friendships...virtual or not

For me (and probably for most others too) the internet is not only a source of information but also an avenue for networking and meeting people from all over the world. Sites like Facebook, Friendster, My Space, Multiply, Youtube among many others have brought people together (whether in a good or bad way, will not be discussed here). I continue to be amazed with the virtual world and how this has made it possible for me to find old friends, family I never knew existed and meet new, interesting people. Through the years I have developed friendships online, some are still going strong while others are in limbo or just faded away. It is those lost friendships that I still think about…why did it end and when did it end? It is a fact that the friendships that begin online is not the same as those that we develop through face to face interaction. It is something similar to the kind of friendships that we made with our pen-pals in elementary and high school (although a few of mine extended to college before we drifted apart). As much as we would like to become close friends to people we meet online, it’s difficult mainly because you need to see people, their body language and create memories together to form a closer bond. The reality that you don’t see each other, are probably miles apart makes this hard but not impossible. I still believe that we can make lifelong friendships online...all it needs is commitment to give time and attention to each other, a sincere effort to show interest and honest communication to build credibility and trust. In my experience, there is not much difference between people you meet face to face and those you meet online…either one could be your friend or acquaintance…it depends on your choice. Friendship after all requires all of the above, whether you are physically present to each other or not. I have lifelong friends I rarely see so it’s not how you met or how often you meet that causes friendships to fail. According to Bob Carver, a Dallas psychotherapist, a friendship or any other relationship commonly fails because of three things:

* Unexpressed expectations,
* Undelivered communication,
* And/or thwarted attention.”

So, thinking about those lost friendships…it’s clear that they failed or are failing because of 2 or more of these reasons, but I also realize one thing more… regardless of where, when and why…we should not be afraid to build new friendships and open ourselves to meeting the many wonderful people who live in this planet of ours…

At the end of the day…we can only gain from the experience :)

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