Hi Internet! So what do you think of when I say “internet friends”? Probably a bunch of geeks sitting behind computers playing games together or, if you’re not as sheltered and know about fandoms, you might imagine fangirls. I feel like being a fangirl or just the connotations that the word carries are always negative. When I looked up definitions of “fangirl”, it was associated with being ditzy, annoying, shallow; someone who has overstepped the line. This honestly really hurt because we’re not just lust-driven, crazy teenage girls. More often than not I’ll find myself trying to explain my love for One Direction, for example, to someone and how someone like me who generally prefers music more on the rock, pop punk side can still love them but not be in love (italics) with their music. But it’s not just about the group or individual people fangirl over…it’s the friends you make through it. Not only Karin but I have made some of my closest friends through the One Direction fandom. I’ve grown close to only a few but I still have so many friends that I love who I met through Twitter. I met Preeti (whose name I changed for her own privacy), Brooke, Erin and Francesco through the One Direction fandom, as well as Rachel who I met through the Harry Potter fandom.
I’m going to talk about Preeti first because she’s no longer in my life and I thought it’d be nicer if we save the happiest stories for the end. On the 18th of April this year it’ll be one year since we last spoke and it still hurts to think about her. Before that, we’d been friends for four years and she was incredible. We first “met” when I asked her to make a manip of me and Harry (Styles). For most of you the word, manip, is completely foreign but they’re Photoshopped pictures of us with our favourite celebrity. She lived in India, was about four years older than me and we went through so much together. She knew all of my friends and their personalities so it was like she was right here. I knew we were best friends but it wasn’t until she attempted to take her own life and I thought I lost her and cried for hours and hours that I really realised how much I loved her. Luckily for me, she was okay and it was the summer of 2014 when we planned to meet in India finally but that unfortunately didn’t happen. I guess it was for the best because five months later she made it clear we couldn’t be friends anymore. Uni had started for me and I was so busy that I was neglecting her and we didn’t talk as much. It was about the time that she said she wanted out that I was also losing my high school friends and I wish I didn’t remember how bad it was then but I do. I don’t really have a proper ending for you because that’s just how life is and you don’t always get a “happily ever after”.
Moving on to lighter matters now – Brooke. Next to Karin, she has been my best friend since June/July 2013. I remember our very first conversation because the boys were coming that October and she tweeted me asking if I knew what hotel the boys were staying at. I told her that we couldn’t reveal it to everyone so to text me and we haven’t left each other since then. About two years later we finally met at a One Direction concert and I was unbelievably happy. The feeling of finally being able to hold your whole world is phenomenal. Even though she’s in Year 12 this year and we’ve both been so busy that we don’t get to talk as much, it doesn’t lessen our friendship whatsoever. Yes we might have met on the Internet but I would never call her an internet friend because not only are we as good as friends as I am with any of my friends in my everyday life, internet friends are real friends too.
My other Australian friend I made was Erin. Like Brooke, she’s in Year 12 this year and so we don’t get to talk as much but she has also supported me since day one. I’ve been so blessed to be able to spend quite a few days with her which, if you have internet friends, you know is quite a rarity. One of my favourite days ever has to be meeting 3/4 of The Vamps and being able to do it with her just made it so much more special. I remember Ma and me driving over to her house at 8am, picking her up and then after being stuck in traffic for an hour, running over to the stage and watching one of our favourite bands together and then meeting them The day after, we spent together shopping and I haven’t seen her since because, although she’s been in Brisbane a few times, our timetables always clash. Despite this, our friendship remains just as strong as we continue to support each other, especially with her being one of my main supporters of this blog.
Let’s fly over to the other side of the world now to Italy, to my dearest Francesco. Like Preeti, he’s quite a few years older but that doesn’t change our friendship or my love for him. We’ve been friends for about four years and to just think about everything we’ve been through together is unimaginable. I very clearly remember the beginning of our friendship because he tweeted me asking if I could check out a cover he did and after doing so, I messaged him and we talked for a while. I remember the moment I felt he was one of my closest friends when he told me his dad was sick. I knew now, more than ever before, that I had to stay by his side in this extremely hard time. I couldn’t begin to fathom his grief and the hardships he had to face. The morning his father passed away, a few months later, he messaged me at about 4am (this was the only time we were both awake and could talk) telling me of the news and I just sat at my desk and cried. I know I never knew his father and had never even met Francesco but it was like Francesco’s pain was radiating through my phone screen. Our friendship grew even stronger and eventually, we exchanged phone numbers and were texting nearly every day. One of my favourite memories though, has to be the night we were sending each other voice messages through iMessage and I heard his voice for the first time and really that’s just the power of the internet. Two kids from opposite sides of the world, eight hours apart became best friends. I know it still hasn’t happened but I know one day we will meet and I honestly can’t wait for that day.
My last friend I’ll be talking about is Rachel (or Rach). She’s from Singapore and we’ve definitely been friends the longest – nearly five years! Rach and I have been friends since the (italics) very beginning…since I made my Tom Felton fan account. I don’t quite remember what our first moments were together but it was something about keeping wands in your back pocket and blasting off your butt haha. Our friendship’s dynamic is quite different to anything I’ve ever had before because we’ve been each other’s lives for so long but with both of us leading quite busy lives we never really talked that much. However she’s still remained a close friend over the years. Recently we’ve been talking so much more and it makes me so happy to have her back in my life.
Each and every one of these friends as well as the countless numbers of other friends I’ve made have truly shaped me as a person and made as much of an impact as anyone in my day-to-day life. I’ve dealt with tough times, as many of them have also but knowing I can turn to them whenever I need is one of the most comforting things. After all, isn’t that what makes a friendship truly great? Knowing that we may not talk all the time but when it comes down to it, we would drop everything to help the other and be there for them?
This post hasn’t done justice to everyone else. There are so many other friends I love so much and have had in my life for years now like Bella, Georgia, Ash, Han, Lucy and Kelly but if I was to talk about each and every person I have grown to love through Twitter we would all be here for years. So if I haven’t mentioned you, don’t think you’re any less important to me because there’s space in my heart for everyone!
Fandoms are so much more than what they appear. There’s a reason so many fangirls say that a certain band or individual has “changed their lives” or “saved their lives” because not only is it them but the friends you make along the way that changes lives. Friends are priceless and I owe One Direction and Harry Potter so much for bringing me to some of my best friends. If being a One Direction fan is something to be ashamed of then so be it because I’m proud to be one and to say I’m in the fandom because the memories I have made and continue to make are irreplaceable.
I hope that this post could bring some insight into many of your lives and I hope some of you judgemental souls will save your energy and instead of hating and laughing, educate yourselves on how a fandom could be so important to someone.