A couple days ago a friend of mine reached out to me via Steam after noticing I was streaming earlier in the night. I was not 30 seconds away from shutting down my computer and going to bed. Instead of snoozing, we proceeded to talk for over an hour and catch up on old times.
However, this friend of mine was no ordinary friend. Let me explain: (Image Source)
I met this friend over two years ago, in a game that I haven't even touched in over a year.
I've never met this friend in real life. The only reason I know his first name is from an email correspondence a long time ago. To me, he's just always been "H_____".
We haven't talked in well over six months.
With that out of the way, let me explain how I consider this friendship to be just as "real" as any other friendship I have. Immediately, we began to go through your standard conversation pieces. I asked him how school was going, and what he was doing these days. He asked me how my job was going and what I was doing for a living. Both of us had plenty of stories to swap because, well, it had been awhile!
He'd mentioned he wasn't doing all that well health-wise, and I'd immediately remembered him mentioning a condition he was suffering from back in the day. (Aside: Don't worry guys he's not dying, promise) He was semi-taken aback that I had remembered after all this time, and felt bad that he wasn't aware that I had switched jobs since our last talk. Not his fault, I just hadn't told him!
While time may have passed since our last meet up, our interactions remained the same. We joked about our glory days in the game we used to play, browsed through each other's play history a bit to see what we were up to, and genuinely just enjoyed catching up with one another. He still enjoyed prodding at me to play DotA 2, despite the fact that I'm crap at it, and I said I'd think about it if he played more League of Legends, which he's awful at.
As we wrapped up our discussions, he said that he really appreciated me taking the time to chat with him. I could tell he was going through some stuff, as life tends to throw at us, and it seemed like he just needed someone he could be 100% himself with, no repercussions. I told him I was always happy to be that person, and that I was available to chat whenever he was in the mood. He stopped me and asked if I had ever once had a thought about something, but I held back because I wasn't sure if it would be appropriate to say, regardless of if I was right.
I replied that if I considered something to be an injustice or unfair to someone, I would speak out. He seemed pleased with this response, and said I should never compromise that, because it was a trait he was really glad I had and wished more people possessed. (Admittedly I'm paraphrasing here because Steam doesn't keep full chat logs.)
These interactions are not-bound by being with someone physically, and the emotional and mental stimulation you receive from talking via a form of software in comparison to person to person can be just as fulfilling and enjoyable. Just as real. At the end of our talk, I went upstairs to my bedroom and couldn't help but smile. I may not talk with "H_____" as much as I'd like, but I definitely still consider myself lucky to count him as a true friend.
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RerTV is a small-time YouTuber and Streamer who enjoys writing #FeelsGoodMan posts about gaming. He strives each day to spread awareness of the positivity gaming can bring to ourselves and society, and hopes you'll join the conversation. Find him on Twitter: @RerTV.