There are several situations that can lead to a friendship moving to letters, or more recently to e-mails: in childhood, when meeting friends on holidays, at summer camps or when they move town ; later on, with friends met at university, or even friends from work.
There is also the situation of the pen pal, where the relationship starts by letters and can lead to an enduring friendship, sometimes without people ever meeting face to face.
Then there is the case of social networks.
Some people say friends met on them are not real friends yet the principle seems, to me anyway, very close to that of the pen pal: someone with whom one bonds over a common interest, whatever it may be.
I have met some of my closest friends like this, and I have yet to meet some of them face to face.
That doesn’t take away the importance of our friendship.
I have been off social networks for quite a while now but they endure.
Our exchanges might be less frequent but they are still as genuine, maybe even more so now that they happen away from all the surrounding distraction. We can both be fully present to the exchange, whether it happens via (long) messages, on the phone or via video call.
Connexion, understanding, sharing can happen regardless of the communication means.
Written messages have a advantage for me, though: I can read them carefully and take the time I need to formulate what I want to say to make sure I am as precise as possible.
But since most of my friends are neurodivergents, we understand the difficulties we might have when communicating, which makes it more relaxed.
I am considering this as my in-person social life is changing into a mostly long distance format.
Some of my friends are moving to a near-by town, so I might be able to still see them occasionally, but others have moved to another country and although we have the intention to go and visit them, it won’t happen just yet and I don’t know if it’ll happen again after that.
I am wondering if those will be the type of relationship that carry on despite the change in format or whether we will slowly drift away, as it can happen even when living close to each others.
Life is in perpetual transformation, and so are our relationships, whether they last or fizzle out.