I’ve just watched Catfish, which if you didn’t see it was a documentary about a man who thought he’d fell in love with a woman over facebook and found something else entirely (I won’t spoil it in case you want to watch it). Anyway it got me thinking about finding love on the internet, so I thought it was time for a bit of a ramble.
I love chatting to people online and of course I would really like to fall in love with a wonderful man, but can these two things really happen together for me? I think there are very obvious positives and negatives to looking for love online.
So, let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way, you have to BE CAREFUL! I’d like to think that nowadays people have a bit of common sense and don’t give out too many personal details too soon and if they do arrange to meet, they do so in a public place and people know where they are and who they are meeting. There are unfortunately some weirdos out there, and I certainly wouldn’t want them turning up at my door unannounced.
But there are benefits to meeting people virtually… in person I am initially shy (depending if the alcohol is flowing). The detachment of chatting to someone on twitter, facebook or even by email means I can consider my reply without the pressure of social graces and the need for such speed. But both virtually and in person, once I get chatting I don’t really shut up. This means I tend to get on with other people who also like to talk a lot. In my opinion, however or where ever you chat with someone, the more you do so the closer you can get. Of course if chat remains superficial then so does the relationship, but close friends and even more can come from getting to know someone online.
There is one problems with getting to know someone in this way, they may be lying about everything, saying what they think you want to hear. They may not look like you think they do. I certainly pick a more flattering photo as my profile picture online than my current tied back hair and no make-up look. And in this there is an element of risk. It is easy to begin to emotionally invest in a friendship or relationship online to find that either the other person did not have the same intentions or that it was all a load of bull… a game to them. I do prefer to be less pessimistic and hope that most people are generally honest when the chat gets more personal. It is certainly what I have found so far. Don’t get me wrong, I know some people have a very different online persona or even a character, but in the private tweets and messages, most people I have chatted to have been lovely. I have made loads of new friends in the last couple of years, and have spent time with many of them in person. Of course I have met one or two people who appeared to different or perhaps really shy in person that chatting so freely in reality was difficult. Sometimes online friends should remain just that.
So, in my usual rambling way… I think perhaps you can get close to someone online, but the proof is when you actually meet face to face. You need to find out if beyond initial nerves you really get on with someone, let alone if you could love them. It is all to easy to get carried away with the idea of someone from virtual contact, but remember you tend to only get the good stuff online. We all have bad habits and flaws. I do like the idea of having got past the first date anxiety of not knowing anything about someone. I’d hope if I did end up dating someone I met online at least we’d know what to talk about in person, surely that would be easier?
The main benefit to “meeting” people online whether for love or friendship for me is that you do get to meet a variety of like-minded people from all over the world. Surely your chances of finding love or great friendships are increased by that alone? I can’t say I’ve met that many people in my local area who have similar interests to me (with some exceptions of course, including at Skeptics in the Pub). The “all over the world” part can be an issue if you are looking for love, but I’m sure rarely it does happen and is overcome.
I guess my conclusion is that I’d hope I could find love online, but even I would have to remember to not get carried away with the initial excitement of getting along on line, reality does not always measure up. One day, I hope it does.
(I really hope this doesn’t sound like I am actively hunting for love online? I’m just saying it is possible to find it, and I’m single so I’m keeping it open as an option of where I might meet someone. I could just as easily meet the man of my dreams in the supermarket tomorrow, you never know).