Real friends- These are people that are a friend through and through. They stick by you when the times are bad, they don't expect you to act perfect, they make sure you're OK when you aren't yourself. Real friends are a true find- when you find one (or many) you need to keep them.
Virtual friends- This is my term for the people that you meet online, that you haven't met in person. Many of us have lots of virtual friends- we know them online, and we may know a lot about them- but chances are, we wouldn't recognize them if they were behind us in a supermarket line.
Imaginary friends- These are people that can be either Real or Virtual friends, but what makes them imaginary is that they disappear. They may disappear from your life after a few days, or a few years. But, when things get tough or change, they don't stick around. You always won't know a friend is Imaginary- sometimes you think they're Real until they're gone.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have learned a lot about friends. I learned that, sometimes, when you meet Virtual friends, they instantly can become Real friends. And, I learned the hard way, that people you think are Real friends, are actually only Imaginary.
I was recently with a group of people who started out as Virtual friends- but what was amazing to me was how quickly we all became Real friends. And I miss each and everyone of them everyday. (And yes, I do think Virtual friends can be Real friends without ever meeting in person...)
Real friends are hard to find- and when you do find a Real friend, make sure that you are a Real friend to them, and that you keep them in your life in whatever way works for you.