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Friday, March 27, 2009

With whom am I more closer – Online friends or offline friends?

    I have found the net to be a very dynamic and a fast changing environment. No matter which site I visit, I meet new people and sometimes become friends even if I have not met them personally. I sometimes end up learning about new culture and concepts from the ones who are living in foreign lands and sometimes find common interests and likes. When I meet those "right" persons, I feel that I have found a friend even amidst the distance and the lack of actual face to face encounter.

    I have many very good online friends, and it is a very different kind of friendship to the people that I meet and see all the time in the daily life. I don't think I would necessarily be friends with all my internet friends in the "real world", and if I had to change a "real world" friendship into an internet one, I don't know if it would work either. Friends who know me personally accept me with all my faults and minus points, and also know my other friends and family. My net friends only see the part of me which I choose to show, and cannot judge my good or bad by appearance, environment, my family and so on. It is so different from the so called real one.

    I am not a people person, and I've always felt like everyone is outgoing and extroverted and I was always treated like an alien from another world because I am not as extroverted as many people. Sometimes, the scrutiny and criticism from people about how shy I am of course only served to make me feel more shy at times. I wonder if this ever occurred to anybody who ever got on my case about how I need to be friendlier and get out more.

    Though the internet I managed to find people who are similar to me. The distance of the internet works better anyway for most people. Online you can be with your friends and be alone at the same time. Sometimes, I feel that the internet is absolutely perfect tool for me. Net friendship offers anonymous friendship which can at times be more beneficial than real life friendship since at times more honest answers without being too critical. Real life ones tend to be more rude, critical, mean and offensive at times and take you for granted. Real life friendship can never be replaced by the online version. But we can escape into the world of online friendship to relieve the stress, tension, etc that we encounter. Online friends at times can offer good, neutral advice which helps me to navigate through the potential minefields of the real world.
    But one has to be careful to recognise that not everyone tells the truth on-line and you have to be extremely careful making online relationships. After saying this, I do believe it is possible to meet people on line who can turn into real friends.

    Finally on an ending note, I would like to say that although I have made alot of good friends online, I can never feel as comfortable with them as I can with my real life friends. Think about it, you never really know what the person on the other end is really like unless you have interacted with them many times (even then they can be someone else entirely). Both sides have their plus and minus points. On the same note, I am not trying to put down online friendship since they play an important role in our lives these days. It provides a good platform to connect with others over a wider area. So I try to balance it out as much as possible. But it is always safer to err on the side of caution.

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