- Gender and Relationships
Online relationships - online relationship advice
Online relationships - a genuine need of people who work online
Relationships are a very interesting and complex subject in human life. Online relationships seem to be even more interesting and complex because of the rather interesting and adventurous nature of the environment it takes place in. The mystery of the internet and the anonymity it lends to those who use it, make it rather alluring and mystifying.The need to find a person to relate to is a basic human need. When an individual works online for many hours a day s/he does have the luxury of going out for lunch with friends, or some fun office party, or maybe just entertaining small talk to brighten up their day. It is natural to look out for a person who fulfills certain emotional needs. Maybe just a buddy to share ideas with or spend time with, or share frustrations with, or maybe share fun times with. Though what starts off as just camaraderie it can develop into other forms of relationships, like a strong bond of friendship or a romantic involvement or perhaps a business relationship
Are online relationships safe or are they riskier?
A chat with a friend along these lines brought up the question: ‘are online relationships safe or are they riskier?’
I suppose the risk involved in an online relationship would be similar to that in the real world. You could make mistakes in the real world…where you can see, check out and have close proximity with the person concerned. Making mistakes with online relationships may be a notch higher as you do not have the opportunity to assess or validate what the other person is saying with the same degree of certainty..as you would through eye contact, or body language. This relationship depends totally on the honesty and trust of the two people involved.
Online friendships or relationships can, because of the very nature that allows such anonymity, cause concern regarding the honesty, personality, psychological makeup and social standing of the individual. Very often we find people faking their identity, sex, or disability in order to be perceived as attractive or for some other dishonest reason.
Yet I would think it shouldn’t be difficult for any intelligent person, to analyze and evaluate every word the person says…to figure out if there is an element of deceit involved. Vigilance would be the key to avoid any pitfalls.
Are online relationships fulfilling?
I believe so..why would one want to continue a relationship that is not fulfilling? The common understanding is that relationships are fulfilling only when people touch, feel, spend time in each others company..in close proximity. I am of the opinion that it could be fulfilling if expectations are realistic and motives are clear. This may not be quite as true of romantic involvement, but could well be a satisfying friendship. Having said that, I could say from a personal experience point of view, we could be best buddies who help, support, cheer for each other , share knowledge and ideas and goad each other to achieve the best in each other.
It is also satisfying for those who are too shy or have social phobias, and find it difficult to be in the open and relating to people in the real world. The anonymity that the net offers helps such individuals bloom and come out of their shells to make social contact virtually.
As long as it remains at the level of friendship there should not be any problems. It is when people get involved romantically, that troubles begin. There also may be problems of logistics, when you develop relationships halfway across the globe, when you have great time differences and it gets in the way at times.
Are online relationships healthy?
All interactions can be only as healthy as the motive and the balance that it strikes. You could have unhealthy relationships in the real world you live in too. One needs to realize that they cannot go overboard to the extent of neglecting the real world around them, while living only in the virtual world. The virtual world allows for a certain level of obscurity, where fantasy and imagination can come into play, but that happens in the real world too. It is up to each individual to keep a clear head and view matters in a more mature way. Having your feet planted on terra firma and a good head on your shoulders could help in keeping any relationship healthy online or offline. I would like to add that, using your common sense and discretion goes a long way in avoiding trouble.
Should we scoff at online relationships because of some bad experiences?
Not necessarily, those happen in the real world too. I believe mature adults have ways and means of appraising and assessing an individual to a great extent. It is teenagers and the very young..alone out there in the virtual world making friends that I worry about. They are at a higher risk and a certain amount of guidance and control is essential, taking into account the kind of dangers that lurk around the internet, where the innocent and gullible are easy targets. The risks are somewhat higher than in the real world, and it is better to be safe than sorry.
I have noticed in the six or so months that I have been part of various internet communities, there are people who unknowingly invite trouble for themselves by announcing certain personal information to the world, or even through bizarre behaviour that makes them susceptible targets for trouble. I have also found that mentally ill women whose activity is unmonitored, also fall in this high risk group.
The romantically involved ought to be cautious and make sure that they are not easily carried away by their passions and give out critical information that makes them possible targets of stalking and other dangers.
Maturity, caution, commonsense, discretion and the ability to strike a balance are the keywords in online relationships, but aren’t they the keywords in real time relationships too?
Online relationship Advice
How to handle online relationships and make it work?
As in all relationships:
- Evaluation of the person on an ongoing basis helps develop trust.
- Be open minded…though one needs to be honest, using discretion in sharing personal information initially until you feel safe, is advisable.
- Trust..based on your evaluation and assessment of the person and as the comfort level grows.
- Take it slowly and cautiously to start with..giving the relationship enough time to develop naturally.
- Treat the person with the same consideration as you would in the real world. Though it is virtual, the person on the other end is real.
- Fairness is a must in all relationships and online is no exception. Avoid playing games or taking the other for granted.
- Clarity of motives and expectations would help the relationship move on the right track and smoothly.
- Support and help is what the person is expecting from you, so go ahead and do the best you can for each other.
- Communicate – that is all you can do, so be explicit and clear in your expectations and your communication, and be sure to keep in touch on a regular basis..make time for it.
- Clear up any misunderstandings and work through them quickly, don’t wait for the other person to do it. Asking questions and clarifying issues as they arise would take you a long way.
- Mature handling of the relationship and ensuring that expectations are realistic would also take you a long way in making for a smooth and easy-going, and hopefully long-lasting relationship.
Wishing you a happy and satisfied relationship!