by: Bella Carstea
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a friend as “a person who you like and enjoy being with… a person who helps or supports someone or something.” Coincidentally, nowhere in that definition does it state the pair of friends needs to live near each other or even have met in person, which is just the case with my best friend Amalia (they/them) and I.
Let’s get this part out of the way. The biggest concern I hear whenever I mention my best friend lives a thousand miles away and we’ve never met in person, is safety. My best guess is adults are picturing me sitting in a chat room with an old man trying to get my credit information, but I’m happy to report that isn’t the case at all. Yes, we met online but the two of us made sure to do some thorough snooping to make sure the other was who they said they were. We talk face to face (screen to screen?) everyday.
Amalia is a senior at a school in Pompano Beach, Fla. Over a year ago, I met Amalia in April 2020 in the throws of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both of us are cosplayers, and one day I found their Instagram and decided to follow them and message them.
Scrolling through my feed one day I found Amalia’s Instagram. I followed them immediately and a few days later I decided to message them telling them how much I loved their cosplay. They responded and followed me back and we’ve been fast friends ever since.
We chatted on and off for a while, and quickly found out we had a startling amount in common. After a few days of messaging back and forth, I decided to Facetime them and we’ve video chatted everyday since. We talk all the time on many different platforms. One might think it would be difficult to keep up a strong bond but it’s actually been really seamless.
Amalia is definitely one of my closest friends. We talk 24/7, we have all the same interests and we really respect each other’s boundaries. And also they know my address so there’s no turning back now! (Don’t worry about that last part). We’ve sent each other countless packages including birthday and holiday presents.
You might be wondering how our parents reacted to our friendship. Both our moms were a tad concerned when we told them we just made a new friend with a stranger from the internet. But, after each parent got to meet the internet stranger, they concluded we’re not dangerous or some random person trying to chat with teens. We’re Just two dorks having fun. Now all four of us, plus Amalia’s sibling, share a family group chat.
It is really unfortunate that I haven’t been able to hang out with Amalia in real life but having a long distance bestie does have some large perks. We both participate in twice the amount of school activities and get to hear all about what it's like in a different state. I’ve participated in their school cabaret with them, performing a duet virtually. And now we’re working on their school musical together; they’re directing and I’m music directing from a distance.
Maybe one day we’ll get to perform together on the same stage. We plan on meeting up at some point this upcoming summer. It’s quite the experience speaking to someone everyday but not seeing them in real life but it’s also been the most exciting journey and the strongest friendship I’ve ever had.
Here’s to this summer. And Facetiming nightly until then.