Let's do the former, I guess.
I have friends online (not irl, friendless there), but while we call ourselves friends, we don't actually interact or do the things friends online do.
I'm not the person people ask to game with; I'm not the person people make friendly consensual jabs at (where you can poke fun at each other); I'm not the person who knows offstream things about someone; I'm not the person people go out of their way to interact with.
I'm just the person people like when we both happen to be around in the same area at approximately/loosely the same time by happenstance.
Which, mind you: is not a bad thing, that's still a good thing, it's just...it's all that I am, when I could be more, but am...just...not.
I've seen countless friend groups show me the dynamic which is one of my deepest most fundamental desires. They talk to each other, they game with each other, they remember things about each other, they KNOW things about each other, they joke with each other, etc.
For those that stream, I can sum up the dynamic thusly: A streamer gets made fun of by their chat for the things they do, say, or mention onstream. A streamer gets made fun of by their friends for the things they have done/said OFF stream.
Those inside jokes, that humor privy only to the friend group unless otherwise shared, is fairly critical. Friendship that extends beyond happenstance, which is actively maintained and reinforced by engaging with each other and vibing. I...have none of that. So this is my life.
Hearing news about a community member passing filled me with incredible sadness.
Because it hit me like a truck; I've been thinking about my life, my space in my communities, and what it'd be like if I suffered a demise, and it made me realize that I will be only a lesser version of a life like the one that was lost.
I'll never touch lives in a manner as profound, as kind, as that. And I probably won't even have anyone know I am gone-gone. If I were to die, nobody I care about would actually know. They'd notice I was gone, but they'd never know why I was gone.
I love them all so much. I want to give them so much. But the love and adoration I have for them, the support I want to give them, it's all just incredibly temporary. Us being in the same spot at the same time. It doesn't last. It doesn't persist. The feelings may, but the bond doesn't extend beyond 30 second interactions.
So I just...feel so alone.
I'm surrounded by friends, who I love and adore, and who call me friend and love and adore me, but I feel so alone.