Some of you will know I have been single for quite some time now, Over 4 and a half years to be exact. In that time I have probably learnt more about people than I had ever done in all my years before.
Meeting people I have met online has undoubtedly been a great experience for the most part and its something I actively enjoy. They have not been without the odd lesson here and there though. The internet has broadened the usual scope of people we would meet in real life, opened our world to so many possibilities. Except different sites used in different ways and people acting differently online makes for a difficult distinction between online fantasy and reality.
One of the clearest examples of how difficult this can be is how a married person could use it, how they can find that way out of the dis-satisfaction they feel in their lives for some reason or another. The opportunities to them on the internet are endless, the ability to fill a void without it actually being real can be an attractive prospect I’m sure. I mean what harm can talking online really do? But that’s it though! Is it really just a fantasy? Are those people on the other end of the internet viewing it in the same way you are? It’s so easy to try and write these interactions off as not being real, if only to protect yourself.
Then there are single people, this is where I think a lot of the difficulty lies on the internet but I of course could be biased in feeling this.
One way of meeting people as a single person of course is twitter. It is full of conversations of light flirting and building a sort of closeness that can really stir real feelings. These come with their own problems though, how do you know when something goes beyond reality? So many more factors with this kind of interaction, it’s a real test of knowing what real and what isn’t.
One experience could be the twitter crush, pretty sure everyone has had at least one and I am no exception. In fact there have been a couple, one was a pretty big one. On paper we were almost perfect for each other, there was a fair amount of real feeling involved. At least on my side. Time and time again I passed up the opportunity to really let my feeling known. Distance played a huge part in my reluctance but also the unknown of how real it all is, can it really be transferred into a real relationship. Life has moved on in some ways but there is still the admiration there.
So what happens if you do meet someone in person? How does it really work out after a virtual interaction? Sometimes you can throw yourself in an online friendship that just ticks all the boxes. Conversation flows, there’s an attraction like nothing else! So you let your self go a bit more. Months and months of chatting lead to more intimate conversations, you feel that you can be more free in your sharing of likes and dislikes that you certainly would if you were sat in the pub sharing a few drinks. You are just talking to someone on the internet, its safe.
When it comes to actually meeting though that real life shyness and fear is back, its different. Can you really let yourself be that person you were online? That chemistry that you thought you had, All the intimacy you shared just isn’t there. It seems its not really that easy either way.
Today I had asked my Twitter followers what would stop them revealing a Twitter crush. 26 answered and I got these results –
- Fear of rejection 27%
- Distance 8%
- Online isn’t reality 42%
- I did & it worked 23%
I think it really speaks for itself and shows how hard it is to blur the lines of virtual and reality. It can really mean putting yourself in a difficult position. But what’s the alternative? Apps out there that are supposed to be a form of real interactions, are they really different though?
Selling my soul to apps and sites like tinder and POF have proved fruitless, I talked about these before. The increase of addiction to the instant attention whether that would be good or bad is clear to see now, for myself too it has been a difficult habit to break but it’s definitely something I am done with. The quick and easy nature of them have (I believe) have breed an age of single people who are only satisfied with finding something instant, whether that be instant sex, instant relationship, instant validation, instant gratification. None of it fulfilling, if they don’t get what they instantly crave they move on and find their quick fix else where and so the cycle continues. I myself have been guilty of this behaviour.
But these are only a few small parts of interaction online, millions of people talk to each other online everyday so it would be foolish to put it all into one assumption that it’s all bad. People do build friendships and relationships, it is possible but I believe them to be rare. The true connections at least.
The reality is that the internet is an absolute minefield, how anyone uses it is ultimately up to them. I wonder how many people who view it all as just a virtual platform do so purely out of self protection. The instant nature of it all can cause more issues than it satisfies though and I think this is become more and more prevalent in the younger users.