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Online strangers become Bergner’s virtual friends

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Online strangers become Bergner’s virtual friends

Bergner uses online chat rooms and social media to meet new people.

Bergner uses online chat rooms and social media to meet new people.

Isabel Saavedra-Weis

Bergner uses online chat rooms and social media to meet new people.

Isabel Saavedra-Weis

Isabel Saavedra-Weis

Bergner uses online chat rooms and social media to meet new people.

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There are friendships that form naturally, friendships that bond through a mutual friend, and friendships that have lasted so long that no one remembers how it came to be. In an age of social media and internet access, there’s another genre of friendships: the virtual kind.

Senior Adelia Bergner is a seasoned pro at making these types of connections, whether it be through social media or an anonymous chat room.

“Because I am very involved with extracurricular activities at SPA, I don’t have many friends outside of school and I think this is what initially drew me to meeting new people online,” Bergner said.

It can be a lot easier sometimes to be myself when there isn’t that overwhelming pressure of knowing I’m going to have to see somebody in person the next day.”

— Adelia Bergner

But, it’s not always safe to make friends online. It’s too easy for people to fake their identity! Bergner has heard it all before. She doesn’t dismiss the precautions, but she sees her online friendships in a different light.

“If someone online starts asking for your credit card or social security number, that should definitely raise a red flag. However, if you aren’t sharing personal information and are simply chatting with a person, I think that’s a really awesome experience,” she said.

Some people might see having friends you’ve never met, or even seen, as strange and unnatural. However, Bergner finds this aspect of online friendship to be rather comforting.

“It can be a lot easier sometimes to be myself when there isn’t that overwhelming pressure of knowing I’m going to have to see somebody in person the next day,” Bergner said.

Without the help of the internet our lives probably would have never crossed paths.”

— Adelia Bergner

Bergner has never met any of her online friends in person yet, mainly due to the fact that one lives in Canada and the other lives in New Zealand. However, if the opportunity arises, she’d like to meet them — safely, in a well-lit public space, of course.

Bergner’s experience reflects the larger story common to those growing up with chat rooms at their fingertips. While older generations frown upon friendships that blossom through a screen, Bergner praises virtual friends for opening her eyes to how people live in other parts of the world.

“I have been able to meet people from around the world whose lives are very different from mine and have some really interesting conversations with them about how they experience the world. Without the help of the internet our lives probably would have never crossed paths,” she said.

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About the Contributor
Isabel Saavedra-Weis, Opinions Editor

Isabel Saavedra-Weis is the Co-Editor of Opinion on the RubicOnline. She also is behind the blog No Right Answer. This is her fourth year on staff. Recently,...

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