Happy World Friendship Day! To celebrate, we’ve been gathering the stories of our influencers about their digital relationships – and how many of them have blossomed into true friendships off-screen too.
For a long time, the internet was seen as a place to be anonymous, where contact was restricted to chatrooms or MySpace connections. With the growth of social media, we’re revealing more and more about ourselves, and for many of us, sharing our ways to be a better person too. Here’s how sharing our passion, and vulnerability, can create strong friendships “in real life”.
Rewarded with Friendship
BY LOTTIE OF INTO THE ECO
I didn’t think it was possible to make real friends online, so I was pleasantly surprised when I had my first genuine meet-up after just a couple of months of blogging within the sustainable community.
Better still, my friend and I still stay in touch to this day, and we provide each other with a vital lifeline when in need of a chat or some encouragement or advice.
I now feel like I have so many new friends and I owe it all to Instagram and the drive of awesome bloggers. How amazing is that feeling, that by reaching out and putting your vulnerability and passion out into the world you get truly rewarded with new friendships?
I feel very lucky to be part of such an open and caring movement where we all share similar passions and visions for the future. I am hoping our bonds can only grow stronger and more powerful in time.
We Inspire Each Other
BY ONA OF INLACE MEDIA
My story is about Catarina and Emma, the co-founders of Inlace Media and dear friends of mine. We met over social media, and since meeting, we’ve been inseparable!
The thing I love about social media is that you can find like-minded people by doing a simple hashtag search. Especially in the health and wellness scene, where everyone is open and friendly – making friends online has become super easy!
But how these online friendships can turn into real-life friendships is a different story. It can be intimidating to message someone first or even see someone face-to-face if you have no idea what they’re like in “real life”. That’s why I love what Emma did: she organised a small vegan potluck dinner party with a few people she’d met on Instagram. From Instagram, we joined a Facebook Group, and that turned into a dinner party in her tiny apartment in Helsinki!
When it came to Catarina, we had gone to school together but never really talked. I since found her on Instagram and saw she was doing all the things I wanted to do: traveling around the world, living a sustainable and conscious lifestyle. I messaged her and we had a matcha date, and we have now rekindled our friendship!
When I introduced Emma to Catarina for the first time, the idea of Inlace Media was born. Three girls sharing the same values and enthusiasm for conscious living, we just knew we had to create something!
I’m so grateful for all the beautiful friends I’ve made through social media and wanted to share this little story that has so much meaning to me.
Creating Real Change Together
BY MAXIME OF OURGOODBRANDS
It is amazing how many digital friends we have made since starting OurGoodBrands. This story is about one of the most incredible:
It all started after posting on our Instagram page to raise awareness on how dangerous and unhealthy the commercial sanitary pads are for women and the environment. We ended up finding a Nigerian community of ladies who were sharing images of commercial sanitary pads; by doing so they had the chance to participate in a competition to win a year of free pads.
We commented on their posts to try to explain that this product was a very unsustainable option and that there were more eco-friendly alternatives out there. To our surprise, a few women replied back with the question: “Which brands are better for us?”
We set about researching ethical brands, but unfortunately, none of them were distributed in Nigeria. We could not provide a solution for these women, who genuinely needed sanitary pads and were trying their best of getting these essentials for free (as if they were a luxury product!)
This blew our minds. We kept researching and discovered Benedicta Uweru and her amazing work. Her background is the medical domain, but her mission is educating younger generations in Nigeria around sexuality, feminine health and hygiene. Some real change is happening in Africa, a continent where the lack of education seems to be a major challenge, especially for women.
Since then, we’ve been campaigning together to invite potential social enterprises to enter the Nigerian market with our support. A brand called The Tulip Cup has now pledged to donate a few hundred menstrual cups! And through her own work, Benedicta has been invited to representing Nigeria at the World Youth Service Enterprise (WYSE) International Leadership Program. We are so inspired by her tireless work and we are looking forward to keeping collaborating in many ways!
For us, the real lesson was that when you run a digital platform, you are opening up yourself to the entire world, and you never know what surprises and new friendships are in store!
Keeping Sisters Close
My sister and I are seven years apart and as such, we only lived in the same house for 10 years.
She was a small child and I was a teenager, so our world only collided when our parents forced us to spend hours together in the back seat of a car to go visit family members.
I left home at 18 and then left the country at 23. Without the internet my sister and I would still be strangers. But thankfully we have been able to get to know each other as adult women on the medium she and I both prefer, considering we’re introverts.
Lately we have been very into sending each other voice memos, ranging in length from an 11-second “oh my got my cat did this cute thing” missive, to eight-minute long rants about the state of the world.
She is my best friend. We may live eight timezones away from each other but thanks to the internet we’ve developed such a strong relationship.