Do You Need Friends in Real Life (IRL)?

Jason Weiland

Do you have lots of friends in real life (IRL)? Do you have a physical best friend you see in person more often than not? Do you have people you regularly hang out with, and even though there is a pandemic, you find yourself wanting to visit?

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

I ask because many of us don’t, and we’re wondering what the big deal is? We wonder why must we always surround ourselves with people all the time? Who told us that you had to have lots of friends or acquaintances to be a normal human being?

As I get older, I find the need to have friends IRL shrinks every day. My life is so simple; I hate to ruin it. I work from home, as does my wife. My wife and I spend all our time together, along with our daughter and son. We have inlaws close by that we can share a meal or Christmas with if we want to.

My family fulfills my need for human companionship, and I find that I don’t need to cultivate friendships with people who are not in my immediate family or circle.

Trying to please others is not something that interests me or something I want to waste time doing. It would add complexity to my life that I don’t want.

I’ve tried to be friends IRL with different people over the years, but I’m always disappointed. I’m the kind of person who gives of myself without expecting a return. Most people I run into aren’t like that. They are always expecting. They feel entitled to certain things of mine based only on the code of friendship.

I’m tired of games and of being the only one who gives in a relationship. I just don’t want to have to jump through hoops to get people to want to hang out with me.

Can’t We All Be Facebook Friends?

I do have friends online - I have a lot of them. Most of the people I call friends online are writers like myself or people willing to cultivate online friendships instead of searching people out in person.

We are a reclusive lot who spend countless hours hunched over a keyboard creating stories. We have little stomach for bullshit.

Since the pandemic started, we know that the way we live our lives has to be different, so we are satisfied getting our interaction with others like ourselves on Facebook or other social media channels.

We all come together so well because we understand each other’s needs and wants. Committing to having friends in real life (IRL) requires more from us than we want to give away. We all have our issues, and we don’t want to add other baggage to our own.

What’s Wrong With Online Friends?

When I’m depressed and feeling down, I share my feelings in a post. My online friends read it and support me in my time of need. I find I don’t need more than that from anyone.

When they are down, I do the same for them. Sometimes we even take it a step further and chat on Facebook Messenger.

When somebody is celebrating a win, we all join in on the celebration. When we see a picture or meme that we know others would like, we share it.

We laugh. We joke. We cry. We complain. Isn’t that what real friends are supposed to do?

We still have issues with online friends getting along. Some of my online friends don’t like my other friends. The beauty of this arrangement is that these two groups of friends can exist separate from the other. I don’t have to be in the middle of a conflict!

I can be friends with all of them!

I don’t have to be fake with my online friends. I don’t post filtered and Instagrammable pictures showing how great my life is. They all see my pimples and bad teeth. They see the bags under my eyes from pushing my brain too hard writing, and I know they have them also.

What you see online is me. At times I’m undignified. At times you may cringe at my honesty. If you don’t like it, you can ignore me. I won’t cry about it.

Nobody has to agree with me if they don’t want to. Many of my friends make it a point to tell me when they think I’m wrong. I love it! I don’t know anything! I’m just trying to figure it all out like you are.

I don’t have time for friends IRL. Why can’t I enjoy my online friends?

I don’t want to spend time making someone else happy. Is that selfish? Is it wrong to enjoy a hands-off approach to being friends?

My online friends don’t try to complicate my life. In my experience, that is all real-life friends want to do. Maybe I haven’t found the right ones? Perhaps I am tired of the bullshit of trying to make too many people happy?

I have my family. I have my online friends. I’m fulfilled. Do I need to make this any more complicated than it is?

What About You?

Do you somehow feel like you are doing life wrong because you don’t have any friends IRL? Do people look at you weird when you tell them you don’t have friends except for those online?

It’s time to stop caring what other people think.

Live your life like you want to live it. Do what makes you happy and fulfilled. If you have a lot of friends online, make the most of it! Enjoy your online friends. You can have one or one thousand!

We live more and more of our lives online, even more so now, post-pandemic. Naturally, we will relate more to people who share the same feelings about online relationships.

You can find good people online. You don’t have to settle for the trolls you happen to meet in person. You have a choice of billions!

If we aren’t friends yet, find me online! Let’s be friends. If it turns out you don’t like me, block me. If you do like me, interact! I’m very active on social media, and I will usually respond anytime.

The only time I won’t respond is if I’m having a mental meltdown, in which case it may take a few days for me to reply. I have a mental illness, and I am messy, so you have to get used to that. If you ever have a meltdown, I will understand and offer solace.

Make friends online, even if you don’t make friends with me. The people you meet online may fill in the missing spaces in your life.

It can’t hurt to try.

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Writer and advocate interested in mental health, health, family, culture, creativity, and success.

Los Angeles, CA

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