Can you really make friends online?

Discovering I was pregnant in March 2011 came as a bit of a shock. We’d only decided to start trying for a baby four weeks earlier so when the pregnancy test came up as positive, it took us both by surprise. Apart from telling my best friend we decided to keep it to ourselves, until we’d had our 12 week scan.

In those worrying first weeks of pregnancy, I needed someone to talk to and signed up for Baby Expert and joined the Due In November forum group for other mums-to-be who would be due at the same time as me.

I didn’t know back then how important this group of ladies would become in my life. Chatting on a forum page is quite difficult so we moved to a Facebook group. Not everybody migrated across and some dropped off from chatting but there remained a core group of us who “spoke” pretty much everyday.

A few of us were first time mums, but there were also more experienced mums in board, and there was always someone on hand to calm any worries, or offer advice. In the later stages of pregnancy, when I’d be up at 4am unable to sleep, there was usually one or two of the girls online as well, so I never felt alone.

One by one we had our babies and as we were all on maternity leave we kept in regular contact. As a first time mum it was so helpful to be able to post a question or concern and someone would be there to answer. I feel I know some of these girls a lot better than I do my “real-life” friends. It’s possibly because we don’t see each other that we feel we can be more honest.

As our kids have grown older we maybe don’t speak as often as we used to, but there’s still very much a feeling that we are all there for each other. We’ve shared good news and bad together and last summer arranged a central meet up which was fantastic. A lovely chance to actually meet the girls I’d been “talking” to for over 2 years and a wonderful opportunity to see all the November babies together.

Within the group there is another girl who is also struggling to conceive her second and we often chat and it is such a comfort to talk to someone who can understand what I’m going through and doesn’t feel the need to tip toe around the subject. On Friday she sent me this message: “One thing positive to come out of this .. is you. I’m so glad ive met you.” After several Proseccos to celebrate Valentines Day, this was enough to bring a few tears to my eyes.

If you’d asked me a few years ago if you could make friends online, I’d have been a little bit dubious to say the least, but over the past 3 years these women have been better friends to me, and shown much more thought and concern, than many of my oldest friends. I count myself very lucky that they are in my life, and hope they will be for a long time to come.

18 Comments

  1. February 20, 2014 / 5:09 pm

    Wow what a lovely story. I’m really glad you have found such true supportive friends. I wish both you and your friend all the best of luck with trying for number two xxx

    • February 20, 2014 / 5:14 pm

      Thank you for such a lovely comment. I do feel very lucky to have met such a great group of girls.

  2. February 20, 2014 / 5:45 pm

    Before I started blogging I thought making friends online was strange, but I soon realised that just because you can’t meet someone in person doesn’t mean you can’t have lots in common. After six years of blogging I have several online friends that I email/facebook regularly. I truly think of them as friends even though we have never met and live thousands of miles apart!

    I’m glad you have had such a positive experience and that you all stay friends for many years so come! It’ll be fun to see how you children all grow up 🙂

    • February 20, 2014 / 5:58 pm

      Haha, it’s funny seeing how they’ve all developed so far with their own little personalities. From last summer we’ve got a line up photo of the kids, be great to try and replicate it in about 15 years time!

  3. February 20, 2014 / 7:58 pm

    Before I started blogging I would have been quite sceptical about online friendships if I’m honest, but since blogging I think it really is possible to find friendship and it may be a different kind of friendship but it’s nonetheless valuable and lovely.

    • February 20, 2014 / 8:01 pm

      I completely agree. I’ve met so many lovely people online through blogging and really looking forward to meeting some of them in the flesh at Blog On in Manchester. Very jealous of all those going to Britmums in June x

  4. February 21, 2014 / 6:50 am

    So lovely! I remember as as child having pen pals writing every week sending pictures …. Making friends online is now the new ‘pen pal’ except being older we are now all better at doing it and it’s so much easier to do via the means that we have available like our blogs and Facebook etc. it so amazing when you connect with someone and it feels like you have know them forever. A lovely story and I hope you’ll be friends for ever :))

  5. February 21, 2014 / 6:57 am

    Aww, such a nice story. Lovely to hear. The online parenting community can be so supportive – especially bloggers, who as a newbie, I’m just starting to get to know. Great post.

  6. marissa- mamaknowsbest2
    February 21, 2014 / 9:42 am

    It’s great that you have made such lovely supportive friends online. Being new to blogging im just getting out there i wish i had found out about having a blog when i was first pregnant 😉

  7. February 21, 2014 / 1:01 pm

    What a lovely, positive post.
    Even before I had M a lot of my social life took place online, as I’m a freelance translator who works from home. I have my “water cooler chats” on twitter, basically! My professional blog is another way of sharing ideas with colleagues. I really feel I’m a better, more connected and more up-to-date translator because of these virtual networking opportunities.
    Since having M and starting a personal blog, online social contact is just as important to me. At the end of the day I think we all like to connect with people who are in the same boat, whether virtually or in real life!

  8. February 21, 2014 / 1:17 pm

    I have made some great friends through my blog and through Twitter. Thanks for linking up #binkylinky

  9. Mummy Whiskers
    February 21, 2014 / 10:40 pm

    I joined a forum on BabyCenter for women with Hyperemesis Gravidarum and have to say I made some wonderful friends on there, one especially is a dear friend to me, we both volunteer for the same charity and although a four hour drive apart see eachother when we can. Thanks for linking up #BinkyLinky

  10. February 23, 2014 / 1:55 pm

    What a lovely post and story! It’s nice to know that you really can make friends in places you didn’t think possible xxx Ax

  11. February 25, 2014 / 9:33 am

    Great post. Most of my best friends these days I met online. When I was very ill and having surgery last year my online friends were the ones who looked after me, spent time with me, cheered me up. My “real” friends all but abandoned me. So yes, you CAN make and keep and love your online friends x

  12. Jenny
    February 27, 2014 / 8:14 am

    What a lovely post! I am so glad you had your forum mommies. I was the same, I happen to run into a mommy group in a coffee shop and we forms a What’s App group. Since I live in the Uk and had no friends or family here when I was a first time mom I was lost. I couldn’t have survivied without my what’s app mommy group to ask every question under the sun, we were all first time moms learning together. It’s a great bond to have with other moms. Your post is so true, online can be a great outlet and a great place to make close friends. I don’t think you have to have met a person to become good friends with them. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. I enjoyed reading this, getting to know more about you and your lovely blog. 😉

  13. March 3, 2014 / 10:13 am

    My opinion of this has really changed over the years. I was certainly skeptical (and a little worried to be honest) of communicating online with strangers – don’t we always tell our children to NEVER do this?! Since blogging however, my thoughts have completely shifted. I think it’s easier to be real online in a way but there’s also a danger of relying on this virtual world more than the real life one cos it’s somehow ‘safer’. Does that make any sense?

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