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Alone Together: Friendship In a Pandemic

The online world has evolved in the past two decades, becoming bigger, wider, and more accessible to everyone, especially teenagers across the globe. Stuck at home during the pandemic, we spent a great deal of time online, switching to our devices for work, hobbies, play and connecting whilst in quarantine and self-isolation. While most of us were busy following our passions, I chose to make friends; that too in the most unconventional way possible: through social media.

Friendship to me is mutual understanding between one another. It's a relationship free of any judgment, a safe space where you can be yourself, feel loved and accepted for who you are.

The definition of the word 'friend' does not say that the friend must only be offline. We can share a bond with anyone behind another screen. There is a completely different and bright side to meeting new people online and sharing experiences through social media. As for me during the pandemic, socializing happened entirely through texts, voice notes, phone and video calls.

During the peak quarantine, everyone was just lonely. All one needed was a friend - someone to talk and rant to - no filter, someone who could understand the situation at hand, give advice, and be there. I found all this from the people I met over the Internet, and I’m glad I did. While online friendships could be difficult for some, I found it advantageous, especially since I’m an introvert, and I feel more comfortable with virtual interactions.

I made new friends online through random group chats. We connected through meme pages, fandoms, hobbies and mutuals. From checking up on each other to interacting on an everyday basis, sending memes, playing games, watching movies and vibing over Discord, having late night talks and video calls; it only brought us closer, making our bond stronger.

I hardly had friends at school. Being an avid social media user since the age of thirteen, I had a fair share of idea on how social media works. Being a complete loner during my entire school life, I found solace in group chats. While most people lost friends during the pandemic, new genuine online friendships blossomed for me. I met people from different parts of the world and learnt so many new things ranging from their culture, values, morals, traditions, ethnicity, food, etc. I was also introduced to apps like Soundcloud, Reddit, Discord, etc. and games such as CODM, Among Us, Scribbl, Apex Legends, etc.

The pandemic for me has been a huge blessing in disguise. While staying inside the house, the only window to the outside world was social media, and I’m glad I made the best use of it – by making online friends. Even though I felt alone, my online friends did not make me feel lonely during this entire journey. It's been a rollercoaster ride, and I'm grateful to have met these people.

From being a closed-off person, I have become more receptive. My views, opinions and my perspective towards pretty much everything has changed, and I have become more accepting of changes taking place around me. I believe that I am a better person now because of my online friends. There has been an immense amount of growth, and I have gained experience in so many areas since I became friends with these people. I have learnt so much from them, and that’s why I consider them special. It's been a hell of a journey, and honestly, this is the best thing I could ever ask for.


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