For some reason, I have the feeling that we ought to really enjoy this ability to communicate through the Internet while we have it. A lot of the economic and political agendas that are currently dominating the airwaves might intervene in our free communication at some point in the future, near or far. This discussion isn’t about that, but I wanted to start out this way because I have a few questions for y’all, if you don’ mind:
How many of you count your internet friends as being among your best friends in the world? I ask this, because, I wonder, are friendships that you make online as strong as friendships that you make in person? What about love relationships? Is it possible to love someone that you have never even seen, except through pictures or maybe, if you’re lucky, on video? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not feeling that the Internet is going to be inaccessible tommorrow, but I do have the feelng that you and I do indeed have a limited time to ‘take it to the next level’. Know what I mean? Do you feel it too?
In a recent argument with an RL loved one, the person I was engaged with brought up a topic that this person often brings up, “Those people aren’t your friends, you’ve never met them, they could be pretending to be anybody!”
Is this a valid point? How can we tell if the people that we meet over the Net are ‘being real’ with us; are sharing with us aspects of their true selves, and not just bits and pieces consciously designed to cutivate a certain personality? Is it true that, to truly know somone, you have to interact with them in the physical?
And for those of us who are coming at these questions from a spiritual vantage point ,what does this say about the Oneness of Humanity? Could it be possible that the Internet is preparing us for a time when we will be able to again communicate outside of the physical, without using electronic means? Without using any means except our mental and spirital skillsets? Are the relationships that we are forming with each other real, I suppose is the final question.
I think this question is important because many of us spend quite a bit of time online cultivating friendships and while we are doing so we are spending a correspondingly lesser amount of time going out to bars, relaxing with friends in their homes or ours. Is there a healthy medium? Is there a way that you have found in order to ‘weed out’ those who are not ‘keeping it real’, or who are presenting those in your shared circles of interaction with a facade?
In my experience, consistency of behavior and presentation over time augments my original intuitive ‘feel’ of a person, words do indeed speak volumes and, with the written word, it is less possible for individuals to control unconscious patterns of speech and meanings, as well as to divert attention and dissemble, as is so prevalent in the ‘Real World (RL)’. So, we can go back and look at emails and im conversations a day or week later, and compare them to things people said earlier or later in order to determine their level of truthtelling and consistency. But what is more common, in my experience, are individuals who profess feelings, but who soon seem to lose interest, or move on to other circles once the original level of interactions moves past the introductory phase of the relationship.
Not that there is any thing wrong with this, people are genuinely curious and I’m not against assuaging one’s curiosity by finding out about people, adding them to your circle of acquaintances, and moving on. I engage in that to an extent myself, always leaving the option open to ‘reopen’ the friendship gates and deepen an acquaintance into a true friendship, if the opportunity and shared interest arises.
Love occurs online, and I’ve read statistics that seem to point to an increasing acceptance of online romance sites as a viable introduction to a possible RL connection. This is one of Match dot com’s major selling points these days. Trends such as this seem to show that significant percentages of people find friendship and love online possible. Does your experience reflect that as well?
Have you found a friend that you know will be in your life forever? Have you found a soulmate? A twin flame? If you have, I know that, during the course of your relationship, you have gone through a lot of ups and downs, doubts and setbacks that, at times, probably left you wondering if what you were feeling was even real, or if you were projecting feelings into a relationship that isn’t even a ‘real’ relationship at all. And, as I’m sure you are aware, there are many people in your lives – some of whom have none, or limited, Internet experience – who will tell you that you cannot fall in love with someone you met over the Internet. Do you find some part of yourself believing them, despite your feelings of friendship or love for this person? Do your past experiences on the Net cause you to doubt the possibility of ever finding someone ‘real’ online?
I’ll bet some of you have stories about experiences you’ve had online when some person or another has been ‘outed’ as not being who or what they say they are. I’m sure you also have stories of deep friendships made with total strangers, or old friendship renewed. If you’d like to share any of those stories feel free, names witheld or shared, to protect or reveal the guilty!