Virtual Relationships
By Yumna Abbas

May 12, 2010

1ce upno a tyme – i MSNed

If a stranger was to read my MSN conversations from a couple years back, they would probably assume that I was illiterate; nonetheless I have spent a pathetic amount of hours on MSN, “talking” about things that now seem so irrelevant.

Had I only picked up the phone when in need of a chat, I could have saved days of my life.

If I could model my own experiment, it would be to measure the differences in the relationships people have where they interact face to face compared to their virtual relationships. Due to the fact that I do not have superpowers that would allow me to accurately measure relationships at such a level, I can only share what I know based on my experiences.

Virtual relationships can go mighty deep. One can open up about their life, their fears, and their insecurities. You don’t have to worry about your face going red with shame or the rate at which your left eye twitches with each white lie. It is just so much easier to be you on MSN, or at the very least it’s easier to create a ‘you’ that is super cool and super suave. There is time to think up witty and funny and charming responses. Is the MSN version of us different than who we are in front of our family and friends?

The answer should be no. I don’t think I personally differ in my opinions, thoughts, or conversational abilities. Albeit, my opinion is biased.

Do we handle differently on MSN than we do in real life?

Most people I know would answer yes to the question posed. Well they probably would answer no but if I could answer for them then their answer would definitely be yes.

Over my high school years, I have often found myself getting to know people and befriending them through MSN conversations. Now nobody told me the rules and regulations of talking on MSN versus talking in the real world. So being the “newb” that I was, I would make the horrible mistake of talking to my MSN buddies in the real world as I normally would do so online. The following is my testimony based exclusively on my observations:

For some reason, people do not converse the same in real life like they do in MSN world. People are quieter and more conservative in nature. Sometimes they seem least interested in what you could say. You go crazy thinking you did something wrong. Only to have them message you that very evening on MSN like nothing ever happened. (Abbas, 2010)

That’s when I realized it. (It took me a few years but I got it now)
MSN relationships = nonexistent

It doesn’t matter if you discuss your fears, your dreams, and your internal conflicts. There is no guarantee that the virtual relationship you have has solid grounds with roots planted millions of feet deep.

Some of you are thinking I’m nuts or that I’m probably just a loser whose had bad luck. And maybe that’s true.

So here’s a simple way to test how grounded your relationship really is:

Take out from your life MSN, Facebook, Twitter and whatever other technological means one uses to connect with friends and then answer the following questions:

How often do you talk to those you are so strongly bonded to?
How often do they call you to update you on their day?
Does the relationship still exist?

I can safely say that since I deleted MSN, I have lost many “friends.” In a way, disconnecting from MSN, and not being a Facebook-ette or Twitter-er, resulted in an effective friend filter. Those who truly care for you are in your life no matter what.

And the rest of your “friends” can go LOL themselves.

Works Cited:

Abbas, Yumna. MSN Conversations and Real Life Experiences. May 12, 2010.

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