Before I start, I need to give you a history of how I used to feel about making friends online. My husband Dan is the kind of person who had online friends for as long as I’ve known him. I actually remember once telling him it was “creepy” that he talked to people that he never met and called them “friends”. I thought there was no such thing as creating real meaningful relationships online because I truly didn’t understand it at all. I’m woman enough to admit that I was wrong.
I still think it’s funny how this whole thing started. I remember when he told me about this person he started following that liked all the same nerdy things he did and that he seemed like a cool guy. Dan followed him on social media and began interacting with his posts by just being himself—a nerdy, witty, and sarcastic guy and they really hit it off.
I don’t really know what happened — maybe all the Star Wars references or the fact that John-Erik had a secret pathway into Narnia and stole all the shirts that Dan owns — but after a few months of this, they became friends. We decided that we were going to invite John-Erik to our wedding even though we never actually met him offline.
Five months after all the shenanigans started, we were going to be in the area conveniently around the time that a Marvel movie was coming out. (Score!) We decided that we would all go to the movies to meet “in real life”. I have to say that it felt like a family reunion. It wasn’t awkward or weird at all.
It’s been a year since then, and not only did John-Erik’s family become like family to us, but we also have shared so many adventures together since then- from crashing our wedding to being completely terrified on Space Mountain, and a hilarious group text that I hope never ends. I know this is only the beginning.
I think often times the reason people don’t become friends with people online is because they are quick to need something from someone instead of just treating them like a regular person and making conversation to get to know them. They look at what they need instead of identifying what the OTHER person needs.
I’m pretty sure if Dan had asked me to marry him right away when I first met him, I would have said no, and it’s the same thing in online relationships. If you want to be friends with someone then treat him or her with respect, honor who they are, and most of all be there for them when they need you- no strings attached.
PS: Click here to read my husband's side of the story.
PPS: Click here to read John-Erik's side (complete with videos!)
Caity Schenker is an entrepreneur from Newton, NJ. She is a woman of God, a puppy mom to a cheagle named Pepper, a leader in network marketing, and married her husband Dan in October, 2015.