Online v Real Time Friendships

online friendsI spend a great deal of time online, yes I admit I’m addicted to the internet, in terms of blogging it’s a safe haven for me, though there are times when I think perhaps I rely a lot on online friendships rather than those here.

Am I alone in thinking this?

Bearing in mind I most write about mental health/depression issues, well mine! even though I have a small network of supportive friends I wonder if I get more support here online as opposed to real-time.

I find that in my day-to-day life, my support does come from friends, but that’s also largely based on time constraints, it was a bit easier in former times when I was in crisis all the time it seemed and once I learned that I did indeed need people, they became a life line in which I clung to for dear life.

However you can only use that anchor for so long and I found that although the friendships are still strong, the support as I recover is now different, hard to put my finger on it, but it’s not quite the 24/7 pick up the phone any time availability, the guilt sets in because I feel guilty about relying so heavily on others sometimes just to get me through the day.

The guilt is mainly because I feel I’ve taken much from them and given very little in return and a few of them have gone through several problems of their own of late and my support has been there but not enough in my mind, I also feel there is a slight reluctance on their part to involve me, which I understand on many levels but feel hurt at the same time, not the selfishness here as I focus again on my own problems.

I still feel terribly lucky to have this support as people who were long time friends seem to fade away into the distance without a backward glance(which still rankles somewhat) and others took their place although it took awhile to build the same level of trust, but took a leap of faith from me as I’d been let down by those who knew me better.

I do also feel a slight anxiety when subjects are avoided through fear of “setting me off” I’m not that mess anymore and can cope, even if I have bad days, so there is a loss of freedom in that, but yet again I don’t wish to say too much because I don’t want any of them to feel their help was not appreciated(you know, I’m going to have to address this now I’ve written about it).

Now with my online community I feel no such constraints, because of the categories I write in, everybody gets it yes there is anonymity, but I can feel free to say what is really on my mind, and as everybody is at a different stage and deal with the many facets of mental health/depression not only do I learn but just through reading it helps and the feedback helps.

The online community is not faceless as people might think, you can see their faces in their words, which makes them more real than someone standing in front of you, simply because they read without judgement there is no preconception about who your were/are, your brought together through a bond and the need to find a place that is not only cathartic but also safe.

Sometimes when I read blogs I think these are things I probably wouldn’t discuss outside of here, which I should be able to, not that I’m telling my deepest darkest secrets, I think there is that natural barrier with real-time friendships although some would disagree, but I don’t always want to share aspects of my pain with them, not to protect, I just  don’t want them to live with all of what goes on inside of me, this is why I write here.

There you have it, two sides of a coin, in which I get much-needed support from both, which I value tremendously and for that I’m grateful.

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About therabbitholez

I returned to this blog in September 2014, after a 2 year absence, due to depressive illness and homelessness. This journey charts the rocky road to recovery and my feelings about it, and getting a home together after losing everything, this too has been a rocky rocky, both things connected on many levels, but separate at the same time. If you want to know more please read my blog:) and comment on any blog you like I enjoy the interaction, and belong to a great community on here. Thanks for reading.:)
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10 Responses to Online v Real Time Friendships

  1. Well I’ve had a number of online relationships so I’m probably biased LOL My current relationship would never have happened if it weren’t for both our blogging efforts… kindred spirits, indeed 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it’s much easier to connect with people online and I think part of that is to do with the fact that there is no need for anything other than words. Also, I think it’s easier to find like-minded people online and that’s important. In real life, people meet new people every day, some people you become friends with, some you don’t. Often you don’t meet these people through emotional events, but through physical ones, work, meetings, school. etc. So, you become friends for different reasons. I have met people online who have the same goal as me, to help fight stigma. My real life friends may say they don’t agree with mental health stigma, but they aren’t fighting it, they aren’t involved in it and they don’t always understand the emotional toll of mental illness like those who experience it would. This is very long winded and I am not sure what I am trying to say anymore. But I agree with you. I am grateful for all of my friends, real life and online. but I get different types of support from different sets and that is also important.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well said, and not long winded at all, you are of course right, the friendships here are to not only I think to achieve personal growth, but the much wider aspect of breaking down the barriers and allowing us to have a voice.

      Like

  3. Gale Wright says:

    Yes, that part about the preconception about who you were/are, that’s a big one for me in general. It’s very limiting and I tend to dwell on that a lot. Other people do it, but I also do it to myself. With blogging, that can be worked on with a certain amount of safety and focus.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree it can limit you, and vigilance is required to ensure your playing a full role in life now, the ideas that people have against the reality is vast, but can be bridged, and blogging and the online community assist in that.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Cat says:

    I value my online friendships and feel safe to share whatever I like. I get just as much from visiting other blogs as I do on my own… it was there I found my courage 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Courage is the right word, to write as we do and share takes courage, an element we can miss out on in our offline lives.

      Also I love the honesty when we write, we don’t have gild our words, to make our issues less problematic to others, as sometimes the realness of what you live with, otherwise it becomes something else to deal with later on down the road.

      I’m glad you found your courage:)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. sandiyee160 says:

    I too, found that I have received more positive support from my online relationships than I have with people in my real-time life. I suppose that is because those who visit me are familiar with my mental illness because they have the same, or knows someone who does. I am grateful to have this forum to write as we do, and connect with others to support and encourage, or to just nod in solidarity as we read another’s blog. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there longtime no see:) hope you are well.
      My online suppory has been more positive too in that, there is the commanlity there,and I’m more free to discuss more in depth about the issues I’ve face/facing.

      Your right the solidarity is amazing and I for one wouldn’t be without it.

      Liked by 1 person

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