Soul Connex, Vol. 1: Case of the Insta-BFF
This is the first in what we hope will be an ongoing series on Internet friendships: how they're made, how they work, and the serendipity and joy that can come from meeting a really good person at just the right time. We hope you enjoy Jennie & Kristin's story, below. If you have one of your own, email us at email@example.com -- we'd love to hear it!
I would have never guessed I’d meet a best friend through an app made of photos, captions, and scrolling.
Two years ago, when I was a senior in undergrad, I became a fan of blogger and speaker Hannah Brencher. Hannah posted a photo on her Instagram account announcing she would be speaking at Northern Kentucky University near Cincinnati, Ohio, sometime in March. Cincinnati was only a few hours away from me and being the fangirl I was, I did not want to miss out. I left a comment on her post, asking for specifics like time, campus building, and cost. Instead of Hannah commenting, a gal named Kristin answered my question.
Kristin and I ended up exchanging e-mails and sat by each other at the event. She was in a wheelchair at the time after breaking her ankle while on a mission’s trip in Ecuador & I had to drive back for classes the next morning. Because of those things, we didn’t get to spend much time together after the event but began following one another on social media.
I graduated from college a few months later and began searching for any type of post-grad, big kid job. Then in the beginning of December, I said yes to a job with The National Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. And wouldn’t you know, the job location was Cincinnati. Soon after I had accepted the job offer, I messaged Kristin, letting her know I would essentially be her neighbor soon. We made plans to get coffee as soon as I was settled in.
On a Saturday morning in late January, I warmed up with a hazelnut latté, and she with some delicious fig cherry tea. Because, if you know anything about Kristin, you know she loves tea, not coffee. When we weren’t chatting about our jobs or our shared love of writing, I was spilling the beans on my boyfriend and she was showing me an awesome devotional project where her writing was featured.
The next time we got coffee was that the summer. I had a doctor’s appointment near her in the afternoon so we met for a quick mid-day chat. This was when our (hashtag) “no filter” friendship began. Instead of being bubbly, I was sad about the boyfriend I had no more, and Kristin had recently lost her grandmother. We shed some tears in front of each other and probably into our Starbucks drinks. From there, we met after another one of my doctor’s appointments and lost our breath from laughing in the dressing room when tall Kristin tried on what she thought was a shirt but was actually a romper.
Next we met for lunch after church at a Mexican restaurant. We had a “write-in” date where we both worked on individual writing projects at a coffee shop. We had another write-in date where we didn’t write but instead scrolled through matches on E-Harmony and laughed loudly in a usually quiet tea room. She invited me to my first spinning class while also warning me she had gotten sick after her first spinning class a few weeks prior. I played “I Will Survive” on my phone and we danced right outside of Cycle Bar once it was over because neither one of us had thrown up after spinning for an hour to tunes by Justin Timberlake. A thing to which, after seeing a video of our dancing, Kristin’s mom said “I’m glad you have a weird friend.” We chatted at a coffee shop in the early spring where, because the seats were filled inside, we sat by a small chimney fire pit outside and attempted to stay warm. We stood in a parking lot after dinner and before we knew it we had been talking for two hours.
These days we take walks at the park, talk all things adulting, eat sushi and pizza, pray for each other and send obnoxious Snapchats of me singing and her pretending like she’s having a cooking show.
Tonight we’re meeting downtown for yoga in a park and tacos after. Funny, too, since we’re meeting one of our friends who even though we all are in an online network for Christian women called Influence Network, we initially connected through Instagram.
Maybe it seems odd to meet anyone this way, but it’s becoming more common and is so fun. One doesn’t have to radically change anything to meet new people. In my story, yes, the friendship did grow more because I moved after graduating college. But the friendship began from reaching out right where we were.
Different than how a traditional friendship develops, Instagram renders immediate access to learn much more about someone at a quicker pace. In the world of analogies, it’s kind of like a booster seat at Chik-fil-A without the chicken. Of course, this is dependent too on how much a person shares. From the get go, I knew Kristin was a creative with a passion for writing and a love for Jesus.
What started as a fangirl’s simple question on a good ol’ app turned into a deep, true IRL friendship. We might get scolded in yoga for laughing too loud, but I won’t mind because I am crazy grateful for a best friend to be fresher than fresh with and realer than real.