hesitant about social media. I still won’t share very personal pictures with the public. But in the age of digital transformation, does the Gen X attitude even matter anymore? It’s get on the digital train or get left behind these days.
So, no, I won’t be replacing my real friends with online friends anytime soon. But my real friends can take comfort in the fact that they won’t have to listen to my diatribe of travel obsession as I have some digital friends to ease the burden.