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Revealing More Of Ourselves Online?

Yesterday, during our preparation chat with the show producer for Chai FM, both Tanya and I had mentioned that we felt like our online friends (OLF’s) knew more about the inner workings of ourselves than our real life friends (RLF’s). I am very fotunate to have had a number of my OLS’s morph into RLF’s, so I feel I get the best of both words but it really got me thinking about why this is?

Then during the show, the presenter had asked me how deeply one gets invovled in this online communities and in the lives of OLF’s and I would imagine that that is the key to why we are so much more open with our OLF’s than we are with our RLF’s. I think partly its because our online persona does to a certain degree, offer us a level of anonimity. I mean really, aside from what you’ve read on my blog, what do you really know about me? And when I say “me” I know I have shared and shared deeply my internal persona, my spirit, my soul but there are more superficial attirubutes about myself and my life that you don’t know. My RLF’s get to see all aspects of me, while OLF’s only get to see what I allow them to see, there is safety in that.

With RLF’s, there is often this need to hold back on certain bits of information or to portray oneself or ones life as more or better or different than what it actually is, speaking for myself, I find it harder to be totally authentic with RLF’s for fear of judgement. With OLF’s, its a much more fickle relationship. I don’t need to fear OLF’s judgement because if I don’t like OLF’s judgement, I can just block, unfollow or unfriend them. Not quite so easy to do with RLF’s. In addition, I find my OLF’s are a much more like minded and targeted audience. Where RLF’s might have come into my life through work, or perhaps a friends wife or through a mutual friend and while there is something in common, there isn’t always that deeper connection that one has with OLF’s. I know that my OLF’s are deeply connected to me and I to them through a shared experience of infertility or motherhood, there is a common ground and that common ground gives us a deeper understanding of each other but also seems to allow us to be more authetnic about who we are, what we are experiencing and sharing our struggles.

I feel greatly privilidged to be able to pariticpate in many online friendships and even more so to be able to call many of my OLF’s RLF’s as well. Those are the relationships that feel the easiest and that require the least amount of work, those are the friends who really “get me”, who understand the working of my mind and what makes me tick and can accept me, warts and all.

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8 Comments

  • Reply suestuart

    It’s so much easier to bare one’s soul online on a forum that “gets” you. I had a meltdown on FC a few months after we lost Nathan, when our 3rd IVF had failed and my sister’s LO was born. My real-life friends just didn’t get my heartache. The only people who really understand are those in a similar boat, and lets face it, not many in a circle of friends or family are going through similar things. I couldn’t meltdown in front of friends and family, they just didn’t get it. It was my online friends who got me through the darkest days, and I thank God for them!

    March 17, 2011 at 9:07 am
  • Reply To Love Bella

    Agreed! I am a very, very closed book when it comes to RLF’s. Takes me a while to let people in. Once bitten, twice shy and all that.
    Slightly more open online – particularly my blog. That’s because it really is MY space.
    Having said that, I do find myself typing some things, then hitting the backspace key. Not wanting to be judged and all that.
    I’m such a CHOP. I missed the interview.. was at the shops. grrrr…

    March 17, 2011 at 9:31 am
  • Reply waiting4amiracle

    Confession: I got the first 15mins and then had a visitor so I missed the rest. But from what I heard you were both great!

    I find that I have an unspoken understanding with those that are my OLF +RLF’s. Probably because we really really understand and can be totally open. I am really happy with the friendships I have formed.

    March 17, 2011 at 1:13 pm
  • Reply Tanya Kovarsky

    I think I’d be lonely and poorer without my OLFs, who “get me”. Fortunately mostly all of them have turned out amazing in RL…

    March 17, 2011 at 4:37 pm
  • Reply MommyInWaiting

    I too have had the priveledge of turning OLFs to RLFs and they have so quickly become my very best friends, because we do share so much more with OLFs and then when you combine that with the intimacy of RLFs – wow.

    March 18, 2011 at 8:46 am
  • Reply coachmarcia

    I definitely reveal more of myself online – I feel safer somehow? Also I express myself better on the blog because there’s time to move paragraphs around, delete phrases, etc. So it usually comes out sounding the way I intend it to sound.

    The only problem I’ve found with the blog so far is real life friends who see something and think that a particular post is the sum total of my life. I find that they don’t get that that is just a snapshot. I could blog about 50 different aspects a day (if I chose to). I’m choosing one that I just feel like writing about, whether good or bad. It’s not the whole reality. Always 100% true, but never the entire reality.

    But then again, I also love that some of my real life friends see more of me than would normally be the case if I had to depend totally on seeing them face-to-face. That helps a lot in our busy Jhb lives.

    Do you ever feel like your RLFs see EVERYTHING about you and your feelings and don’t share even a tenth of theirs with you?

    Marcia from http://the123blog.com

    March 18, 2011 at 4:32 pm
  • Reply orbit365

    I am extremely private in real life and definitely prefer my OLFs. Somehow I just feel more free to express myself without fear of judgement. Nobody IRL knows that I blog and I would never tell them either. Otherwise I would have to self-censor and that doesn’t work for me. Don’t get me wrong. I do have some fabulous RLFs. They are not necessarily better or worse than my OLFs. Just different.

    March 18, 2011 at 5:49 pm
  • Reply Mash

    I think about this often. I mean, what is it all about this blogging etc? What are we trying to do? I just know that it plays an integral part in my life. It helped me survive my separation, Dad’s murder, and the infertility. That’s pretty significant!

    March 21, 2011 at 11:28 am
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