It’s been a horrendous week. Truly. I cannot tell you how stressful this week has been. Monday evening particularly where two things were happening simultaneously that were tipping me over the edge. One had been bubbling for awhile. One was a medical emergency. Phone calls with two completely separate groups of people whilst trying to deal with two stressful events, whilst in the car, doing the school run with four excited fourteen year olds.
Feeding teenagers, jumping back in the car and then being in an ambulance with a poorly person on the way to A and E where I stayed (accompanied by Mr B from 8pm straight from work) until 1.30am.
And then Tuesday morning I woke up to no blog. None. Deleted. By hackers? By mistake by somebody? Or for a valid reason that needed addressing. We didn’t get to the bottom of it until mid afternoon (thanks to the supreme efforts of the company that host it). I spent six hours thinking that two years of blog had gone. No of course I haven’t backed it up. Don’t be silly. All posts. All comments. All subscribers. Gone. I felt sick.
Whilst still dealing with the fall out from the two events the day before. On three hours sleep.
And whilst working and trying to be cheerful when callers said “how are you?” because I knew if I told them the truth I would end up a gibbering wreck. And knowing that whilst asking that question they were not expecting anything other than “fine, how are you?” and wouldnt be able to handle the truth. For God sake I could hardly handle the truth.
Thankfully my host company got to the bottom of it and restored it. But not before I had sat and wept at one point.
Wednesday, 1st May is never a good day for me anyway and it was then that I had it reconfirmed just how amazing friendships made online can be.
I was still dealing with one of the events from Monday, thankfully less stressful but still needing to be dealt with, when the medical emergency happened again. More frantic phone calls with me standing in the middle of Waitrose before school pick up not knowing what to do or how to cope but having to keep it together and then drive to school.
When I got to school I did what I do in these situations. I shared on social networks that I was having a really tough time.
People that I have never met sending messages saying “you okay?” or “here’s a hug”. People that couldn’t pick me out in a line up but who know about me. Know that I was wobbling and needed somebody to be there. Even if “there” was 200 miles away behind a computer screen.
They didn’t want details, they didn’t want me to explain or have to go through it all, or even want me to talk at all. They just wanted to let me know that they were there for me.
Being stuck in front of a computer for ten hours a day means that it is virtually impossible for me to go out and meet friends, or invite them over. So online friends have become a lifeline. Not working in an office or going out socially with huge groups of people who bring other people along means that my options for making friends is limited. I live alot of my life online these days and so that is where my friendships develop
There still seems to be a real stigma attached to a friend made online. That it is in someway sleazy. As though there is less of a friendship, or it can’t be genuine. Alison Perry wrote about the same thing this week in her post about Twitter friendships the feeling that if you say “oh they are a Twitter friend” or “oh yes, that is somebody I know from blogging” it somehow dilutes the depth of the friendship. Means it can’t be real.
But for me that is simply not the case. I now view many of the friends I have made on line as being amongst my inner circle of best buddies. Annie and Penny for instance, who I went to Ghana with. Both friends I have made online. The wedding we went to in February was of a friend I met online when another friend, also made online (who came to Thorpe Park in Mr B’s absence last weekend), introduced us because they needed a bit of property advice. The people that are there for me at 2am when I Tweet “can’t sleep” or when I am Tweet at 6am on a Monday morning that I am ironing and they offer me a virtual coffee. Or when I post on Facebook that the world has thrown another curve ball, I get a whole string of comments offering help / support / hugs or advice.
I am going to the two day Britmums Live blog conference again in June. Not so much for the agenda (which I really should pay attention to since I am one of the speakers!) but because it is a chance to meet these people. All these amazing people I have been talkign to online for a while will be there in one room. There will be much laughter, much catching up for real. And much drinking.
None of this is to say that I don’t have amazing friends out there in the real world, I absolutely do. My two best friends Jo and Tasha are incredible and I know I could call either of them at 3am and they would be there for me. But I can truly say that without the support of so many online friends this week I don’t think I would have got through it.
How about you? Can online friendships be as good or even better than those made at work or in “the real world”?