Connections and Relationships: IRL vs Virtual
This is a thread sprung from here
and Elsa’s response here
My title may be a little off, as “virtual” (online) relationships can be as meaningful as in real life (you meet in person or call).
It made me wonder how many of us here, or those we know, have relationships in real life, in person vs making connections and having relationships solely online through social media or messaging or text. Remember penpals? Well, I guess online is a modern version of that? Anyway, it’s much easier and more prevalent to cultivate, at least for many generations. My mother’s? No. Mine, probably. Younger people? This is definitely more the mode. And some people have situations where one is preferred or necessary over the other.
How do your relationships breakdown in terms of real, online, or whatever (am I missing any other kinds)? Do you prefer any? How are they going? Are there any unique issues between them? How do you see if going in the future, for yourself and for society?
These are just general thoughts. Feel free to tweak or expand upon what I could be overlooking.
When I look at my current friendships and relationships, I see right now that most of my time is spent with my husband and we spend maybe one or two days a month (depending on travel, holidays) with our neighbors across the street, and often as an extension, their group of friends, which have become ours over 20 years. My neighbor is very social and craves get togethers and loves to entertain.
We spend time with the kids and grandkids. When my MIL was alive, we saw her regularly. And we have another couple that we see a few times a year and travel with.
I have my own girlfriends and we text and get together two-three times a year. I’ve known them for over 20 years. My husband has his hunting club.
These are all people I’ve known since I’ve moved to this state. I haven’t kept any friendships from home or childhood, high school. I’m not on the most popular place to find them, Facebook.
The relationships I have in real life keep me grounded and help me to see that a lot of division is sown and artificial. You don’t even end up talking about certain topics, or if you do, you can read the room, temper it, or change the subject. Online connections have their place but I don’t have deep ones. They are interesting and I have learned a lot from people I might not have been exposed to in real life. Then there is a community like this, where one can find answers or support even if we never meet in real life.
I guess it’s a mixed bag 😃
A good percentage of my rl friends, I met online. Jilly, wyotess, Stevie, satori? But I met all four of them more than ten years ago... Closer to twenty! The internet was more fun back then. You could express yourself freely.
Now people are quite mean and often punishing. They scare me, actually. I don't trust people not to go off. I think I've had this blog a very long time and have had my ass kicked so many times, I'm not sure what it would take to make a real friend.
Many people just aren't trustworthy and since I can never be forthcoming, I figure I'm a hologram, when I'm actually flesh and blood. I really don't feel understood, at all. Not that I am blaming anyone. I just said, I'm not forthcoming so.?
Offline, I am definitely shoring up my connections, with friends, neighbors and family. For example, I called my son and asked him straight up, "If I need you, will you come here and help me?" I feel I need to know.
I also don't want to email. I have been writing daily for 25 years. Friendships have to be maintained in person, or via conversation.
Last, I am going, way, way out of my way not to harm anyone, which often means, not burdening them with my problems.
I do think things are getting worse and I don't know when this might change. I say, keep your friends and quit making enemies!
One more thing. I can't bear anymore (manufactured) strife. And people with litmus tests then want to give you. The ones with whistles around their necks, waiting to blow them if you step on a line; I've had sufficient of that as well.
I'm sorry if I sound bitchy, but I am a very good friend and this is how it is right now. You can't just take, you have to give as well.
I told, Ben, yesterday, my neighbor offered to drive me anywhere... Then corrected herself. "I can take you anywhere, here, here, or here," where "here" is a nearby town. "I can't do x (an hour away), but I can take you anywhere in a fourth town as well. You just call me up and we'll go!"
See, that's healthy. Generous but true with boundaries, and I didn't have to ask. I don't need her to drive either, but knowing she will if I do is some serious currency.
This is the kind of friends I want. They know their words matter! People who don't make promises they are not going to keep. It's not that common because most people are posturing all the time. It's pretty much required on the internet at this point.
Thanks for the thread.
I have no online relationships outside this forum here. I don’t converse with anyone online except on this blog. Only social media I use regularly is Facebook, and that’s not too regular these days. I got tired of the same ole same ole on there. Currently, I have one friend I get together with occasionally. She is an old colleague. We usually go out for drinks once every couple or few months. Sometimes she has me over at her house for dinner. I have several acquaintances I see rarely. There are a few friends I’ve lost touch with I would like to see again but there are complications. Some of them are going through stuff and the relationships were never close enough that I can get around that and work my way back in right now. I’m sure some of them will eventually come back around.
On the other hand, I see my coworkers all the time. I would consider our relationships a type of friendship. I get along with all of my coworkers, some more than others. I work with a great team. I also see my clients in person daily, so I never feel like I’m lacking real life connection with other people.
However, I do miss my family. I’m several hundred miles from them. I wish we were closer. I would make sure to see them all the time. Even though I’m far from my parents, I have been told I actually see my dad more than my other siblings. I try to visit 2-4 times a year. We’re planning a vacation together soon.
I personally think family relationships are more important than friends. But some friends can be like family, I just haven’t had any like that. I want to eventually move back to my home state before my parents get too old.
I don’t see a lot of the issues that have been discussed here but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist for some people. Everyone has their own unique situations. Our society as a whole though I think is pretty reclusive due to all the factors discussed here… the culture, the VS, social media…
Forgot to add these other types of connections I have… I help a few people… for example one old man with no family around and few friends… I bring him food sometimes and visit him. I watch movies with him sometimes. And a girl with CP who I take out to dinner once in a while… I tend to hang on to people who need someone, or they hang on to me. It’s a Pisces thing I guess.
I don’t do social media. I have one nonlocal friend that I made on here who I talk to occasionally and I get a lot from that. There’s been a few breaks over the years but during Covid lockdowns I think this person was probably my best friend. We haven’t talked in a while but I think I could call right now and it would be open arms. I would love to meet in person but it’s never been a good time.
In my day to day life, I have a couple people I would call good friends, but no one that I can share anything with. One older gal reaches out to me and I’m very grateful for her. Some on the periphery. Some male “admirers” who circle around but are never there when I actually need someone. I have my sister but she is often hurtful to me. My mom is steadfast in a way but I don’t trust her with my emotions. I work with three other girls and two I know fairly well because we’ve worked together for a while. They are both younger and have good heads on their shoulders. They haven’t been to hell though like me, so there’s things I can’t talk about with them. I help (I don’t like the word sponsor but that’s what it is) a younger woman with sobriety stuff- that interaction is really a blessing for me (12th step for those who know) because I know it’s helping me stay sober plus she’s awesome. I cut mens hair all day but honestly I don’t get much energy from them in general. Some are cool but I honestly feel they get more from the interaction than I do. When I did women's hair I enjoyed every single one of my clients and felt very close to several. I really miss that aspect a lot and I think it adds to void I feel. Maybe I should find a women’s circle or something?
I had a “best” friend until about ten years ago, but she fucked me over on top of just years of subtle teardowns. I don’t miss her but I do miss having that type of relationship.
I also consider this forum to be a mostly friendly place too. Lord knows I spill my guts here more than any other place. So in that sense, I consider Elsa to be a good friend for holding that space for me.
I have Scorpio 11th house so there’s that lol.
This is the only place I have some online presence, and it's such a nice place to come and rest, think and learn. Very calming.
In real life, I'm flying pretty much solo right now. Well, apart from my family and a very few close friends. I've been burned pretty badly over the past few years so now I tend to hold back and see what kind of people I'm dealing with. My best friend of nearly 20 years cut me off abruptly in 2019, no warning, no reason, and I've pulled back much more since then.