It's better than having no friends at all ;)
I have had many friends, both online and in "real" life. The ones in "real "life have done nothing but use me and hurt me. Online, I have made quite a few friends who seem sincere, supportive, and for the most part honest. They have no reason to lie to me. They offer support where before I got none. I can relate a problem I am having, and there is always someone to help, or empathize with me...no one is too buy to listen. Some of my online friends have been friends for over 8 years.
I have a significant quantity of friends both online and in real life, though I still feel like it's not enough or they're not true enough or real enough. I think It's important to have friends In more than one circle, that way if you have problems in one you can retreat to another for support. I do think you need friends In real life because only they can offer you physical acceptance.
I have family offline (Siblings. When they're not too busy), but all of my non-family friends are online. That's partly because I'm not working and whenever I go out anywhere, I'm tempted to spend money... so, it's better for me to be at home. In some ways, my online friends are as close to me as my blood relatives. Whether it's normal or not just isn't a factor for me :-)
There's nothing wrong with you, in fact I'm in a similar situation. It's not very healthy, but as Bananaman said, it's better than having no friends at all!
I have serious social anxiety, & because of that, I have no "real" friends. The only "friends" I have at all are online. I don't consider it to be normal for myself, but I don't consider myself to be normal. <br />
I think "normal" is relative & as long as you're okay with it... you're perfectly normal & there's nothing wrong with you.
It's not healthy.
It's more than ok, it's going to be the norm soon enough.<br />
Technology is making it easier and easier for people to socialise over the internet, and eventually everyone will be doing it, it's a great way to broaden your horizons and meet people from different social structures you might've never had the chance to before..<br />
Just don't forget to get some sun every now and then, socialising in person is somethng everyone needs in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.<br />
I find if you baricade yourself off from the real world for too long, you start to forget how to interact with people, and that could later case issues with relationships, jobs, family, etc.
We are kindred spirits!!! I am unemployed and I don't like to go outside much unless I have too. The only friends I have are the ones on EP. So no you're not alone and there is nothing wrong with you, me or the countless others who find comfort in just being online friends. Its a basic fact that the world ain't ready for us!!!
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I work in the mental health field and have had clients with a similar situation. I wouldnt say something is wrong with you...if I had to guess you are probably depressed and/or anxious, and in-person social interaction makes you uncomfortable because of real or imaginary fears of being judged on appearance or social skills etc. Internet interactions are more comfortable because you cannot be as easily judged on those factors, and the repercussions of an interaction going wrong are far less. But, while I say nothing is necessarily wrong with you, I will say that it is not necessarily a healthy activity if you are not interacting with significant others in the offline world. There is mountains of evidence to suggest that face-to-face social contact and touch are important for well-being. There is also mountains of evidence that social isolation, withdrawal, and avoidance are unhealthy and related to negative outcomes such as depression and lower well-being...and they are related to maintaining depressive symptoms. Furthermore, avoiding in-person interactions removes chances for you to improve social skills/challenge depressive assumptions that you have poor social skills. So overall, if your only contact with others is online, you are potentially facing becoming more depressed and aggravating already poor life circumstances. So get out more, or get a therapist who can assist you. And again, yes you are normal, you're probably just depressed