The world is different these days. We can know people who live on our block and half way around the world with the same degree of intimacy. There may be lack in physical touch or such, but really even that has been worked around.
So how should we look at the people we call friends but just know in the box? Are they some how not worth as much just because we haven't flown out to meet them or didn't go to high school with them? If they are sad, hurt, confused are we supposed to click our tongue, say "that's too bad," and move on to the next friend? Or should we say, "what can I do?"
The reality is that we sometimes share as much if not more of ourselves with our on-line friends. Time isn't an issue because we leave this message and they get back with us when they can and then we get back to them when we can... we can give more because we can do it around the day to day life.
We notice things about our friends on line, like changes in their type of "speech" as they write, the content they share, and how well it is all put together. We may miss this in a friend we just meet up with for lunch once a month.
What is our obligation to the on-line friend? Do we owe them the same concern, love, and understanding that we would a friend who lives in the same town? Do we wonder about them when we don't hear from them?
Time and energy put into any friendship gives it a level of importance. There are folks in your everyday world who could fade away unnoticed and others who you would cry a river for. But what of your on-line friends? We hold some as close as family so why would we not give them the same level of concern and importance as such?
Let's go back to a time when phone calls were scarce, there was space in the west, and people had to write letters to family and friends. Did the people then care less about each other because of the distance? They couldn't offer as much support or know as many details as the family that can now send and receive in a days time what would have taken months then.
On-line friendships and made family ties are as important as the friendships you had in high school. You invest you heart, your time, and sometimes your money in the people you find important connections with. They are no less your friend then the lady you meet for lunch. You also have oblications to them just as you would any other friend.
If you see a friend in need, in danger, or struggling then you offer what help you can. You take them a bag of groceries, you ask if they need to talk, or make some other move to help them. Really, if you are a good friend then it doesn't matter if you know these people just in the box but that they are your friend in the truest sense of the world. And true friends reach out, are there for each other, and look out for each other.
What is of real concern, is how easy some people can shut off that love and friendship. With a click of a button you can take someone out of your world forever. At least in the physical world you have to put a little more effort into it. Some things that can be worked through aren't for the simple reason it requires more work then hitting a delete button.
The world is changing. How people interact is changing. The need for friendship and love is not. Hold tight and honor your friends no matter where you met them. Treat them how you want your friends to treat you. Show concern, laugh, enjoy your friends because it is so much better then being alone.
Be thankful for the people in your world.