Can An Internet Friend Be A True Companion?

As we spend more time online, we are bound to make friends there. But can an Internet friend be as good a friend — or even better — as one you meet in person?

In some ways, it makes sense that you could find a connection with someone online. After all, without geography limiting the people you can interact with, you are bound to meet people that share your interests — like an obscure band, a niche artist, or a cult movie — that you might not meet otherwise.

In addition, we have a multitude of ways to communicate over long distances. Everything from hand-written letters to phone calls, from text messages to video conferencing. As a result, if the motivation to stay in touch with someone exists, there are several different ways to do it.


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However, each one of us has a physical presence. We evolved to be attuned to the physical presence of someone else. This might include unspoken communication like body language, pheromones, and body heat. There is something about the touch of another human being that produces a chemical reaction inside your body. And it is not just limited to intimacy.

So what do you think? Can a friendly relationship between two people be sustained solely through e-mail messages, Zoom calls, and social media posts? Or is a true, deep, thoughtful friendship dependent on physical proximity? Can an Internet friend be a true companion?

Related questions: What makes a friendship? What do you get out of social media? How can we engage in meaningful conversation? What makes a community?

Who Is In Your Credits Reel?

Do you have an important project, favorite pastime, or significant period of your life? Of course you do; everyone does. Now, imagine it as a movie. Since this movie features you, you decide to stick around through the credits reel. Who would make the post-movie scroll of names?

For example, perhaps you trained for and ran a marathon. Who trained with you for the event? Was it just you? Did a few friends join you? Or did you run with a running club? Did someone coach you or the group? These people definitely fit in the cast.

The people who supported you in your training are also important. Some, most certainly, also fit in the cast. But some belong to the movie’s crew. Who provided you with weekly mileage and running time advice? If you ran with a club, a trained group leader likely filled this role. If it was just you or you and some friends, maybe you followed a book’s advice. Who was the author?


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On a more personal level, did your spouse or roommates take care of many of the household chores during the time you spent training? On a grander scale, do you know who staffed the race’s starting or finish line roles? Who took care of the water stops?

In addition, let’s assume you are even interested in some of the smaller roles. Movies often credit caterers. Did your neighborhood deli sell you an awesome sandwich to replenish your carbs and protein after each of your long training runs? Now, on to the movie’s soundtrack. On your solo training runs did you listen to a favorite playlist?

Of course, running a marathon is not the only potential “movie” in your life. Did friends help you with a major house renovation? Did doctors, a therapist, friends, and neighbors ever help you through a terrible illness? Each one could have it’s own movie, and therefore it’s own credits reel.

A credits reel is a decent metaphor to help you classify, name, and show gratitude for who helped you as you worked on finishing a project, improving in your hobby, or helping you accomplish or make it through an important period of your life.

So have at it. Think of a movie about you you’d like to watch. Who is in your credits reel?

Related questions: How do you show thanks? What are you grateful for? Who is your MVP for the year? Who would you like to give a shut out to right now?

Would You Be Friends With Yourself?

Imagine, for a moment, that there was another person who was exactly like you. They have the same physical characteristics and the same personality. Do you think you would be friends with that person?

As an individual, you possess many traits. Sometimes, these traits are synchronous with other traits you also possess. Other times, they may come into conflict.

For example, let’s say you like movies. If there was another you, both of you would enjoy movies, and even the same movies. The thing you like — movies — makes you compatible.

On the other hand, let’s imagine you have an alpha personality. You might be the natural dominant personality in any situation. However, a second you would also want to be the dominant one, which puts you in conflict with yourself.

In everyday life, sometimes people find themselves attracted to opposites. They like being around people with different backgrounds, or who have different skill sets. Others might like people who look and act just like them.

Which one are you? Do you surround yourself with similar people? Do you think you have a personality that is compatible with itself? Or would some of your traits or behaviors be irksome if they happened in someone else?

Would you be friends with yourself?

Related questions: Why do we like what we like? What makes a friendship? What qualities do you look for in a friend? How do you cheer yourself up?