I have a hard question to ask

Recently a close online friend of mine and I have been making plans for me to go visit them for a week. We’ve known each other for 4 years at this point and both feel it’s been too long to have not met. I can afford the flight and she’s willing to cover the costs once I’m there. All would be well and good about this, except for one thing.

Back when I first met her I was a minor (for reference she’s about 3.5 months younger than me) and she was one of three people I met at the same time. One of those three happened to be problematic to say the least and so my mom didn’t want me talking to anyone I didn’t know in person. I continued to talk to her regardless, lying as needed to ensure that could continue since she was incredibly supportive through a very hard time of my life.

I’m 19 now and understand that I can make the choice of who to talk to on my own, but I still need my parents to be okay with it since I can’t drive and don’t have time to learn before it’s too late to visit. I have all the proof that she is who she says she is, but I don’t know how to introduce her to them. I figured it would be best to ask in the context of christmas, but even then it’s stressful to even think of talking about her since for so long I had to keep her a secret as to not lose the ability to talk to her.

I just can’t seem to get over the feeling of fearing losing the ability to talk to her. Is there any advice for revealing such a thing or getting over that fear for long enough to ask?


You were 15 years old when your parents told you not to talk to someone you didn’t know. A couple of things have changed since then. The first is that you are older and smarter now, and as you said free to decide with whom you associate. The other thing is, in the past few years, finding friends online has become a social norm.

I’m not sure what you mean by “too late to visit.” What will happen if this apparent deadline isn’t met? Does it mean that a visit will be delayed until a bit later on when schedules can make it possible?

For what length of time do you wish to keep secrets from your parents? Being around them while keeping secrets from them does not seem like a happy existence. I know some parents will simply never understand certain things, and bringing them up will just cause upset, but are you sure your parents would react negatively if they find out you’ve had a long-standing friendship?

If the only opportunity you will have to make the visit is with your parents help, and it is certain your parents will not help if you don’t bring it up, what have you got to lose by talking to them about it? If you are convinced that bringing the issue up will be disastrous, making the visit isn’t even an option.

If you can’t get there without your parents approval and help, explain that to your friend. Hopefully the friendship will continue as it has for the past four years.

For me, I consider the worst case scenario versus the potential benefit. Consider how other confrontations with your parents have worked out. If they have a track record of being pretty reasonable, or at least reasonable after fussing for a bit, there really isn’t much to fear. If they have a habit of turning into ogres, perhaps the fear is well-founded.

You might also want to try asking about a hypothetical situation, or “asking for a friend,” about the feasibility of bringing an online friendship into one of physical presence.

I doubt if your parents would be surprised to hear that you have been known to do things they’ve told you not to. Now we are talking about a minor infraction of 15-year-old, which led to a substantial and rewarding friendship. If I were the parent, I probably say “I’m glad you didn’t listen to me.”

I hope it works out for you. I’d love to hear how it works out.


Thank you for this, I think your words were the final thing I needed to feel more comfortable about doing this. After reading I’m feeling like my actions at 15 aren’t nearly as relevant; that I have a friend now no matter the circumstances around the foundation of said friendship. I’ll be asking about it either Friday, Saturday, or Wednesday, depending on how I want to go about it. I’m feeling optimistic about them saying yes since my sister did almost the same thing and is now married, so I’m thinking a visit should be a small deal by comparison. One last thing to clarify, I can only visit from around January to April, afterwards it’s unclear when I could visit again. Thank you again, and I’ll post how it goes once it happens


Hey there, thanks for sharing!
Of course it’s understandable that your parents are worried and concerned. It doesn’t matter if you’re 19 or 30, they’ll still worry about you and your safety.
Perhaps the initial shock of it will make them wary and concerned.

So as wings said there’s a lot that has changed since you were 15. So, there’s a few scenarios that play out in my mind. You could be fully open and honest, knowing that they might have that reaction of shock and concern. I’m not sure what your parents are like or how it’ll play out, but they’ll understand how long you two have known each other and maybe that might be a good thing.
You could tell them you’ve met someone online and have been talking for a little while now and want to visit them. But if they were already aware of who you had been talking to that might go awry. There might be the follow up questions of “how long have you been talking” ect.

Hiding things or sort of dancing around the truth still takes a lot more energy than being open.
If your parents are supportive and open to listening you could tell them you have something important to discuss with them and really want them to listen and try to understand before they react.