I vividly remember my dance teacher, Miss T, telling our class not to worry about going to high school. Not because it would be okay, or anything that was actually comforting. But because we wouldn’t have to be concerned about staying in touch with our primary school friends. She told us that we would find better friends. That that the friendships we had in that moment were irrelevant.
She was not my favourite teacher.
When I first began high school, I lost touch with most people from primary—I didn’t much like them anyway. There were, however, a few select friends who I was sad to let go.
Opportunity came knocking with the launch of the social messaging app Kik. Introduced to me by the one primary school friend with whom I had maintained contact through dancing; I decided it was the perfect opportunity to re-establish contact with the few people I missed.
From there it became a regular after school activity to sit on the couch and message back and forth with this group of five (including that friend from dance). Our friendship was reaffirmed when a few of us started attending the same youth group for a couple years—all organised over Kik; a semi-long-distance friendship.
These girls became my closest friends.
We lost a few along the way. Falling outs, differing interests. Until there were just three of us left—Steph, Tara and myself.
Around year 10 we made the switch to Facebook and Facebook Messenger. We were able to share more of our lives and communicate more authentically. It was easier to organise ourselves and we were motivated to do more together.
It was great to have people who were always there to talk to—they wouldn’t get annoyed with the all-hours messaging. We stuck by each other and pushed each other to be better people as we dealt with the troubles of growing up.
They were my closest friends, even more so than the ones I had at school.
Year 12 was the most stressful time of our lives. We moved from messaging each other to Skyping each other so we could study ‘together’. It was far more motivating to sit down and do work if you were amongst friends, even if it was only digital.
We’re still friends now. It feels like all those years of partially separated friendship prepared us for the long-distance kind.
Our lives now are crazy and time-consuming. It’s impossible to maintain the high constancy of social media contact that we once did. Though there may now be gaps between when we talk, our bond is still just as strong.
Looking back it’s amazing to see how social media has been the glue that has held us together. How it has impacted everything from our nicknames—Stephy, Taz, Chrissy—to what we wore when we went out.
Take that, Miss T.