Encouraging Realism

Do you ever think of something, write it down, then look at it later and wonder what the hell were you thinking? Okay, maybe it's just me. We've talked about the way I think. Just go with it, 'kay?

I was having a conversation with Hubs the other day. He's a bit of a cynic when it comes to the internet. I was explaining this whole Google Talk thing and how, if I remember to boot it up, I have it on at work. It just sits down in the corner and, basically, tells me when I have new mail. That's my primary use for it anyway. However, one of its uses is supposed to be for people to IM each other. Although I don't really use it much for that purpose, there is one guy who pops in pretty much daily just to say 'hi' and to see how my day is going.

The other day I got home from work and went in my home office to see the Google Talk window open on my desktop. I was surprised to see "I" had been talking to him. Thinking back, I had not logged into Talk at work that day, so what the heck was this? It appeared my daughter must have been out to the house and said something to him on Talk, then left… leaving him wondering what was going on. There were several inquiries on his end and, of course, no responses.

Later I got online and explained to him what happened and he said he figured it must be her, as he reads her blog too and knows she can be onry.

I was telling all this to my Hubs and laughing at it all when he asked, as he does when I talk about people online, "who is this?"… and I cut to the shorthand "he's the young journalist from Kentucky". Hubs says, "Suuuurrrreee he is", in that skeptical tone. Well, how do you respond to that? I defend. "He is!"  Of course Hubs replies, "He could be anybody. He could be a Mexican posting in Afghanistan".

Now, I don't like to think of myself as gullible. I like to think I'm smart, especially when it comes to the internet. Of course, Hubs does have a point and yes, I realize I'm living on a farm in Iowa… I may not be the most savvy person on the planet. Perhaps a bit too trusting? I like to think I've got some idea what you people are really like and that you are being good, honest people. I like to think that the emotional bonds I'm forming with you are real and not just a figment of my imagination and that some day I may actually meet some of you and find you to be just as you are in this virtual world.

Which brings me to the real thought behind this post. I was thinking about how many of you are going through troubled times right now. How many are suffering because of loss, or medical issues, or strained relationships, or financial difficulties, or problems related to other things completely out of your control like weather or wildfires. I appreciate your sharing. I do. It sounds strange, but I am glad you choose to share… I feel it makes you more human, more real. Having said that, I get emotionally invested in some of you. Although I have never met you, I sincerely wish you well. I want to go beyond the pathetic electronic {{hug}} . Yet, the words aren't there. How do you make someone you've never met understand that you really do care? Hand in hand with that, how do you protect yourself from the people who are making you feel this way and it isn't even real –  just a scam devised to wring that emotional investment out of you? I think it is a fine line between trust and caring and that need to be cautious.

What do you think? How do you get that feeling across to someone that your really care? How many times has it backfired on you and you've found out you've been duped?