How would you consider a person as your friend? In answering this, I’m sure that you would look back and think of how you’d become friends with the people you’re close with right now. You might say that you consider them as friends because you are always with them or at least you are always talking to them. Another answer is that they all know your secrets and that you could always confide in them no matter what. You could get so many other responses but everything comes down to one thing: connection. We derive friendship from this simple thing. You become friends with someone because you are connected to them physically and mentally in the most platonic way possible. According to Robert Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love, friendship involves at least intimacy and companionship is that mended with commitment. I do think that those things are the most basic foundations of friendship. As Sternberg also said, true friendship involves intimate liking of people in which both parties experience bondedness, warmth, and closeness to one another platonically. For this, I think connection is vital to achieve this kind of state since without connection, how else could you feel this with another person?
The question is though, is it possible for people to feel this legitimate friendship from someone they just met in cyberspace? Is it enough of a connection to achieve this state of friendship?
When I was in grade school which was when I was about 10-12 years old, I started to become more literate in using computers thus making me quite “addicted” in surfing the internet. Aside from Friendster, a then-popular social networking site, I was really active in the video-sharing site called Youtube. Though the primary focus of the site was to share videos, it wasn’t really what I did in that site. I actually made it my social networking site, more so than in Friendster.
To be honest, at first I just really made an account there since I wanted to comment on the videos I were watching in Youtube then. From doing that, I met a lot of people who shared the same interests as I did back then. I was really engrossed in watching anime and reading manga at my age that time and meeting people who liked the same anime or manga as me was really great since I get to talk to them about those kinds of things and also get recommendations and recommend shows myself too.
From all the online friends I made though, there was this one person who I was really close to. Her username is dantomisaw124. I don’t really know much of her personal details aside from she’s a girl to tell the truth. I even remember only calling her by her username actually and I don’t really know how old she is even. It didn’t really bother me though. I remember that all of us were really just hidden from a username in those sites. Nobody really knows anything about anyone until you give out your information or ask for theirs. Still though, she and I were really close. Aside from talking about the shows we both liked, we actually talked about everything. From what we were doing to what’s going on with our lives. We even talked about the most personal details of our lives. Every time I’m sad that time I also would tell her everything and vice versa.
I think that I felt comfortable with sharing all those things to her because I felt secure that she doesn’t know anyone who knows me personally so it would be fine if she told it to anyone or at least she wouldn’t bother and of course vice versa. I was really glad to have someone to talk to then. I didn’t felt judged and I really felt like even if I would say weird things to her she wouldn’t mind. I wasn’t really a talkative person and I was actually pretty secretive to the people around me when I was a child but having someone to talk to about things that I wouldn’t say to anyone who knows me personally was a really refreshing change of pace then. I really felt a connection and trusted her. I also feel like she felt the same for me. Unfortunately, we both have been inactive with those sites and slowly drifted off from each other. I actually don’t know how to contact her now but all those memories of our friendship then would remain in my mind. I’m really thankful for meeting her even if it’s only in cyberspace.
From that experience with my old friend, I do believe I felt companionship with her, basing from Sternberg’s theory, I felt the intimacy (me trusting her and confiding in her) and commitment (we chatted with each other every day then). Human connectivity in cyberspace is possible. I think the very point of cyberspace is to build this very connection to people who can’t physically be with each other. Why else would social networking sites exist if not for this? It’s very helpful what modern technology could do to lessen the problem of distances for connectivity. Though having to see each other often is a great factor for friendship, I think what matters more is that is you could connect with a person, trust, and understand them without any prejudice or judgement.
Human connectivity for the most part is the close interpersonal relationship between two people and their attachment to each other. Having to connect with someone is when you can sympathize and empathize with them. This is an important part for friendship since it’s probably the basic foundation of it. I think that though a great factor for this is how often you bond with each other but this doesn’t mean that if you can’t physically be with other people you can’t connect with each other. Just like what I’ve said before, what’s great about cyberspace is that you could connect with people even when you’re apart. So, maximize your internet usage today and say hi or make a friend today!