Meeting New Friends on the Internet | True Story from Natali Carrera

meeting friends on the internetA friend is one of the nicest things you can have, & one of the best things you can be.  ~Douglas Pagels

Do you remember where you met your BFF? Was it in school, at work, through another friend? Sometimes, meeting a girlfriend who is destined to play a big role in your life is a memorable moment; other times we try to look back and reconstruct the meeting and only have a general idea of the first time we were introduced.

Girlfriend and guest blogger NATALI CARRERA met some of her best girlfriends in a way that was unthinkable as little as 20 years ago—online. Have you met new people through chat rooms or social media? We want to hear your story too girlfriend!

I’ve met some of my closest friends on the planet on the internet. Yup. It’s true.

I remember being a sophomore in high school when AOL’s internet chat rooms were all the rage. You’d log in, respond with your a/s/l (oh c’mon, you know you remember — age, sex, location?) and start chatting away. You’d be a bit bolder because you were talking with strangers who didn’t know you personally and it was fun and exhilarating to be whoever you felt like being. Even though I was pretty much a nerdy chick at school, in the chat rooms, boys didn’t know that and they would actually flirt with me. It felt like a pretty big deal.

Fast forward to my adult life, I never really expected to make female friends on the internet. Why would I need to use the internet to make friends? I have friends in “real life,” here in town. I was a happily married young person, getting ready to start a family; I didn’t need to go searching for friends on the web.

Then, one day I was browsing a baby names website (nope, wasn’t even pregnant, but I’m type-A and a planner — it’s how I roll) and I stumbled upon a forum within the site. People were conversing about their favorite names, how they went with the names of their other children, the family surname, the meanings of names, and pretty much anything else you could think of having to do with a name. Not only were there conversations about names though, there were also conversations about pregnancy, being a new mom, trying to become pregnant, infertility, raising children, and other non-child related topics. I found myself intrigued and began reading. I became intrigued enough I decided to create an account in order to respond to some interesting conversations. I started noticing I liked what select users had to say, related more with some than others and began forming actual friendship-like bonds with people I’d never met. It was so much fun to log onto the computer and come back to find answers to my questions, encouraging responses to my struggles and learn more about the lives of my new friends.

After conversing on the name board for about six months, those of us that found ourselves having recurrent conversations and having bonded decided to create our own, smaller online forum that would be private, so we could continue to support one another through the personal process of starting and raising a family. Little did I know my participation in this forum would bond me with a group of women that I consider to be some of my closest friends—like family. These women have been there for me through trying to become pregnant, three miscarriages, the birth of my son, and learning to be a mother. We’ve shared our hopes for our lives, our families, and our concerns. I honestly don’t know if I’d be the same person I am now without them—the way we are there for one another is just downright amazing to me. Though I rarely get to see them in person, thanks to technology and apps, I now have access to my friends on my phone where ever I am.

After nearly seven years of being close friends with this amazing women, our husbands all still seem to have adopted the same running joke “oh, are you talking to your pretend friends?” or “are you talking the women from the internet world?” or similar. And, I’ll admit though we’ve had multiple in person meet-ups now, which mind you, require some of us getting on a plane and flying across the country, some of our older family members still seem apprehensive because we met online. But, when you’ve shared most aspects of your life with someone for years and them with you – you know when a friendship is real.

Friendship, GNO, girlfriend get together

If you’d have asked 15-year-old me if I thought I’d meet some of my most amazing female friends on the internet, I’d have probably raised an eyebrow at you and asked, “why would I go online to meet girl friends?” But at 15, I wouldn’t have had a clue what amazing friendships can be formed outside of “real life.”

NATALI CARRERA is a married, full-time working mom to one soon-to-be kindergartner, and web writer for Central California’s leading women’s website, The Full Moxie. She may or may not be addicted to going to Target. She’s a lover of cooking, all things girly and vintage, and is an often successful extreme bargain hunter. Additionally, she’s a big fan of people, organization, and do-it-yourself projects.

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