Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Friends With Faces

I wrote this post on Friday June 3.  I was writing on my phone and on a plane.  I intended to post it here, bust somehow managed to post it to Facebook only.  The Blogger phone apps are not the greatest.  So, many of you may have already read this.

Since I first heard about online dating, I was a skeptic.  How could you possibly get to know, really know, someone online?  How do you know they are who and what they say they are?  I've always relied heavily on vocal inflection and body language to help me really understand what a person says and what they mean when we are speaking.  Somehow emoticons and LMAOs are just not the same thing.  I admit that I had a less than favorable opinion of those who "gave in" to online dating rather than engaging in real interactions with real people.

We all know that there are those who will say ANYTHING online because, in their heads, they have diminished, or even totally ignored, the fact that their is another human being on the other end of their Internet fiction and/or garbage.  The fact that someone may be seriously hurt by words posted online does not cross the minds of some.  And then there is the opposite game those who seem to be sweet as sugar, easily winning over the trust of the person on the receiving end of their words, making that person vulnerable.  In either case someone often gets hurt.

Yet dating sites abound.  I know many who have disappointed and taken advantage of;however, I also know of a significant number of people who have indeed met their one true love online.  I am trying to be open minded, knowing that this manner of "dating" may not be my cup of tea, but that for others it has been the path that has led them to s cup that runneth over.

Why bring this up now?

I find myself feeling a bit like a hypocrite.  No!  I have not signed up for match.com.  But I realized that a person that I consider to be a very close friend, perhaps my closest female friend, I met online.  And despite the fact that we have never met face to face, or even talked on the phone, yet we have trusted one another with our fears, failures, hopes, and dreams as well as the simple triumphs and irritations of everyday life.  Is this not kind of how things work on those dating sites?  The thing is, I have never questioned whether our friendship is anything different than what I perceive it to be.  I fully believe that when Tracey and I do meet one another "for real," that she will be exactly the same person that I have communicated with via email and text messages for over a year.

And as I write this, I am 32,000 feet up in the air flying from Dallas to Virginia to spend tomorrow  with four women and their families.  Again, we met online.  Our communication has been through Facebook messages and, as is the case with Tracey, through sharing photographs, specifically a photo a day for a couple of years.  I do feel like I know all of these women...and their spouses, children, dogs and cats.  Again, when we actually gather tomorrow to share a day of talking and taking photos, I don't expect that it will feel the anxiety of being in a group of people that I don't know.  Again, how much different is this scenario than that couple who meets on match.com?

I am grateful for these object lessons that knock my judgmental self on my rear and show me the beauty and joy of friendship.

And should I ever need match.com..,,