Online Friendship Versus Real Life Friendship

Is there a significant difference between the friends you meet online versus in real life? Does it say anything about you as a person?


The Aragon Outlook

We all make friends in different ways, and how you do may depend on your personality.

Sophia Geisler, Columnist

The internet is a vast place, and it’s easy to obtain almost anything, from information to shopping items. However, with the new generation of technology clashing with the social needs of teenagers, we’ve been introduced to online friends. Places like Myspace and Facebook have been places for people from earlier generations to bond with others, and with the rise of apps such as Discord, Instagram and Snapchat, the question remains; are the people we meet online our actual friends? Does the way we bond with people say something about our personalities?

The quick answer is yes, people you meet online are your friends, and the way we bond can help us figure out more about ourselves. It matters less where you meet, but the bond you create with that person. Of course, it’s still important to stay safe when talking to people over the internet. One of the downsides of meeting people online is that the identity of the person behind the screen is never fully insured. However, the way you bond with people does say something about your personality. According to The Good Trade, it is actually easier for some people to create bonds online. On social media, it’s easier to find people who share the same interests as you, perhaps through online communities or groups. It’s also easier to vent to people online, mainly because they aren’t actually looking you in the face, seeing you cry, etc. This might be helpful for people who experience embarrassment when crying in front of people or when others cry in front of them. It’s also easier to overshare online, however- you can vent more personal information to people that you don’t actually know in real life and see everyday. People who find it easier to connect online are usually more introverted, considering common aspects of an introverted person include being more closed off, and avoiding uncomfortable face to face conversations, as well as eye contact, etc. However, that doesn’t speak for everyone. Plenty of extroverts also enjoy bonding with people online, as they can share their interests more freely.

On the other hand, there is also the classic way of making friends: face to face, actual human interaction. A lot of people scoff at the idea of bonding with someone over a screen. To put it into perspective, people are more likely to emotionally bond with someone face to face, according to Psychology Today. When talking to someone in front of you, not only do you have proof that they aren’t a robot, but you also can observe their behavior. You can feel their energy, see how they listen to you, how they react to the things you say, etc. Although creating bonds doesn’t absolutely require real life contact/communication, it’s definitely helpful. People who enjoy the presence of people in front of them and feeling their energy are typically categorized as more extroverted, but that doesn’t speak for everyone.

Friendship is one of the most necessary aspects of growing up, whether over the internet or face to face. Although both types of bonds have their own differences and similarities, it’s impossible to fairly compare them, as it varies from person to person.