Words: Rebecca Fraser
One Direction may have ended for now, but these friendships formed through a mutual love of them certainly have not.
To the fans of One Direction and the boy’s subsequent solo careers, we can admit they’ve affected our lives in more ways than one. Our most streamed artist is usually them or one of them, the clothes and way we style ourselves are often influenced by them. Feather boas and boldly coloured hair, anyone? Even our hobbies can sometimes be inspired by them. Thinking back to the time I bought a film camera because Niall had a film camera—proving that they’ve seeped into the fabric of our individual selves just by being who they are.
But one lesser talked about aspect of being a One Direction fan, or a fan of the boys, are the friendships that form through love for them. We all remember the part in This Is Us where the fans briefly discussed the lifelong friendships they’d made through supporting the band. Yes? Well, today we’re going to look at exactly what those friendships mean to some people, and our own stories of creating lifelong friends through those five men.
Starting with myself, I joined stan Twitter in late 2020 and it took me a while to open up. For a while it felt like watching from the outside of a party, hoping someone would say hello. And then, someone did. Now, three of my closest friends are from bonding over Harry Styles and One Direction. I talk to them daily. I know them as if we’ve grown up friends. We have concerts planned together, and now we’re even looking at holidays together! Not to mention, they’ve transcended being my ‘online’ friends to…well, real life friends. And it’s a wonderful feeling.
We spoke to a few other fans of the boys and asked them for their own stories of friendships made through being a fan of the band.
“Since being in the One Direction fandom, I have met some of my best friends and it’s so special getting to share moments with them.”
“Although it’s upsetting being so far apart from one another, when we do get to meet up, it makes it so much more special!”
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Shar, 25, says: “Stan Twitter can be so many things but finding friends for life was not what I expected. The friends that I have made have completely become a part of my real life, not just my online presence. They’ve added daily serotonin into my life for the last year and I’m grateful for that. I appreciate every single one of them and love them to bits.”
Brontë, 18, says: “On stan Twitter, it’s such an easy way of meeting friends. You share an interest of a celebrity, who in one way or another has made you feel safe and loved. I found the best of friends on Twitter. It did take time to find my people, but now I have the ones I will cherish forever. They opened my eyes to the fact you don’t need to know someone for long to create a bond; time is not a measure of friendship.”
“Being on stan Twitter is life changing but also can be very hectic at times. Keeping up with everything the boys do or announce is hard work. I’ve met so many wonderful people that I’ve also met face to face and have created amazing memories with and will continue to do so! I wouldn’t change it for the world. There’s been lows in my life, but fan friends have distracted me from it and helped me in many ways. It’s something I’ll always be thankful for!”
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Casey, 18, says: “Harry, along with multiple other artists, has helped me find my best friends, friends who if it wasn’t for Harry/Twitter, I would never have spoken to. I can’t put into words how much they have changed my life for the better. Everyone I have met has been so kind and so supportive. They make life worth living. I am so grateful to Harry and stan Twitter but most of all excited to finally meet the people who have changed my life!”
Dom, 19, says: “Music is a crazy thing and can do a lot, but one thing it’s done is bring me some of my best friends. Harry styles specifically has been in my life since I was a child in the sense of music. When I was younger, I didn’t understand the power he held in my life. But once I got it, I finally understood. I’ve met some incredible people, and have even more friends from all over the world that I want to meet. These friends and memories are some that I can never replace and look forward to continuing.”
“All the important friends I’ve made throughout my life have been because of One Direction, and even as I enter adulthood, those people are still the ones I look for when I meet new people. These are people that have become my rocks, and given me so any wonderful experiences to remember, from camping in a shopping centre to meet the boys, to meeting a bunch of internet friends for the first time at a 1D club night.”
“Every person has so much warmth and kindness, and we all get to share the madness that comes with being a fan of those lads.”
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Scar, 15, says: “I personally met my best friends through Harry in a group that talks about Harry and his music. I also feel so comfortable and myself when there’s anything to do with him. He’s just my safe place and the friends I’ve met through him are too!”
Being fans through a mutual love of an artist creates some seriously special friendships. You don’t need to hide any part of your loves or hobbies. You can freely express how much that individual means to you. And in that circle, you know it’s okay, because they feel the same way too! More than anything, it’s a more accepting and warmer kind of friendship. And although it’s built on the admiration of another, it solidified by a mutual understanding, trust and connection.
So, what are your experiences of making friends through the boys? Maybe you met your now best friend lining up to get into one of their concerts, or slid into their dm’s one day? Let us know in the comments and share your friendship stories too!
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