“You don’t connect with people because you don’t even try to understand them.” Caroline’s words cut into Klaus sharp and deep when she spat those words, but they were nonetheless true. Not only did they leave Klaus cut open both in the heart and in the mind, but also the audience.
Genuine friendship is not an easy thing, no matter how effortless other people make it seem. It requires trust, mutual effort, and most of all: love. As we know very well from watching Klaroline, finding real love doesn’t happen every day, and when we do find it, we have to work like hell not to let it slip through our fingers. Friendship is no different from an epic romance.
This is why we are all so blessed to be in an environment that already connects us with a powerful common interest. We are all passionate about this one couple, and can evoke powerful emotions within one another. And there probably is no better love story than falling in love with someone without reservation, or condition, or perverted by lust.
However, some people haven’t been as lucky as myself to be able to say that they love a group of people as much as they love Klaroline. It can get frustrating when you can’t seem to form this incredible bond that others have found. You may even accuse the fandom of being “cliquey” and only talking to people in their “inner circle.” I’ve seen several accusations that claim the fandom is “stuck up,” or it’s difficult to make friends, and I have to disagree. I know what many people would be thinking, I’m a hypocrite, I already have friends, I have no idea what it’s like to be lonely in a place that should be a haven. Well, those naysayers would be wrong.
Because, once upon a time, there was a point in time where all Klaroliners didn’t have any friends. Yes, even those popular blogs and authors who are way too cool to talk to you, didn’t know anyone. To many of us, making friends online is a complete enigma. You can rationalize the situation by presuming that the fandom is snobby and won’t befriend new people and simply leave, or you can take the time to figure out the secret to making life-long friends with a group of people you never would have been given the opportunity to meet.
My story started out a lot similar to many people’s. I was on twitter before moving to tumblr and on both sites I met plenty of nice people, but never formed any significant bonds. I didn’t actually start looking for serious friendships until I had seen how close knit many people were on tumblr. Naturally, I wanted that as well, to love someone so adamantly, like you’ve known them your entire life. At first, I’d thought I’d done everything that I could do, with minimal progress. I reblogged, commented, and made efforts to interact with many people that seemed interesting to me. I could comfortably say that I had made many acquaintances through those methods, but nothing as solid as the friendships taking place across my dash.
Pondering over the situation, I considered that fandom life just wasn’t for me. Then, one day, I saw something interesting appear on my dash. I had recently followed Jackie (badassbellamyblake) because I needed a beta, little did I know that this would be the best and worst decision I’ve ever made, right next to my decision to ship Klaroline. Jackie is a fairly popular Klaroliner, so it’s understandable why anons had come to her seeking for a way to make more friends since she seems to hold the secret as to how it’s done. Someone had suggested creating a Skype chat where Klaroliners could meet and befriend one another. Jackie is the founder of “The Klarogang Castle” Skype chat. It currently has about 50 members and still growing. I entered the chat and within minutes I felt unexplainable connections that neither tumblr nor twitter could ever successfully instill inside me. Any doubts or preconceived notions I could have had about the Klaroline fandom being cliquey completely vanished. I understood then that these people were no different than me, even though there were plenty of “famous” bloggers in there with me. All these people have a lot of followers, talents, opinions, etc., but all of them are still very much human.
One secret that they don’t tell you about entering a fandom is that not every social media platform is treated the same. Some websites are better catered to making new friends and others are better at showcasing pretty gifs. Many people can be timid to send someone a message to say “hi” because they think they’re bothering the person. But then one should go somewhere where people go when they want to socialize. If tumblr or twitter don’t work, narrow it down to a more enclosed environment. Join a skype chat or a whatsapp group. Start a group chat with other people who are feeling lonely if that makes you more comfortable. Join fandom projects and get to know the people you work with.
The most common reason why people do not become friends is due to shyness. Give people a chance to get to know you and they will surprise you. Go out and take what you want. Do not make the same mistake Klaus has and assume that no one would love and accept you, because Klaroliners have so much love in their hearts.
There are so many advantages to making online friends. You can enrich your lives by learning about other people’s cultures, make new connections, and have friendships that aren’t restricted by the ocean. Caryn (caitlinsnowflakes) does an excellent job explaining her views on why meeting people online can only raise one up. “I just think like the friends you have in real life you have because they are close to you and because you share life experiences with them, with regards to internet friends there are basically no limits, because you can meet someone who understands you, who gets your sense of humour, who respects your lifestyle, who enjoys the same things as you so you can find someone ideally who is the perfect friend for you online because you don’t have to take into consideration distance or how often you can hang out.”
Many people might be quick to judge at the thought of having internet friends, because you don’t really “know” who you’re talking to, or that it’s simply not real. Well, those people have clearly never met fandom friends. Because it is as real as those friends who you’ve known since childhood. There are several Klaroliners in the fandom who have actually shifted from internet friends to real life friends, so do not doubt the power of fandom friendships. There’s this saying, “If there’s a will, there’s a way.” No matter the situation, if you want to remain friends with someone, you have to want it. And if you truly want to meet your friends, you have to genuinely want to and put in the effort, no matter the distance. In fact, our very own, Tanya (athossqueen), is currently engaged, and five Klaroliners in the fandom are attending the wedding. Caryn, Tyler (margoatrobbie), Monika (realynn8), Brynne (natssoldier), and Lulu (vampirebarbiecare) will fly over to India December 2015 to serve as bridesmaids. Keep that in mind before you dismiss the opportunity to meet someone online; you never know when you’re going to need someone to give a speech at your wedding reception.
Take a chance, I dare you.
We all have a story and a journey. Friendships aren’t made overnight, just like there is no such thing as love at first sight. But we can all learn from one another and just try to understand. Understand how friendships are formed, and understand that the best things in life are the most difficult and the ones we fight for.
Many of our fellow Klaroliners are happy to share their success stories with finding their own epic love stories… with each other.
“We are a pretty adventurous fandom. Thus, we make memorable moments everyday, and they start to blend together. However, there is one occasion that comes to mind. I was frightened and watching some strange episode while still chatting on the KC chat, and Tyler (margoatrobbie) happened to be on at the same time. And when I conveyed how terrified a part of me was because of this ep, she asked me if I was okay and that maybe I should stop watching. I told her I was fine. I was scared, but it was nothing I couldn’t handle without clutching a blanket. And I told her thank you. She told me, ‘I just have a bleeding heart.’
Tyler is a huge troll in the fandom. I had seen her URL around before, and I was vastly intimidated by her presence. Yet, her concern for me that night sincerely touched my heart and made me feel appreciated. Tyler has morphed into one of those people I will cherish for all eternity, even if she stopped cherishing me back. Moments like these are how my friendships were born in this fandom. Klaroline created the initial link, but occasionally, someone would say something to me that fractured a wall I had constructed and made me feel important. That is why I say the Klaroline fandom is my family. I don’t have “best friends”, but I do have you guys.” Rebekah (thedenimofrose) exemplifies finding those unlikely people who surprise us in the most beautiful ways.
“I remember the way I met most of the awesome friends I have in this fandom was because of the Klarogang skype chat group, which was itself the best example of Klaroliners taking something negative and showing how awesome we are. I met Mallory (khaleesiofthewolves) first, who was so kind and so wonderful, and finally getting to interact with the all the people behind the blogs I followed was incredible. I picked a good time too, because a month later we were all freaking out about 5×11 and the fact that I got to share that with people- amazing, funny, witty, passionate people – made it ten times better.” – Elle (hummingbirds-and-champagne) demonstrates the reward that we gain when we wait to find those friends who show us everything we’ve been missing.
“I saw a tumblr post about joining a whatsapp chat for klaroliners and I’d seen other people were in similar chats so I thought what the hell why not
I wanted to get to know more people and this opportunity presented itself. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in this fandom, as well as joining KM. The people in the chat have become my best friends, we’ve discussed leaving the fandom from time to time but the one thing that we could never leave is each other. We’ve become disgustingly co-dependent. The past few months, I talk to these ladies in Klarochat more than I talk to the friends I’ve had for years. They are my family now.” -Erika (eriberry89) speaks of those friends we didn’t know that we needed.
“Ashley (jomosfamilyjewels) was the first ‘friend’ I met through KC. We were both just in the tag, realized we were about the same age and place in life and just started talking. That was in the early days of me shipping KC, during the fall of S4. I met Becky (a-little-blonde-distraction) in a chat about a Klaroline story, and she introduced me to Alex (klarolineepiclove), Leah (Approvesomuch), and Katie (hybridlovelies) in another chat about her own story a few months later that went onto skype chats and texting. Alex and I realized that we lived close to each other so we had to meet. I don’t exactly remember how I met Alyssa (idiot–wind). I think it just came from us commenting on each other’s stories and our love of KC and smut just brought us together.
The beauty of KC is that our mutual love of these two and the ship brought us all together, but it was a stepping point really. It wasn’t until I got involved with the fandom and tumblr that I discovered there were others like me and that being a fangirl wasn’t such the oddity I thought it was. Don’t get me wrong, I have met people from other fandoms and become friends but not in the number I have with KC.” -Miranda (livingdeadblondequeen) reveals on the discovery of the family she didn’t know was waiting for her.
“Being part of the Klaroline fandom is like being part of a family, and I’m not just saying it. I’ve always liked one show/ship or another throughout my teenage years, but never before have I felt so accepted as I do now. I’m not an easy person to talk to, I’m awkward and weird and introverted, and, unless you spell it out for me, I probably will always believe that you don’t actually like me, no matter how long we have known each other for. But, with the Klaroline fandom, it’s different somehow. I feel like I fit in, like I’ve found my place. Everyone has been so nice and welcoming since day one, so genuine and warm. I truly feel like we will always protect each other against anything and anyone, and that’s just so important. I feel like, no matter what I do or say or how I feel, I won’t be judged; I feel like people understand me, and there’s no better feeling than that in the world.
And then, of course, some of these people are people that I’m sure I’ll always be friends with, because I don’t just consider them fellow shippers, but true best friends. I love them and care for them and adore them, because they’re my cutie patooties and I’d do literally anything and everything for their happiness (I’m not going to make names, because I am sure that I’d forget someone and I don’t want that). Our friendship goes beyond fandoms or shipping, and I would have never met them if not through Klaroline. For that, I’ll always be thankful. I still cannot believe how far I’ve come in just around a year and a half, since first joining the Magazine. Because, yes, it all started thanks to the Magazine and the various Skype chats that had been set up for it; I’m pretty sure I would still just be blogging all on my own if it hadn’t been for those, maybe I wouldn’t even be shipping Klaroline anymore. So all the credit really goes to Caryn and Tanya for creating this amazing source of inspiration for all of us, and to Jackie for first adding me to the chat. I owe you all big time. I love you.” -Giulia (cutiepieforbes) elucidates on how her new friends and the fandom have shown her what it truly means to be loved.
“Ok at first I was really shy and like my account was basic af and like the first time I was in the Klaroline fandom, I used to stalk people like on Facebook and Twitter and at first I did not make any friends. Then I started to talk to people and because of that I seemed to have grabbed the attention of one of my closest friends, Gem (@GimmeMoreKC). Idk we first started to talk and then like I thought she was like one of these ppl who are like too nice but like she was a bitch and it’s funny. I’m so glad to have her as my best friend and I really hope i meet her one day. Other than Gem, I also met Syd (@KlarolineFucked). She is funny, I just love her and her smut is on point. Her love for Klaroline and Harry [Styles] make me happy af. There is also Ruth (@klaroslexie), even though she has been in this fandom for like not a long time. She is really like the best, she is boring but funny and her cat is cute. There are a lot of friends that I have like Chyna (@mysticballs) and Cyn (@steveofshield). They are like my other cupcakes and Sam who is like funny af. I just met a lot of awesome people like Jen (@KlausIsHerLast) and Kate (@ForYouCaroline) and also Jade (@ItWasAllForYou), or Holly, and like I can’t mention everyone in this fandom bc it will take me all night to write them.” -Broski (@Klarohoes) shares her story of meeting all her different kinds of friends on Twitter.
“It started with a follow, then replies to posts, then fanmail. We would start off fangirling over klaroline then soon we talked about ourselves when we felt more comfortable with each other. These kcers soon became apart of my everyday life whether its about klaroline or our personal lives in general they’re one of my closes friends :).” -Cassie (queenvampirebarbie) describes the gradual growth of real love between her and her friends.
“Klaroline is pretty much the whole reason why I met [her friends]. The first few, I met after stalking them, like stalking them before even creating my own blog. I mean following them, yeah that’s what I meant. Like Tanya. Some I just found so awesome that I just decided to butt into their conversations, others it was like, ‘hey I’ve known you all my life so I’ll treat you like an asshole’ (but I’m your asshole and you love me); pretty much everyone can be included there.
One that came out of nowhere was Jackie (and I love her so damn much), when she interviewed me for the KC magazine, I found out we fangirled and died over the same fanfic author and we later got drunk together on Skype singing wakawaka. One fangirled over me on Skype, when I fangirled about her too (yoooo Lia (klaraholic)). Gail got me hooked on flappy bird (although it might’ve been the other way around oops) and oh how I hate her [For the record, it was the other way around, and I love you too, asshole]. And others I met on the KC skype chat, like Jade, Bex, and Bo (dreamsarefleeting), and I’m so happy I’m their friend :). Long story short, Klaroline was the main reason I met all these amazing, incredible people, and it went from there, fangirling together to talking about penises, trolling them, sending them pick-up lines anonymously, demanding drabbles, and still stalking them to this day.” -Isi (sunshinesmoak) reminisces on those unforgettable friends who were could literally say anything to.
“The Klaroline fandom isn’t just a place where us shippers can indulge in fanon, its a community where we can meet fellow shippers who share the same common interest as we do. I, personally, have made some amazing, true friendships with people from all around the world.
Being in the Klaroline fandom is like being apart of a family, sometimes we don’t always agree on everything, but we know we are always there for one another.
I first joined Tumblr after I had started writing fanfiction and saw that a lot of writers used this social site. I–like everyone else–had no idea how to work Tumblr, it was foreign, but eventually I got the hang of it and started to understand how fandom life works. Wanting to contribute to the fandom more, I created a blog solely to help shippers interact with each other more, where I would send our Klaroline chain messages that got shippers talking to each other and sharing their opinions, because we all have opinions and we all deserve to be heard.
Shirley (shelovedtooeasily), my now closest friend from the Klaroline fandom, was the one who gave me advice about my project/idea and helped me promote it, and from then on we became really good friends. Friends who ended up being able to insult each other, yet take it as a term of endearment. That’s the best types of friendships.
The Klaroline Skype chat is where I met most of my friends; I’m not going to name them all, but they know who they are. However, there are a few people I’d like to mention. Rebekah, my beaut, I’m not sure how we became so close, but she is one of the people I trust wholeheartedly and I consider her my sister. I always want to protect her and she’s just beautiful inside and out. There’s also Giulia, who I envied at first because she always won the Klaroline games and it annoyed me, but then these past few months I feel like we’ve gotten much closer, and she is honestly a great friend and I’m so lucky to know her. She’s the Raven to my Clarke, the fluff to my angst. Last but not least there’s Gail, my fake friend, we knew of each other for nearly a year, but we had barely interacted, then came the Klaroline awards and we got talking, so, you can say the Klaroline awards brought us together. Gail is a down to earth person, who is caring, nice and can be an asshole, but she’s a nice asshole and somewhere along the line of us being ‘fake friends’ we became good friends, or at least I like to believe we did. [*wipes tear from eyes* Damnit, Jade!]
Then, I joined Twitter and it was so welcoming, everyone talks to everyone. I know some people say that there are ‘cliques’ and yes, some people are closer friends than others, but that’s normal. And it shouldn’t stop you from engaging and talking to shippers, because I promise no Klaroline shipper would ever turn down another shipper.
Overall, when Klaus offered to show Caroline genuine beauty, I didn’t realise he would show me too. The Klaroline fandom is genuine beauty. I owe Klaroline a lot.” -Jade (badasslexa) explains her own journey to meeting the kind of friends that are once in a lifetime.
The Klaroline fandom has been blessed to have an abundance of gifs, graphics, fanfictions, and shippers for the majority of our ship’s existence. We’re constantly surrounded by all these things that other fandoms would kill to have, and in this comfort, we can take the things we have for granted. The most common overlooked gift would be: eachother.
Friendship is such a fragile and beautiful thing, don’t let an opportunity like that pass you by.
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